What Did YOU Do In The CYBER War, Daddy?

Anyone who thinks it takes bombs and bullets to win a war is an idiot doomed to lose every war he ever fights going forward.

Please — let’s not that idiot.

Call it asymetrical war, call it cyber war. Call it anything you like. Russia is waging it against us regardless of what we call it or even whether we acknowledge that we’re under attack.

For reference — the people living at Pearl Harbor had no idea the Japanese fleet was on its way — having declared war on America in general and on them specifically that day. You don’t have to know you’re under attack to “be” under attack.

The first thing we have to do — individually — is acknowledge what’s happening to us. Being a victim of childhood sexual assault, I know how easy it can be to go all “out of body” in the face of emotional trauma. Hell, I denied what happened to me for 45 years. Not for a second did it mean it didn’t happen to me.

It only meant that I was in denial about it.

We’re under attack. This is war — World War Three, in fact (we’re not the only country Russia is assaulting after all). We know that Putin created actual plans to attack us covertly. That he’s done it (and is still doing it) isn’t the shocker; it’s all the complicity on our side of the ledger that’s shocking. Trump is a given. He’s been involved with Russian mobsters and their money for decades.

How quickly so many Republicans succumbed to Trump — that’s the shocker. Between kompromat & campaign money (illegal cos it’s Russian), the Republicans must be guilty out the wazoo to judge by their loyalty to a man so obviously guilty of the highest crimes and misdemeanors.

It’s on us to fight back every day in evey way we can. Voting will be vital of course. But so is engaging with these pirates. Silence in the face of their crimes normalizes their crimes. Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass — and exhausting — having to keep up the righteous indignation. But every time we stop being righteously indignant, that’s another high crime we’re normalizing.

It’s the fact that we’re at war that turns Trump’s desperate need for cash into treason.

Make no mistake: this will get uglier than we can imagine. The republicans will refuse to own their betrayal to the bitter end.

They won’t like how that part of the Cyber War ends for them — in irons in a federal penitentiary for the rest of their lives. That’s if they’re lucky.

Advertisements

There’s An 800 Pound Gorilla In The Room — A Crazy Form Of Christianity Is Now Running The Country

Would you trust your soul to this money changer?

Want to know what’s scarier than a zombie coming to eat your brain? An evangelical opening his mouth to speak.

Let’s get this straight: what happened to us in 2016 was nothing less than a coup d’etat — a messy love triangle of first rate Russian spy craft with American Right Wing Money and America’s fatal flaw, the fact that we made slavery legal. There’s one theme that touches every part of that triangle — Christianity.

What motivates Vladimir Putin? A deep, deep Russian nationalism. And deep faith in the Russian Orthodox church. That “faith” is colored by realpolitik of course. Religion and politics always are. Putin wanted sanction relief because he wasn’t rich enough for his liking. They were willing to back Trump all the way — to accomplish their ends.

Right Wing Christian Money — the Kochs, the Mercers, Sheldon Adlestein too (greed is Sheldon’s religion) — may have hated Trump but when you’re that cynical, you can tolerate an awful lot of rot to get what you want. The Right Wing money recognized that Reagan was their last hurrah. The demographics going forward were completely against them. The only saving grace — the perverse way the senate overweighs open real estate vs actual humans. The RW money knew that, except for stealing the executive branch via phony legal logic (Bush v Gore), there’d never be another Republican POTUS. The House of Representatives is beyond anyone’s control. It’s the Peoples’ house. Our most direct connection to actual Democracy. Expecting to hold the senate — and therefore its overweight toward conservative states — the RW money set its sites on the judiciary. They tasked Mitch McConnell with denying Barack Obama any and every judge they could — including Merrick Garland.

What motivates RW money? Keeping that money of course. To do that, you have to have the reins of power in your hands. Otherwise, those in power might try to take your money — never mind the fact that you built your pile of money on the back of the Commonweal. The rich getting richer does not make Democracy better, it undermines Democracy because some votes become more powerful than other votes.

RW money is also motivated — here in America — by Christian faith. That’s perverse right from the get-go considering how Jesus felt about money changers and greed. But, then, the bulk of American Christianity — to judge purely by the way it talks about itself — couldn’t care less about Jesus. The bulk of American Christianity sees Jesus as a pretty mascot — Santa, but “holy”. “Do unto others” is great stuff for sermons — platitudes always are. But the real purpose of any church is to keep being a church.

Jesus spoke pretty clearly — you don’t need a church or a high priest to talk to god. Anyone can do it directly.

