Teams v Mobs

Successful teams do historic things. So do mobs. While both rely on the “groupiness” of their effort, the team needs clear organization and a process; everyone needs to know and do their part. Teamwork rewards everyone who puts in the work to help the team succeed. Even the greatest of great ideas require teamwork in order to move from the abstract to the real. And, ask any athlete — even the ones who play individual sports — if they really accomplished greatness entirely on their own. No, they’ll tell you, they didn’t. Others had to sacrifice in order for them to realize their greatness. That’s not a bad thing. It’s how greatness happens — even spontaneously.

Mobs also can happen spontaneously except their energy doesn’t go in the same direction that a team’s does. Whoever’s calling out the mob — or directing their efforts once the mob has formed — THAT’S the mob’s “organizing principle”. The mob isn’t working as a team, it’s working as a cynical chaos machine at someone’s behest. Sometimes however, mobs can be organized so that they behave like mobs while not exactly looking like mobs. The January 6 insurrectionists looked like a mob but they weren’t the mob’s organizing principle. As we’re learning, the January 6 insurrection wasn’t spontaneous. Not even remotely. People (some inside the White House) planned it and planned for it. Then they directed the mob where they wanted it to spend its rage.

What Joe Biden pulled off — becoming the POTUS — required a lot of teamwork. Overcoming Trumpism required (and still requires) teamwork. Everyone had to put their personal comforts aside and make the group their priority even if it meant standing in nine for hours to vote — in the midst of a pandemic — and despite the weather. I don’t recall seeing Republicans standing in line for hours. That’s because most Republicans didn’t have to. Their precincts had enough voting machines and enough volunteers to handle any situation. Hmmmmm… Sounds like teamwork of a kind, doesn’t it? But this was a “team” working at the behest of corruption at the top. People working for a crime boss can be remarkably efficient. Their efforts don’t benefit the larger “we” however. They only benefit a handful of people — a “me”.

Getting vaccinated demands that every one of us think of ourselves as part of a team. Getting vaxxed makes us better teammates because we won’t get sick (or anywhere near as sick as if we didn’t get vaxxed). We won’t transmit the virus, should we get it, to others. Not getting sick, we won’t tax the health care system. We’ll give the economy a chance to get better faster. The team that is We The People will get back to something like “normal” sooner. NOT getting vaxxed has all the opposite effects. Unless your immune system is compromised, there is no excuse not to do what the team demands. There are only crap excuses for selfish behavior.

The Delta Variant is now raging through all the unvaccinated parts of America — except for Nevada, all red states. This time, young people are landing in over-taxed hospitals. Some are dying. It’s tragedy heaped upon tragedy and it’s all preventable. I just saw a clip on MSNBC. A reporter asks a high school students in Arkansas — one of the few getting vaccinated at the vaccination event set up at their high school — why THEY are getting the stick while most of their classmates aren’t.

Turns out, most of those kids getting vaxxed in this now anti-vax red state are athletes. And the reason they’re all getting it? TEAMWORK. If anyone on their team gets sick, the whole team will have to sit down. One member’s fate is everyone’s fate.

Ironically, even when they rely on teamwork, Republicans view teamwork as something for suckers. Criminals, of necessity, need to be able to turn on their co-conspirators at the drop of an indictment. In several recent interviews, Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump has stated that her cousin Ivanka will probably flip before Allen Weisselberg, Trumpco’s money man, does. That either would “flip” shouts volumes. That Ivanka would flip — that bellows at the top of its lungs. These people don’t even see a “team” where it should be most firmly entrenched — in their own family.

Oh, the irony… as “team-like” as organized criminals can be, we call them “the mob”. And as every good cop can tell you, it takes significant teamwork to bring down a mob.

Maybe Our News Media Shouldn’t Take Its Audience — US — For Granted…

Of all the things Team Biden must accomplish pronto on January 20, 2021, atop the list must be setting the Department Of Justice back onto a course of justice and away from its role as a mob boss POTUS’ consigliere. Had our news media not normalized a thousand terrible Trumpian behaviors as “different” rather than “objectionable” or “illegal”, we might not be facing a Constitutional crisis on January 6. Too much of our news media still aspires to be the next Judith Miller — the New York Times’ access whore who sold her sole out so that Dick Cheney might whisper lies into her ear. Even more take it on faith alone that “both sides do it” and will willingly tie themselves in knots to avoid asking white conservatives the same impertinent questions they automatically burp at progressives.

