There Can Be No “Forgive And Forget” Until The Entire GOP Owns What They’ve Done

Dear American News Media: I sure hope you’ve noticed that BOTH SIDES are not trying to completely destroy our entire democratic system of government for entirely corrupt reasons. That kinda makes a difference when asking the Democrats to “forgive and forget” what the Republican Party has been doing on the downlow and is now doing out in the open. The Republicans don’t think there’s anything to “forgive” (though they sure wish we’d forget about it!). That’s because they’re CRIMINALS doing criminal things. Until they 1) STOP behaving like criminals, 2) ADMIT that they’ve been behaving like criminals, 3) agree they need to be PUNISHED for behaving like criminals and 4) are willing to ACCEPT that punishment for BEING CRIMINALS, then it makes zero sense to “forgive and forget”. It only makes sense to prosecute them. BECAUSE THEY’RE CRIMINALS.

We are not dealing with any sort of “level playing field” here. Donald Trump — and the white men around him — are accorded a completely different set of rules than anyone else. They start by skirting The Law’s letters while rampantly violating its spirit. Then, once they’ve normalized violating The Law’s spirit, they make THAT “the law” itself — their violation of it. Abracadabra! Criminal behavior is now legal behavior. Virtually the entire Republican Party is now openly behaving like a criminal enterprise. They know THAT’S not entirely legal yet — but that’s the endgame they’re now pursuing: fully replacing OUR democracy with THEIR criminal enterprise.

The stone cold truth is, the Republicans can no longer stop behaving like criminals. They’ve crossed some sort of “criminal Rubicon”. The best they can hope for is a better class of prison cell should We The People manage to shut down “this thing of theirs”. And, rest assured, WE ARE GOING TO.

Journalist, attorney and journalism professor Seth Abramson posted a terrific thread on Twitter last night on the subject of “forgiveness” — well, “forgiveness” via pardons which, in the Trumpian universe is simply more, bigger corruption —

America has every right to be worried that Donald Trump — a two bit criminal punching waaaaaaay above his class — will get away with it (along with every one of his criminal co-conspirators). Should that happen — should these traitors “get away” with betraying the country, it would, in effect, be THE END of our country. A country that refuses to defend itself from an attack — we are most assuredly under attack — can’t really claim to be “a country” anymore. It’s already split up into its more localized, tribalized parts. I, for one, refuse to live in that country. Except, I’m not moving out. I expect THE TRAITORS to move out.

I intend to do whatever I can do to make that happen.

The way our news media reports it, you’d think we were stuck here. Doomed to be politically Chernobyl’d to death first because a Department of Justice rule wouldn’t let us indict a criminal because he was POTUS and then because we couldn’t figure out how to outmaneuver a criminal pardoning himself.

As usual, very few in America’s news media ever bring perspective with them to work — and, considering as they’re reporting FROM HOME, it must mean they have no perspective there either. They’re always Chicken Little, running around headless.

The answer to our problem lies right there in Mr. Abrahamson’s first sentence: “The Pardon Clause prohibits using the pardon power to obstruct impeachments“. Hey, isn’t that EXACTLY what Donald Trump is doing — HAS BEEN DOING all along? Obstructing justice? Obstructing his own impeachment? Since literally everything Trump’s doing flows from that criminal wellspring, why are we even having a conversation about whether or not what Trump is doing has “legitimacy”?

We’re having the wrong conversation again!

“Forgiveness” is a grace. It is not for criminals to take — like they take everything else — it is ours to grant SHOULD WE CHOOSE TO GRANT IT.

But, we owe it to ourselves (we owe those traitors nada) to allow for the possibility of forgiveness so as to fast track the forgiveness process. As I said above, we lay out a simple, step-by-step for each Republican to follow. But, to get to the forgiveness they need (so as to NOT destroy their families for generations to come), first they’re all going to have to accomplish step one: CONTRITION.

Mea culpa.

In their cases, they all need to plead “mea MAXIMUM culpa”. If they can’t muster that, we can’t even think of mustering a scintilla of mercy.

Let the chips — and the punishment — fall where they will. Or, as my college kid puts it: “caveat emptor, bitches!”