Again — you don’t need a church. But, once you start building a church — literally or metaphorically — it takes work to keep it from falling down. Gravity, the elements and time destroy a building’s integrity. Logic, knowledge and learning destroy metaphorical churches.

Even Christianity’s own history tells a story of what happens when make-believe rules. How many people have died because they stood on one side vs the other in one of Christianity’s great schisms? How many Catholics have killed Protestants because they were Protestants and vice versa? I can’t say I see where Jesus fits into it.

I can see clearly how churches do though. Churches sell religion. They don’t sell spirituality. They’re not qualified.

Churches sell exclusivity, too. That’s why groups like Opus Dei and the Dominionists exist. They’re exclusive clubs within the exclusive that is their denomination. They’re the “extra-religious” ones who see themselves doing Paul’s work — spreading the “good news” that if you say you accept the ooga-booga, you, too, can beat death.

Religious people also confuse success and failure in life with religion. They believe their success is the result of a sky deity smiling on them because they’re special. Literally – that is what they believe.

Poor people, conversely, are poor (to this way of thinking) because they deserve to be poor. It goes no deeper that.

But then, how deep do you really have to do when you’re making it all up?

American RW money and its twisted version of Christianity have always seen the bible as their justification for slavery. If slavery was in the bible, it must be because it’s good. As five minutes spent with any televangelist will tell you, the bible is the most dangerous piece of literature (that’s all it is) ever compiled — if only because it makes stupid people stupider.

You have to be stupid to think slavery is acceptable. Greed made slavery acceptable. Greed makes everyone stupid.

America’s Christian-iest Christians insist that “God” chose Donald Trump to be POTUS.

Somewhere — if he ever existed — Jesus is weeping.

“Better The Shit Than This!” What Lina Wertmuller’s “Seven Beauties” Teaches Us About Integrity

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced yesterday that they were awarding Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmuller an honorary Oscar. She deserves an Oscar for sure — but honorary? She deserves one for a body of great work.

Wertmuller’s best known features (here in America) include “The Seduction of Mimi”, “Swept Away”, “Love & Anarchy” and “Seven Beauties”. Sex and politics figure into every Wertmuller movie. So does the male notion of “honor”. And absurdity — because male honor is frequently absurd.

In “The Seduction of Mimi”, a factory worker played by Giancarlo Giannini (Wertmuller’s go-to male lead for her best work) learns his beautiful wife’s been knocked up by another man. To defend his honor, the factory worker decides to seduce the other man’s wife. Problem is, she’s incredibly unhappy with her life and incredibly obese — not exactly an object of seduction. But, hey — honor’s honor. He does it and gains nothing but more heartache.

Giannini’s Pasqualino — his character in Seven Beauties — is even more compelled by honor. It’s WWII and Italy’s in chaos, stuck between Germany to the north and the Allies to the south, slowly battling their way up the boot. Pasqualino has seven sisters — the “Seven Beauties”. Being the sole male in the family, it’s his responsibility to guard their honor.

That’s a problem because one of the beauties is a prostitute. Pasqualino kills her pimp. The scene where Pasqualino — needing the cut the body into pieces so he can put the pieces in suitcases and dispose of them — is a comedic gem. The pimp is not a small man and even moving the body around to facilitate cutting it up is challenging — made worse by the fact that the pimp’s dead body keeps farting.

Pasquelino gets caught and sentenced to prison; he gets out of that by volunteering for the army (which is pretty much in a state of constant retreat from the Allies). When Pasquelino tries to run, he gets captured by the Germans and sent to a brutal concentration camp run by a brutal female Commandant played by Shirley Stoler.

Among the other prisoners at the camp is an Anarchist played by Fernando Rey. The Anarchist is the movie’s moral center.

Pasquelino decides that the only way he’ll survive the camp is by ingratiating himself with the Commandant — via seduction.

THAT scene also is a comedic gem. The Commandant knows exactly what “the macaroni” as she calls him is doing. She lets him.

For his efforts, he will get “rank” and “privilege” among the prisoners. But there will be requirements, too. Terrible ones.

The first? Pasquelino must personally execute his best friend there at the camp. Survival is everything to Pasquelino — and he does it. He executes his friend.

That’s enough for the Anarchist. He kills himself by deliberately drowning in the camp’s sewer trench. “Better the shit than this!”

Yeah — there’s a line in the sand. Cross it and you’ve lost your “soul” (whatever you perceive it to be). Whatever integrity you had is gone. Gone, gone, GONE.