Our news media assumes we’re as stupid, vacuous and intellectually incurious as they are. Boy, are they wrong. The rise of citizen journalism has saved professional journalism from itself. Now, let’s understand — as it destroyed every other business it touched, the internet is destroying the business model for journalism. Has destroyed it already, in fact. The pandemic then came along and demonstrated how anyone with a Zoom account is now just as much a TV talking head as the most experienced TV talking head.

Hell, in my other incarnation — as The Faitheism Project — I do a podcast every week now just like every other podcaster out there. I may not be much competition right now for the big players, but we’re still competing nonetheless. The internet levels all playing fields — for better and worse. The news audience — and I consider myself just another piece of it — is far more sophisticated and savvy than it was in the days when all we had was ABC, CBS and NBC. We sit down in front of our monitors or TV sets more conversant in the visual medium, it turns out, than the people we’re watching and listening to.

TV news media truly don’t understand the language of the medium they’re working in. Example — back when it was still kosher to put climate deniers on the air, the TV news networks would, as a matter of course, put climate scientist and climate denier into a “50-50” shot that splits the screen right down the middle. That’s great. It appears incredibly fair. And it IS being fair — to bullshit. It’s being incredibly unfair to the Truth however.

The problem is the climate scientist has mountains of hard data to back up what he’s saying. The climate denier has stuff he pulled (almost literally) from his ass. They are NOT the same thing. Yet there they both are, being presented in what’s called a “50-50” shot. Fifty percent of the screen to science and fifty percent of the screen to bullshit. See the problem? A truer, more accurate representation would give more like 99% of the screen to the climate scientist and maybe one percent to the climate denier. And the climate denier would be somewhere in the corner of a frame, virtually impossible to see.

A lot of us live in a constant state of war with the press — not on the press itself but on its utter failure of imagination and it’s stone cold refusal to see or acknowledge that failure of imagination. In fact, most of the press does not see itself as culpable in any way. They arrogantly hold themselves “above the fray”, never taking sides even when taking sides is demanded. One only worries about being seen to take sides if one hasn’t the courage of one’s convictions (or, more likely, no convictions to begin with).

I’m not alone in watching cable TV news not so much for the news as for the constant assurance that we’re just as screwed up today as we were yesterday — maybe a bit more screwed up in fact. Donald Trump has turned most of America into the world of Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”. That’s not a good thing. Logic is that world’s kryptonite. If America’s journalists weren’t trying to convince themselves that Democrats and Republicans are all really the same person (which we absolutely are NOT!), they’d be banging away at some other story already.

America’s J-schools all need to take a break from producing journalists. They need to sit back and truly see what they’ve done to the rest of us: a party that feels compelled to explain everything and a party compelled to explain nothing. After a certain point, the trains will become physically incapable of being on time.

A few years back, the 21st Century Fox board of directors chose to end their relationship with Bill O’Reilly at a time when O’Reilly was their biggest draw, their cowiest cash cow. And yet — the 21st Century board of directors understood and agreed that O’Reilly had zero future at Fox News. The reason? Fox News’ advertisers were signaling from afar. The big advertisers were the first to grasp that, as women were more and more becoming the buying-decision decision makers in American households, it no longer behooved the big advertisers to ignore them. If America’s women — out of disgust — were likely to vote with their pocketbooks, then how and why they voted was going to become vitally important.

Fox News cannot survive without big companies advertising on it. Money drives every decision they make. Never mind what anyone on Fox ever says. Watch what they do. Their actions speak every dirty secret their words refuse to betray.

When Team Biden Hits The Ground, They’ll Have TWO Viruses To Contend With — COVID19 And Republican Corruption

Team Biden-Harris choosing Ron Klain as Chief of Staff signals clearly that the Democratic response to the greatest threat to Americans’ health in a century will be multi-faceted, dynamic and hell-bent on getting results. I hope a good chunk of the remaining brain trust gets tasked with confronting America’s OTHER raging virus: Republican corruption. That one’s just as dangerous — more probably. And a hell of a lot more insidious. Think of how much Republican corruption we as a nation of laws had to normalize just to have a “President Trump”. Yeah — that’s a disease and we have it.

Republican corruption is now so widespread and uniform that we marvel each time another GOP-er peels off and says out loud that the election is over. The boys in the bund took one on the chin. They’ll tell themselves that Democrats never demand Republicans EVER pay for their bad behavior; in the name of “getting back to normal”, the Democrats (the Republicans think) will, as usual, live and let live. That would like cutting a deal with cancer.