There’s A Reason We All Feel “Under Assault” In Trump World — It’s Cos We Are

I was in therapy a bit before Donald Trump stole the presidency. I was deep in my own depression then — headed toward self-destruction. My emotional radar was tweaked especially high. So many things triggered me.

Election Night 2016 is its own “Day that will live in infamy”. I suspect I’m not alone in feeling that way — that this wasn’t just an electoral loss, it was an invasion. It was an unwelcome imposition of something We The People did not, in fact want — or vote for. We didn’t vote for this. Not the majority of us.

We’ve got some big reveals coming. The biggest (Don Trump Jr was subpoena’d by the SENATE Intel Committee — run by REPUBLICAN Richard Burr — which smart, always-spot-on reporters like Seth Abramson point to as key) will probably take us right back around to the counter-intelligence part of the program — the part where hard proof exists that 1) Donald Trump conspired with Russia to win the presidency, 2) the entire Republican Party hierarchy knew it — in one way or another (including merely suspecting it was true), and 3) that includes the part where even Trump’s Electoral College win is as much a fraud as his finances are.

This morning, Mitch McConnell shoved another extreme RW judge down the throat of a state that did not want that judge. The normal protocol says those states are entitled to “blue slip” — refuse — those judges. But the point of the exercise IS judges and has always BEEN judges.

The GOP realized at the end of the Reagan years that the demographics were going against them forever more. Republicans historically do worse when more people vote — which strongly suggests that if the entire American electorate voted, the country would lean far more to the left than we think it does.

The reason we feel like America is more progressive than we act is because the PEOPLE are, by and large, more progressive. But, because so many progressive-leaning people don’t vote regularly, the image we have reflects a less progressive population — a false image. The 2018 mid-term was a strong repudiation of Trump and republicanism. It wasn’t the same-old, same-old voter blocs doing the repudiating. It was the youth vote. And Latinos. And, especially, a strong, dedicated African-American vote — especially, especially African American woman.

If not for African American women, this republic would be toast already. We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

If there’s a group of people who know what it’s like to be under assault — almost constantly — it’s African American women. Their demand for Justice in the face of relentless injustice is the pilot light inside our collective rage.

I am a sexual assault survivor. I denied that fact — that I had been sexually assaulted — for 45 years. To myself. But I always knew it was a fact. I’m hypomanic. The inside of my head (controlled by a mood stabilizer and lots of THC) is like a black box theater (think a shoebox — black inside — turned upside down). At all times a dozen or so things are being projected on the walls, the ceiling the floor… black & white, saturated color, sepia — old movies — ideas for stories — thoughts and notions. There are laser lights to and audio and holographic pop-ups. The THC acts like a scrim — dropping down over most of it, allowing me to focus on a few of the entertainments.

This secret I was keeping was like a light shining inside a file inside a drawer inside a closet at the back of an office situated up a long, high set of stairs at the far, far back corner of the black box theater. It was always there. Always on. Always a fact of my life.

I know what it feels like to be assaulted. I know what the aftermath is like. I know what assault can do to you over time — even if you deny it ever happened. I know what calling out that assault can do for you — it can save you. I know what recovering feels like too — and it’s wonderful.

And it’s do-able.

WE can do this. We The People. WE’VE been assaulted. That’s what we felt election night. It’s what we’ve felt every single day as Donald Trump & the republican party — unelected as they were (you cannot cheat your way to a free & fair election; you may hold office that way but it ain’t winning) — continue to shove their RW Christo-Fascist ideology down the country’s unwilling throat.

It’s rape. It’s assault. It’s brutality.

It’s happening now. It’s why we feel the way we do. For a lot of us, it’s terribly familiar. We need the assault to stop right this second.

Dear American News Media: It’s Gut Check Time… Are You Up To It?

I’ll admit it straight up.  I’m a “news addict”.  I keep my office TV tuned to the news (mainly MSNBC) most of my waking hours.  In between I’m tuned in to the same place via satellite radio and my phone.  I dare not look away.

I don’t watch for the news — except for the “breaking news” when it first breaks (and not for the subsequent five hours of its “breaking”).  I watch because I’m a concerned citizen deeply concerned that the Fourth Estate is not living up to its Constitutionally mandated responsibility.  I watch like a canary in a coal mine — squawking its head off because the environment is deeply, deeply toxic and will kill us for sure if we don’t stop.