If ever a movie spoke to our times, it’s “Seven Beauties”. The Republican Party pissed away every last drop of honor it ever had. It seduced Evil even as Evil was seducing IT.

Think about the country Republicans are hell bent on turning America into. It’s America circa 1850. With Russian overtones.

Lina Wertmuller’s Anarchist got it exactly right — “Better the shit than that!”

This Should Be Simple — If You Took Any Russian Money In Order To GET Elected? You Did Not Legally Get Elected

The law is pretty simple: Political campaigns are PROHIBITED from receiving ANY kind of contribution from a foreign national.

That means any political campaign that takes ANYTHING from a foreign national is breaking the law. You cannot break the law to win political office. Breaking the law to win disallows your win. In fact, because you broke the law, you DIDN’T win.

We already knew that Russian money flowed into the NRA for distribution to Republican candidates. That means — any Republican candidate who took one penny from the NRA needs to PROVE that that penny didn’t flow from a Russian source. Can’t prove it? We will now assume that that money DID flow from Russia. And you TOOK IT.

We know that Russian retirees, living in America, saw their retirement check’s from Russia suddenly bumped from mere kopeks a month to thousands of dollars a month. That largesse wasn’t intended for the retirees, it was intended for Republican campaign coffers. The retirees were laundering money Russia wanted to donate to Republicans. Voila — “Mission Accomplished”.

We already knew that Russian money flowed into Mitch McConnell’s PAC — same as it did lots of other Republicans’ PACs. The way those dollars flowed was all within the letter of the law. But the spirit of the law will haunt them. Innocent foreign dollars one moment, Treason Cash the next.

Russia, we keep learning, waged a complex, multi-faceted, multi-pronged attack on our election and election systems. They pounded us with propaganda and disinformation. We don’t know yet if or how Russia flipped actual voting machines. It doesn’t matter. If Russian disinformation (gleaned via proprietary polling data, handed from Paul Manafort to Oleg Deripaska to Russian Military Intelligence for weaponizing back into personalized Facebook ads on individual voters Facebook pages) caused ONE African American voter to stay home when they intended to vote, then Russia changed the outcome of an American election on Donald Trump’s behalf.

One vote is all it takes to be election fraud. I don’t see where the Rule Of Law keeps a score sheet with a threshold.

If The Rule Of Law is back as “A Thing” then every Republican who received money from Russia broke the law. They broke it in order to WIN their elections — which means they didn’t win. You can’t break the law in order to become the law’s protector — that’s a contradiction.

If you steal something, it’s not actually yours. Regardless of how much you like driving around in a stolen car, the car STILL belongs to the guy you stole it from. In the case of election 2016, Trump, the Russians & the GOP stole the desired (voted upon) outcome We The People wanted and stole not only the Highest Office In The Land but every other electoral “win” below it.

If the Rule Of Law is really back then every last bit of Election 2016 must be voided. That means Donald Trump was never actually POTUS. He was never legitimately authorized to do the things he did — like pick judges. Every judge Trump picked was picked by someone unauthorized to pick judges. That means they must be voided — since, in point of fact, Hillary Clinton was the legitimate POTUS.

If we end up doing this right? This shit’s gonna get M E S S Y !

Dear MSM – Giving The Benefit Of The Doubt Is Not Journalism

It’s not a stretch to say that at least 90% of our Main Stream News Media has failed miserably in their reporting on Donald Trump.  From not doing their initial homework on Trump (as Fusion GPS did when first hired to do oppo research on Trump by the Washington Free Beacon – research that convinced them Trump laundered Russian mob money through his casinos) to regularly normalizing abhorrent, disqualifying behaviors (from pussy grabbing to calling Mexicans rapists), our MSM has consistently bobbled and dropped the most important ball to ever land in their hands.

It’s a stone, cold fact: If not for Russia’s direct influence on election 2016, Donald Trump would NOT be president today.  Literally everything about is candidacy & presidency is a criminal fraud – and treasonous to boot.  The evidence is massive.  Lots is right there in black and white in the Mueller Report. 

Even words seem too hard for our MSM to take in.  If you READ the Mueller Report – keeping in mind its context (Mueller was tasked with continuing a counter-intelligence investigation whose results we do not know yet and a limited-in-scope investigation into the Trump campaign’s relationship with stolen voter data and its movement to and through Wikileaks), you understand that the first question – was Team Trump complicit – is hampered by Team Trump’s relentless obstruction of justice.

