Put Up V Shut Up

Finally – the Department of Justice has INDICTED STEVE BANNON!

Come Monday morning, it would have been two weeks since Steve Bannon thumbed his gin blossomed nose at the January 6 Committee and refused to honor their subpoena. The Committee referred the case to Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice — a luxury the Democrats didn’t have when Bill Barr ran the joint. Our collective expectation was for a kind of “justice on tap” — a thing we have not gotten (and never would have, I fear). Instead we’re having a kind of “deja vu all over again” moment reminiscent of the high hopes many of us felt when Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel. Though we pre-packaged him as a hero (and deservedly so — the man served valiantly in Vietnam, ran the FBI and stood atop a mountain of indestructible integrity. But the Mueller Report wasn’t the “put up or shut up” moment We The People both needed and craved. Bill Barr saw to that. He told us what he needed us to think the Report said — that it more or less exonerated Trump (it absolutely did not!) — and our “news media” happily went along with Barr. Fortunately, Barr no longer runs the DoJ. Fortunately — or unfortunately — Merrick Garland does now.

The Trump administration was a criminal enterprise from start to finish (actually, it hasn’t “finished” yet). The Republican Party knew a month before they nominated Trump to be POTUS that Putin owned him. They even discussed it amongst themselves but decided to keep that terrible secret a secret. That was a “put up or shut up” moment. The GOP leadership could have caught itself behaving treasonously and stopped. Surely, as they sheepishly looked around at each other on June 25, 2016, one of them must have thought “We better call the FBI!” But, no one did. Instead, per then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s admonition, everyone in that room agreed to stay silent. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Ryan.

Shut up, in this case, equaled treason.

It’s now five plus years later. Having not dealt with this overt act of treason, we continue to live in its lengthening shadow. Our news media — though they themselves reported this remarkable story — still fail to see what a staggering revelation it is! How much more smoke can pour from a gun? The one time the news media stuck a mic in Kevin’s treasonous face to ask what he meant, Kevin gave the pat Republican answer: “I was kidding”. Oh, is that the “Get Out Of Treason Jail Free” card now? Ignore my words (and the context in which I said them) because otherwise, I’m screwed? Every time Trump said something even Republicans couldn’t back, he’d haul out “I was joking!” Fun fact? Not everyone has a sense of humor. The first tell that you don’t have one is you can’t laugh at yourself. Bullies laugh plenty — but never, EVER at themselves. When they laugh, it’s always AT others, at their weaknesses and frailties. When someone without a sense of humor claims absolution because “kidding”? They’re not just humorless, they’re damned liars, too.

We sensed on election day that Trump’s victory wasn’t “right”. In his entire life, Trump has never done anything legally when doing it illegally was open to him. Why, ffs, would he start with the presidency? Is anyone truly shocked that, over his presidency, Trump lied north of 30,000 times? If anything, I’m shocked the number of lies isn’t significantly higher but then I have a lower tolerance for bullshit than our news media does.

We are slowly twisting in the purgatory between Justice and injustice. Injustice plays by no rules. It can do what it wants when it wants to whomever it wants. Justice — in the form of the rule of law — has no such luxury. Not if it’s to be “the rule of law”. Playing by the rules takes time. It demands rigor and and faithfulness to a higher principle over personal desires. Bill Barr did pretty much whatever Trump wanted Barr to do with the DoJ. Joe Biden won’t — can’t — do that. “Can’t” is Biden’s nature because he believes so ardently in our democracy and its organizing principles.

That means, regardless of all our public pressure — even if we think we want Biden to put his thumb on Merrick Garland — really, we don’t. Or do we?

Ah, there’ that painful, dynamic tension again.