Yesterday — with the drop of the redacted Mueller Report — the American News Media were handed a kind of Magna Carta.  It’s an imperfect foundational document that must be the basis for how America begins to handle the cancer gnawing at our vital systemic organs.  Our News Media will not see it that way.  They’re not deep enough.  They’re not insightful enough.  Their idea of analysis can’t possibly plumb those depths because it can’t take in the required perspective.

If not for  journalists and citizen journalists (Seth Abramson should be nominated for sainthood; so should Sarah Kendzior & Jennifer Cohn and a host of other relentless pursuers of the truth), the US might have already slid past our Democratic Event Horizon — the point beyond which our Democracy could not be pulled back from the black hole of Republican Corruption.  If not for David Corn’s advocacy of the Steele Dossier, while it might have still made its way through legal channels, it would have done so with a hell of a lot more pressure caused by the very criminals it was identifying.

There ARE journalists & writers & thinkers who’ve understood this story — its nature and its core truths — from the get-go.  They’re a small club.

It’s a core truth: take any profession you like — the overwhelming majority of people working in it will be proficient.  Good but not great.  Let’s call them what they are:  “Mediocre”.  Like any other group, the journalism profession is filled with mediocrity.  Unfortunately, these here times need something better.  Voila la probleme!

I’m a storyteller by profession.  My IMDb profile reflects a fraction of my professional storytelling life.  The point of my mentioning it: I’m not some piker. I’m not just another guy out on the internets shouting ignorant Jeremiads into the wind.  I’ve actually made a buck or two doing this thing.  In a world where anyone with a blog can be an “expert”, I may not be “an expert” (let’s call that subjective), but I can sure point to a few examples to suggest I “might” know what I’m talking about.

When it comes to storytelling, I know my shit. Trust me on this.

With that in mind — I’m offering these suggestions to our chums in the Main Stream News Media.  I’ve worked under journalistic restrictions.  I’ve had to back up my shit.  This is about storytelling — with purpose.

Here are your problems in a nutshell:

  1. FAILURE OF IMAGINATION
  2. An addiction to “BOTH SIDES DO IT” thinking
  3. Normalcy Bias

The first is the killer — and FAILURE OF IMAGINATION is the flaw that leads to the other two problems.  I’m not sure it IS solvable.  Maybe it’s just the case that you’re born with imagination or you’re not.  Mediocrity turns most journalists into the proverbial blind person feeling up an elephant for the first time and trying to make sense of it.  It’s outside their range.  Then, in the midst of their confusion, they start to analyze — using not solid data but their own fuzzy perceptions.  Gosh, what could possibly go wrong?

Frequently, watching them, I perceive a veal thrashing against the confines of its box.

An example from the recent past — in order to explain Donald Trump’s “inexplicable” behavior, whole round tables of journalists and journalistic fellow travelers would often “put themselves in his shoes” in order to explain his behavior.  Problem invariably was — each well-meaning but clueless nitwit tried to explain Trump’s narcissistic, sociopathic actions through the lens of their own behaviors. They were explaining Trump as if he was them.

Result — “analysis” that was miles away from the truth — even further away from being of value.  How like bullshit!  It’s all first rate — and so much of it!

To analyze Trump you have to get inside HIS head.  To do that, you have to use your imagination.  BUT — the way journalists are supposed to do it — they use their imaginations based on deep, background knowledge of their subject.  They can point to multiple instances of past behavior to justify projecting similar behaviors forward in a different (more recent) context.  It’s exactly what they’re doing now — projecting future behaviors based on past — except based on the right character (Trump) not the wrong one (them).

I withdraw my “must be born with it”.  I just demonstrated — American News Media CAN use their imagination.  They just have to WANT TO…

I don’t think I’m alone in pointing to “BOTH SIDES DO IT” thinking (“thinking” should be in quotation marks too) as part of American journalism’s core problem.  I would love to know where it came from — where it started.  Was this disease born in some American journalism school and then spread outward like typhus or dysentery?