And yet we STILL have “professional journalists” saying out loud that the Mueller Report DOESN’T nail Trump for conspiracy with Russia (on those particular accusations). 

It’s understood – the press wants to be “fair”.  Balanced.  They want to accurately present both sides of an argument.  Problem – that assumes all arguments have two sides.

What, I wonder, is the “other side” to the “Final Solution” argument.  What’s the “other side” to Pol Pot or Bashar al-Assad murdering their people?  What’s the other side to putting children in cages or poisoning Flint’s water?

There isn’t another side to those arguments.  Just like there’s no other side to rape or sexual assault.  There’s no other side to cruelty of any kind.  There’s no other side to deliberately undermining the greatest experiment in human self government ever. 

The core idea of trying to see the other side’s argument is completely valid – of course it is.  But there are limits.  Context dictates what those limits are.  A man who lies repeatedly, for instance, should be seen as a likely liar every time he opens his mouth, NOT as a likely truth-teller.  When the MSM presents everything Trump says without that context, they create the illusion that Trump could be telling the truth (when, in fact, he is deliberately flat-out LYING). 

“Yeah, but what if Trump believes he can make a deal with any world leader?”

Who gives a shit? And why are you framing the question from a traitor’s point of view?

Oh, that’s right.  The MSM is only just arriving at the word “treason” – and only because every Republican running against Trump in the “Republican Primary” such as it is, just accused Trump of TREASON on “Morning Joe”.

Think about that – it’s really remarkable: Three Republicans (Joe Walsh, Mark Sanford and Bill Weld) just got on a popular national news show (one they know Trump watches) and accused him of TREASON for trying to squeeze the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter (for being a board member of a Ukrainian energy company).

It’s maddening that Trump could be so staggeringly guilty of so many crimes so staggeringly out in the open that our news media refuses to call out.  The instant they stopped asking about “Mexicans are rapists”, they normalized it.  Trump went from being disqualified to being “a different kind of candidate” who said disqualifying things yet endured.

It wasn’t We The People doing that.  It was Russia – and it’s most useful idiot, the American News Media.

Our MSM continues to carry Putin’s water to this day.  Every time they “Yeah, but what if…?” a Russia question or give the benefit of the doubt to a man who’s called THEM “the enemy of the people”, they are doing exactly what Putin wants them to do.  They’re giving credence to bullshit, lies and treason.

On the bright side though, when they get to the gulag reserved for the press, they can ask “Yeah, but what if I don’t mind sleeping on the top bunk here in the barracks?  What if I don’t mind being tortured or worked to death because America’s no longer a Democracy?”

Yeah, but what if…?

Republicans & The Culture Of Ignorance

Republicans didn’t always used to be champions of ignorance. Funny irony? When the Republican Party was founded back in 1854 (Abraham Lincoln was among its founders), their anti-slavery mission statement spoke of their dedication to classical liberalism and real economic opportunity for all Americans not just the moneyed class.

As Heather Cox Richardson points out in her excellent To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party, after 1912, the GOP shifted away from those ideals — and started to metastasize into the hard core racist party driven by white Southern rage that it is today.

These “new-fangled” Republicans pointed squarely at their religious faith as the justification for both their racism and their backwardness — a backwardness they felt compelled to shove down everyone else’s throat. It’s not surprising. Ignorance detests knowledge because knowledge is ignorance’s kryptonite.

By the same token, ignorant people detest information because information destroys their ignorance — and they need their ignorance to justify their politics and their whole belief system. Republicans are all about Magical Thinking. That’s great when you’re a kid and regardless of whether or not Santa Claus is real, the gifts show up under the tree on Christmas morning.

Republicans like Jesse Helms happily took up the name “Know-Nothings”. Originally, the “Know-Nothings” were a group of bigoted anti-Catholic politicians whose strategy — when questioned on the subject — was to insist they “knew nothing”. That’s willful ignorance with a racist, bigoted purpose.

It’s not a coincidence that Republicans describe themselves by and large as more religious than the majority of Americans. That’s “religious” as opposed to “spiritual”. Most Republicans don’t seem to have “spiritual” in their psychological makeup. They like religion for its rules and regulations. And its exclusivity. If you don’t believe what I believe…

And, of course, what they believe is based on Magical Thinking and storytelling. Funny thing? One can be a fan of Jesus — and do unto others every day — without being a member of any church. Why, even a humble atheist can do unto others without contradicting themselves. Doing Unto Others in fact demands that you put DOWN your ignorance.