This will end one way or the other. There isn’t any middle ground. Now that Garland has forced Bannon’s hand and a Grand Jury has indicted him, the floodgates will open. Bannon will probably think he can tough it out behind bars. He should give Paul Manafort a call to see how Paul enjoyed his 23 months of prison dinners. Sure, Paul got out way ahead of time courtesy of a Trump pardon (which needs to be re-examined as pardons may not be given for illegal activity and treason is definitely “illegal”), but Paul really had no choice in the matter. When you climb into bed with Russian mobsters — and Putin, Deripaska, Kilimnik and every other oligarch is a stone cold mobster — you have to live (or died) by their rules. If Paulie Polling Data had flipped and connected the Trump dot to the Russia dot for the FBI and DoJ? Even the best new identity and relocation wouldn’t save Manafort. Eventually, he knew, they’d find him. And when they did? Ouch.

Bannon never owed Deripaska (or any Russian mobster) $17 million. An uber-Christian in love with the exclusivity of its dogma, he’s never been beholden to Russia; he merely shares an orthodox vision of the “Holy Land” with its mob boss. For all the terrible things Bannon is, he’s not stupid. He knows exactly what he’s doing — and he knows it’s treasonous. That’s why he doesn’t want to be placed under oath. That’s why, even if he is eventually placed under oath, he’ll plead the fifth. That will be Bannon’s undoing.

The folks around Bannon (and beneath him), they don’t have Bannon’s certainty, his white guy’s swagger and braggadocio. But they will have a sense of vertigo when it hits them that they’ve set themselves up for the not just failure but prison. Congressional staff, recognizing that if they say nothing, they’ll be implicated in the bigger crime, won’t so much “spill their guts” as spew them.

So far, the insurrection has only sent the low level foot soldiers to jail. The next tier up are only just starting to realize how expensive it is defending yourself against federal charges. Not wanting to bankrupt their families for a generation, some of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are pleading out already. Flipping. And other voices are popping up — pointing out all the “planning” sessions at the Willard “war room” in the days before the insurrection. Some, no doubt, are explaining where the money came from — to pay for the hotel and the food and the travel to get to DC.

When the flipping starts in earnest, all the good “deals” will dry up quickly. Then the perps will start looking for the best deals they can get and those will start to suck almost immediately. This is an organized crime carried out by organized criminals who have a political end in mind: permanent minority rule. The criminals now include pretty much the entire Republican Party (minus Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger). It ain’t rocket science connecting the Steve Bannon dot to the insurrection dot to the criminal conduct dot. The fun part will be when we connect the Russia dot to the Insurrection dot.

Does anyone really believe that, having succeeded in digging its hooks into Trump, would Russia really let a perfectly good insurrection go to waste?

The insurrection will lead us to a lot of things — treason especially. Not just “generic” treason but treason committed alongside a foreign enemy actively engaged in cyber war against us. Steve Bannon now has a much bigger problem than just prison dinner on his hands.

IF The Republicans Cheated — Padding Their Voting Machine Totals — Then The Argument The Democrats Are Having About “Who They Are” Is A False Narrative

Let me repeat: “IF” the Republicans cheated in the election we just held — using their unique, unregulated access to voting machines to inflate their own vote totals — then the argument the Democrats are having amongst themselves (about Progressives costing moderates their seats) is rubbish. It’s a FALSE NARRATIVE. Or, should I say, it’s another false narrative that sits snugly beside “Donald Trump legitimately won election in 2016”. The rule of law says that working in tandem with a hostile foreign government — executing a cyber war plan against us — voids every last bit of your presidential campaign because it wasn’t a presidential campaign, it was an act of outright TREASON.

And that void — it also applies to everything you did as POTUS. The authority to nominate lifetime judges flows from us. From We The People. If you cheat us out of the election result we voted for, you are literally stealing from us. In a democracy, there is no graver crime than denying the People their Will. That is what the Republican Party has done repeatedly starting with “Bush v Gore”.

The Republican mantra is “the majority be damned”. Their refusal — with the exception of four sitting Senators — to acknowledge the fact that Joe Biden is President-Elect and Kamala Harris is Vice-President-Elect isn’t some kerfuffle over an administrative detail. It’s part two of the coup d’etat the Republicans initiated in 2016. If the GOP thought they could have done what they’re doing now WITHOUT an election, they’d have done it. But that was a little too hard to pull off.