Guys like Chuck Todd are the deans of “Both Sides Do It” journalism (“journalism” should be in quotation marks too).  “Both Sides Do It” — by its nature — fosters the creation of False Equivalences.  Inequal things get equalized.  Bernie Madoff, we all agree, is a thief.  By the same token — thievery being thievery — so is the character Jean Valjean from Les Miserables (or, for you “kids”, Les Mis).  Madoff stole BILLIONS. Valjean stole bread.

In Chuck Todd’s world, “both sides did it” — both sides STOLE.  Proportion plays no part. All facts have the same feather weight.

It ain’t so.  And every “journalist” who thinks this way is betraying their Constitutionally mandated duty.

NORMALCY BIAS infects us all.  No one is immune.  That’s why you have to be hyper-vigilant about it.  Something in us aches for “normalcy”.  Normalcy equals safety, security.  We hate being on edge 24/7.  It’s wearing us out.  We want normal back.

Wishing won’t make it happen though.  When things aren’t normal, we need to point them out — and if they’re harmful to us (like, say, CORRUPTION is), we need to REFUSE to EVER allow them to be normalized.  Yet here we are.  Normalization is a process.  We didn’t just drop here, magically transported.  We walked here.

If not for normalcy bias, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign would have ended the day it began.  It would have died stepping out of its trench — going down in a hale of “Mexicans are rapists” bullets.  But Trump’s campaign didn’t end that day.  It continued — because the press covering the story let it continue.  Rather than put their collective foot down and DEMAND what the hell he meant — not being satisfied till he admitted the clear, obvious truth: he meant HE’S A RACIST and A BIGOT — the American press accepted Trump’s behavior as “different”.  This was just “how Trump was”.

Just like that, racism and bigotry had been normalized.

Now, granted, “pussy-grabbing” got short-circuited by Wikileaks dumping Hillary Clinton’s emails, but even the emails (in point of fact) were a Republican-backed crime that the American News Media couldn’t wait to normalize and use to their own advantage.  Let’s be quite clear — the principle vector for transmitting stolen Democratic emails & internal data was the American News Media.  They were literally working at Russia’s behest each and every time.  You don’t have to be witting to be a useful idiot.

Russia used our news media’s Normalcy Bias to get them to carry Russia’s message-water.

That has to stop.

What has this done to us?  How has American News Media’s failure hurt us?

Well, for starters — as I just said — it’s undermined our concept of “Truth”.  We’ve put its definition up for grabs like a jump ball.  But the Truth isn’t subjective.

There is Core Truth.  We need our news media to focus its limited skillsets on getting to it. My simple (if not very humble) suggestion is this:  “Keep asking WHY?”  Do not accept any “WHY?” that doesn’t get to the very, VERY bottom.  It means more “WHY’S?” need asking.  No one — NO ONE — ever does things for “no reason”.  A person doing terrible things may not be able to adequately articulate what’s driving them — but “something” is driving them other than “that’s just how they are”.

In the case of Donald Trump, American News Media, it means he doesn’t do what he’s doing because “he’s different”.

You saying “he’s different” means “you suck at your job”.  That’s a problem for us.  For two plus years, you have failed for all the reasons above to TELL the most important story you will ever get to cover and any of us will ever have to live through.  While “crazies” on the left gnashed their teeth about Russia, the American News Media turned up its nose.  Even as they described treasonous-sounding behavior (Trump meeting with Putin sans a single other American), they assumed it must be “normal” somehow because the President of the United States was doing it — and so therefore it must be “normal”.

As recently as last week, actual “journalists” were questioning if the Mueller Report would contain anything of value.  Actual “journalists” were ignoring how AG Bill Barr had used grammar and a damned footnote to bamboozle them into proclaiming right along with Trump that there was “no collusion”.  Apparently the meaning of quotes that start with a [bracketed] first letter didn’t get taught where American journalists went to school…

Barr Summary w highlights

Apparently they never learned how to read footnotes either…

Our News Media were handed a kind of gift yesterday.  They were given insight into massive corruption.  They were given actual perspective.

That is their gut check: Will all those mediocrities gumming up the American News Media be able to use perspective.  Hell, will they even recognize what it is?

I worry for us.