It’s simple. Republicans are conservative. Conservatives — as their name implies — want to CONSERVE. But conserve what? It ain’t the future — there’s nothing to conserve since it doesn’t exist.

The present? Sure — but only the parts of the present that still hold firmly to the past. That’s what conservatives want to conserve and what Republicans want America to be — what we WERE. For some, it’s a white man’s vision of the 1950’s that only existed in their minds. For the rest, it’s a vision of the 1850’s that’s quite real. That’s what they want to conserve.

To get there, you have to stop taking in any new information. You have to assume that whatever we knew then is still good enough for now. It’s not a coincidence that Republicans by-and-large poo-poo the need for higher education. Hell, a lot of Republicans would be down with letting kids quit school and go to work. They might as well accept their servitude early.

If not for gerrymandering, voter suppression and direct Russian interference, Donald Trump would not be POTUS. The Republicans would not have won all three branches of our govt. Russia had a lot to do with that, too.

The current Republican obstructive tactics are just more of them trying to make ignorance the norm. As the desperation in their arguments makes clear — they know that the more WE know about what they’ve been doing — the worse it will be for them.

Our ignorance is a matter of their survival.

Dear American Main Stream News Media: There’s A Difference Between “COMPLEX” & “COMPLICATED” — Trump-Russia Is Complex; It Is NOT Complicated…

Let’s try and make this simple. Love is complex but it should never be complicated because the act of loving, itself, is simple (regardless of how complicated some people make it). Same token — the Trump-Russia story. It’s staggeringly complex with a million moving parts and (by design) lots of layers to make connecting all the dots challenging if not impossible.

But the motivations underlying the Trump-Russia story are NOT complicated. It all comes down to GREED.

Nothing complicated about greed.

Vladimir Putin might just be the richest man in the world. That, apparently , is not good enough. He also carries grudges. Being a former cold warrior, Vlad’s been licking his wounds since his beloved Soviet Union bit the dust. Putin grew up a Soviet but a Russian Nationalist first. His dream — restore Greater Russia to its glory years.

There’s another facet to Putin (because he’s a complex character though a simple man: religion. Though he grew up, in theory, a godless communist, Putin sees the Russian Orthodox Church as an essential component of All Things Russian. As this piece from the Catholic Herald pointed out in 2015, “In his speeches [Putin] presents himself as defender of Christian values abandoned by the degenerate West… More recently the president has presented himself in a new role – as the potential saviour of Middle Eastern Christians.” The man thinks he’s a bloody crusader taking back the Holy Land from the filthy Moor.

So — WHY Putin would attack us — 1) National Pride, 2) Religion, and 3) Greed. See? Simple. Complex but simple.

Putin’s a spy by nature. He understands how to run intelligence ops. He knows you need to layer relationships and targets so as to create as much deniability as possible. The espionage world is extremely complex. But its goals are always very very simple. Uncomplicated.

Donald Trump was born a greedy pig and a sociopath. He grew up unloved by a racist, criminal father and a cold mother. He has no capacity for empathy — none. That makes Trump another complex character with uncomplicated motivations. Greed, lust, more greed. Donald Trump is that simple.

The Trump-Russia story has layers of complexity to it. But each layer is uncomplicated. Trump wants a Trump Tower Moscow. He’s been laundering money for Russian mobsters forever (the whole point of his casinos) because Trump is a criminal on pretty much every level. Simple.

Putin wants revenge. He wants all the sanctions lifted. He wanted them lifted especially while Rex Tillerson was still Secretary of State (the whole point of moving Tillerson from Exxon-Mobil to State was so that America would help Putin get richer by pumping his gas for him.

Mitch McConnell wants power and money. He, too, is owned by Russia (having taken millions from them into his PAC). Mitch is also owned by he big RW donors — especially the Kochs & Mercers. They wanted Mitch to hijack the judiciary from Obama — and he did.

The RW money wants to create permanent minority rule because they see that white, Christian male hegemony is over. If White, Christian men want to hold onto power in America, they’re going to have to cheat to keep it. Hello, voter suppression and gerrymandering — all meant to circumvent the will of the majority.

Nothing here — motive-wise — is complicated — as complex as it is.

And yet — our Main Stream News Media cannot seem to tell this story… can’t seem to figure it out. They can’t even decide for themselves if he’s a racist — they keep asking whether or not he is. Wait till they really have to wonder aloud if Trump is a traitor.

That sound you hear is their heads exploding — in the future.