So, the Republicans allowed us to hold an election. As I wrote here, it’s bizarre that our news media consistently runs toward a magical explanation for “the polls being wrong”. They’ll accept that ALL THE POLLS ARE WRONG rather than ask, “But, is there, perhaps ANOTHER explanation for this bizarre discrepancy?” That’s what real journalists would do.

Donald Trump IMPLORED all HIS VOTERS to avoid voting by mail. He implored them: VOTE BY MACHINE. Hmmmmmmmmm… why was that, do you suppose? Even Trump knew a Red Mirage would only go so far. That was not the purpose of pushing all his voters to the machines. They’re dirty. All of them. By design. They have backdoors accessible to the companies — with no way to regulate the companies other than putting their owners and directors under oath and grilling them Benghazi style (which I, for one, am all for).

It wouldn’t take a grand conspiracy to cheat massively via machine and get away with it. Three people could do it. The guy who owns the company (who provides the back door but with plenty of plausible deniability), the guy who writes the code and uses the back door to apply the computer code, and the powerful politician who’s running the show. Mitch McConnell, for example.

Mitch is scum as a human but one hell of a politician. He knows how to count. And he knows how to make his numbers “work” — even when he doesn’t have them.

Take 2016 for example. The Comey Letter knocked three to four points off Hillary Clinton’s lead TEN DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION. Meanwhile, Russia (using the proprietary polling data Trump campaign manager PAUL MANAFORT had given them) to bombard Black Democratic voters — in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (Minnesota’s voter data was also part of that package) — with personalized Facebook ads that showed up on THEIR individual Facebook pages — that said Hillary Clinton was a racist. What happened to Black voter turnout in those three states in 2016?

IT WAS SUPPRESSED. Mission accomplished. Oh, by the way? IT’S ALSO A CRIME. You cannot win an American election if you do that. If you “do” win, it’s not a legitimate win. Cheating to win can not be “another way to win”. Otherwise, why not always cheat to win — since it’s easier, cheaper and much more guaranteed to succeed? Cheating to win is a crime and we need to see it as one and TREAT IT as one.

Having pulled HRC’s polling numbers to within the margin of error, voting machine manipulation became viable. A “surprise” outcome was still mathematically possible. Remember — Trump won three blue states by a COMBINED 77,000 votes. No one has EVER forensic-ed those machines (not that it would wield a smoking gun — the machine IS the smoking gun, you see).

The most basic way to win via padding is this: at some point a line or two of new computer code slips in through the back door. It reads something like this: “For every tenth Republican vote, add one.” Ten becomes eleven, twenty becomes twenty-two, thirty becomes thirty-three. Voila — you’ve added ten percent to your vote tally. Unless someone clever compares the total number of Republican voters with the result — and saw an anomaly — they’d never see the crime’s evidence.

Part of the code, mind you, erases itself.

If you’ll grant me that this mechanism isn’t a fantasy — that this tool hung on Moscow Mitch’s treasonous tool belt — then the rest falls neatly into place. It falls into place far better than imagining some “secret Trump voter” who lies to pollsters out of shame but still proudly pulls the lever for the man they’re so ashamed of: Trump. If the news media could only put a microphone in front of one of them, maybe it wouldn’t smell so bullshitty.

The “mysterious Trump voter” is a false narrative. Just like Trump “won” in 2016 is a false narrative.

Mitch and his Republican co-conspirators know they have a problem. Their lie has put forward the fiction that America is a divided nation torn between power-mad Progressive and kindly, common-man-loving conservatives. While America may have been a moderate to conservative country after World War Two, we aren’t that country anymore. America — as six million more voters just made clear — is a moderate to Progressive country. That will not tilt toward conservatism any time soon — or ever for that matter.

There simply aren’t enough conservative voters to make that happen.

Unless conservatives — via their Republican operatives — cheat.

The Democrats need to take a deep breath. They need to wait for a functional Department of Justice before judging anything. There’s so much corruption to be exposed — and once it’s exposed, the narrative will change. We’ll suddenly see that the story of Trump becoming president is far, far more complicated. And dark.

And criminal. A true narrative will take shape — about a corrupt political party fearing extinction and a con man under Russia’s control coming together in an unholy alliance bent on undermining American democracy in order to install a state of permanent minority rule.

The whole point of propaganda is misinformation. False narratives are the end game. Make Americans think they’re at war with each other. Make them think the party that lost won. Make them think a once-respected political party is still respectable.

Bullshit. All of it.

Please, America — please, fellow Democrats — stop listening to false narratives. Start triangulating the news. Start thinking critically about everything. If a Republican has touched it, it must be examined more carefully and not taken for granted. Some day soon, a new moderate conservative party will rise from the ashes of the GOP. Maybe “The Moderation Party” should be their moniker.

America will need them. Progressives like me will need them because that’s how democracy works — via counterweights. But none of those weights can be far, far heavier than all the others. Better if they’re all equal.

The Correct Response To “Trump ‘Won’ Again” Can’t Be “Woe Is Us!”, It Has To Be “NO EFFIN’ WAY!”

Who needs a smoking gun when the entire forest is on fire — and it’s the very gun that started the fire? Not every dot needs literal connecting to be connected. We are surrounded by well-documented evidence that says clear as day that Donald Trump is not now and has never been the legitimate President of the United States because the rule of law says — clear as day — that you can’t become president if a foreign country helps MAKE you president (especially if that foreign country has declared CYBER WAR on us). Every last bit of what I just wrote is easily supportable with copious evidence — starting with the data collected by our own eyes and ears. Donald Trump is a traitor. Everyone who’s known or suspected as much — no matter how vaguely — was obligated by the rule of law to say something. When they failed that obligation, they, too, became traitors.

America did not vote for treason in 2016, but it is what we got. Rather, it was what the Republican Party — in league with Russia (Russia!) twisted the result we voted for into. What they couldn’t alter by means of old fashioned voter suppression — wiping names off the books wholesale — they accomplished via new-fangled voter suppression — flooding Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin with Facebook ads directed at individual Black voters. Or, rather, stepping back and watching while RUSSIA flooded those three states with the weaponized putback of voter data given to Russian Military Intelligence (the GRU — in the form of Konstantin Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska) by Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager.

Treason, treason and MORE treason.

Sorry, but no bloody way the most amazing (but flawed) experiment in human self-government goes down the crapper because of treason. Not when the majority have no interest in it — and voted otherwise. These criminals hijacked the bus once.

Sorry — they ain’t hijacking it again. The passengers won’t allow it.

It’s easy to become cynical. Driving people away from hope and toward the darkest cynicism is one of authoritarianism’s goals. Without hope, people lose their will to fight. What’s the point if nothing will come of it but terrible pain? If Donald Trump and the Republican Party thought they could take over America without having to go through this election, they’d have done it. This election scares them. It’s the one, gigantic variable they can’t fully control.

Oh, they can try to. The whole point of voter suppression is to limit the size the opposition. To them.

Democrats, you’ll notice, NEVER try to suppress Republican voters. It would never even occur to us to do such a thing. Democrats have this bizarre idea that you should vote for them because you like their ideas better. You’d prefer how they would govern over how the Republican clearly intends to “govern”. As of today, over fifty million Americans have already voted (four years ago, it was around two million votes at this point). They’re voting by mail and standing in long, long lines. Sure, sure — a few of them must be Republicans. But the polls aren’t trending up and down. The polls paint a picture of more House districts flipping blue and red Senate seats previously thought impregnable suddenly looking soap bubble vulnerable.

We’re gun shy about getting too excited about what looks like a blowout because, you know, 2016. But this isn’t then. This year’s version of the Comey Letter — the Hunter Biden Whatever — just blew up spectacularly. Last night Trump sounded like a lunatic spewing nonsense only QAnon-tards could fathom. Then this morning the Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch) blew the rest of it apart. Oh, did we mention? It’s all Russian Military Intelligence work product.

Yeah. It’s something our enemy dreamed up.

Let’s be crystal clear: Donald Trump did not “win” in 2016. He is not now nor has he ever been the legitimate president. Cheating again will not make him legitimate. It will only add to the criminality we must prosecute. Because that’s how we need to see this — not as the “oh well, better luck next time…” lament of people cheated out of their democracy (there won’t BE a next time), but as the last straw. The people behind Trump — the right wing money — represent a sliver of a sliver of who we are. Even the most violent Trumpanistas — the ones who will most likely go down in blazes of “gory” — represent not just a minority point of view but an extreme minority point of view.

We’re headed into winter. Where most of them live, winter will drive them inside if it hasn’t already. They won’t mask, won’t distance. Even as they gather together to plot against the election’s winners — the rest of America — they’ll be sickening each other. Yes, for sure there’ll be flashpoints. But they’ll peter out as the virus takes hold of their parts of America.

Remember in HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds” how the Martians land and kick the crap out of earth’s armies? We look doomed until the Martians start dropping dead. What kills them? Germs. Earth germs. The Martians aren’t vulnerable to bullets or bombs, but they are to the tiniest earthlings — single-celled pathogens. That’s exactly what’s happening to Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

A teeny-tiny pathogen — a thing not even alive! — is going to save America and drive the Republican Party into well-deserved extinction.

The day of bullies owning the schoolyard is over. We own the yard now. We The People. And we do not plan to surrender it any time soon.

Racism — Like Beauty — Is In The Eye Of The Beholder; Racists Don’t Get To Decide If They’re Racist

If fierce 7 year old Wynta-Amor Rogers says you’re a racist? It means YOU’RE A RACIST.

Donald Trump is a racist. That’s not hyperbole, it’s a stone cold fact. He’s a bigot, too. And a misogynist. He’s corrupt to his bone marrow. And a traitor. Not a word of that is opinion. There are receipts — copious receipts — most of them Trump’s own words or deeds. Quick note to America’s news media: 1) Trump’s been telling you what a corrupt, racist, misogynist, bigoted traitor he is from the get-go; for Pete’s sake, BELIEVE HIM and, 2) stop taking the idea of a “smoking gun” so literally. Just because YOU’VE never heard Trump say out loud “Nobody’s a bigger racist than me!” doesn’t mean he’s not one.

Whether Trump or anyone is a racist or not isn’t up to them. Stop asking if they are — they’re the wrong person to ask!

Quiz a five year old who just stole a cookie if they’re guilty — even as they hold the purloined biscuit — minus a bite — in their hand and they’ll probably say “No, I didn’t!”. The question should have been rhetorical. Same goes for the car thief who tells you your car is his — as he sits inside your car in your driveway. He’s a thief because he’s stealing from you. Your experience of the incident and point of view are entirely valid. His saying it never happened — or that you gave him the car — are not.

See how that works? Ask the thief if he’s a thief and he’ll likely say no. Ask a racist if they’re racist — unless they’re a Proud Boy — they’ll vehemently deny that they’ve ever harbored a racist thought. Hmmmmmm, our news media would say to themselves now, if they say they’re not a racist, maybe we should believe them…

Racism, fortunately, is easier to discern than car thievery. We don’t have to root around in the glove compartment to see whose name is on the vehicle’s registration. The victim of racism IS the registration. THEY are the proof that racism exists and they carry that proof around with them inside their heads.

The moment a victim of racism points a J’Accuse! finger at someone, they must answer for (at the very least) the perception that they’re racist. Why would someone think that of them? Denying it outright? It just proves the point: you absolutely ARE a racist.

Beauty’s not up to the beautiful to identify. What do they know anyway? Anyone that obsessed with their own appearance has screwy priorities and shouldn’t be trusted to begin with. And anyway, beauty’s subjective. It’s as “I know it when I see it” as a thing can be.

Racism runs deeper. “I know it when I feel it” more closely reflects the experience. You’re being judged because of who you are or what you look like. You’ll be convicted and punished based on the same evidence. Bigotry and misogyny work that way, too. I’ve been told more than once by a well-meaning Christian that they were going to pray for me. Let’s be real: when a Christian says that to you, it’s because they honestly believe their imaginary friend runs everything. That’s why they’re better than you. They’re “connected” (like a mafioso), you’re not.