Not doing it. Here — I’ll link to a song that says it clearly: We Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Now that we’ll begin to apply science to our pandemic response, we’ll actually HAVE a pandemic response. Thank you, Team Trump, for setting the bar so low we have to be careful not to trip over it while surpassing it. Even if Team Biden-Harris failed spectacularly, that failure would still be miles better than whatever herd immunity type non-response Trump was going to call “a plan”. Already — because Team Biden-Harris will be there and Team Trump won’t — our fortunes will be measurably better.

Team Biden-Harris needs to apply the same aggressive, science-based, whole world, deal-with-it-on-every-level attack plan they apply to the coronavirus to the even more pervasive virus of Trumpism. This is a cancer we ignore at our peril.

On the one hand, a winter of sickness will both cull the Trumpian herd and rob it of righteous indignation. Most people (Trump not included) emerge quite humbled by their experience with COVID19. Plenty will survive it but feel its hold on them for the rest of their lives. As Trump followers die, having caught the virus at a Trump event, while Trump comes unglued in full public view, the Cult of Trump will be harder to justify except to the most hardcore of the hardcore. The Lifers. The 29% who still loved Richard Nixon on the day he resigned because of Watergate.

On the other hand, a political environment free from Trump’s voice — private citizen Trump won’t get the pass President Trump does from Twitter or any other social media platform who now have to live in a world where Joe Biden is President and the rules are beginning to be rewritten. Enter into this environment a functioning Department of Justice, dedicated anew to Justice instead of behaving like some crime boss’s consigliere.

It’s that reinvigorated DoJ where the fight against Virus #2 — Trumpism — will begin in earnest. An equally reinvigorated FBI will finally get down to the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that Rod Rosenstein knee capped. Those threads, once pulled, will obliterate the bad Christmas sweater of corruption that has been the Republican Party for a generation. Well, it will REVEAL all the corruption in revolting waves of puke-inducing awfulness. One of the more puke-inducing will be the revelation that we’ve been living inside a giant False Narrative for that very same time frame.

How long, I wonder, have the Republican-owned voting machine companies been padding Republican vote results? As I wrote here, it wouldn’t take more than three people — and no one meticulously checking the math — to add, say, ten percent to one party’s vote total. Point of reference. Kentucky, this cycle.

Let’s start by hauling out the voter rolls — they’re public record: https://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2010-2019/2014/statcnty.txt

Here’s the final page — with the state totals.

Here — the next part of the data — the actual results from the election —

Here’s the statewide result. Mitch really whupped Amy McGrath’s butt, didn’t he?

If we compare totals, Mitch got 1,233,135 votes out of a possible 3,105,349 registered voters in Kentucky. How many of Kentucky’s voters are registered as Republicans? 1,196.183. How many as Democrats? 1672,664…

Wait, what? Yeah. Kentucky has more registered Democrats than it does Republicans. Who knew? There are a half million or so “other” voters in the mix — independents, Libertarians, Greens, Who-Know-What-Else — but, still, DEMOCRATS OUTNUMBER REPUBLICANS in Kentucky.

Yet Mitch — in a tribe election — in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans — blows out the Democrat. Did I mention that Mitch’s approval number sits at 18% in one poll! Either Mitch is simply the greatest politician of all time — turning groups of voters who should despise the air he breathes into people happy to pull the lever for him. Excuse me if I’m dubious.

Take Pike County. Here’s how Mitch performed there —

Mitch beat McGrath 18,362 to 6,013. That’s in a county where there are 34,464 registered Democrats vs 11,178 registered Republicans. That means at least 7,000 other voters plus Democrats had to vote for Mitch — at a far greater clip than an 18% approval rating would suggest possible.

See how the math doesn’t “add up”? We need to be skeptical about this. We need to be suspicious at the very least.

Make that Team Biden-Harris needs to be suspicious — and they need to act swiftly. For starters, we need to ascertain whether Republicans have been padding their vote totals for years or not (take it to the bank and make plans with the proceeds — it’s that dead certain). We need to have this piece of the puzzle in hand as we look at election 2016 and the question of “Did Trump Really Win Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Michigan?” Because, if he didn’t (he didn’t) then Trump never did win the Electoral College. That means he never did legitimately win the presidency — just like he’s been telling us in his strangely projective way. That means that everything Donald Trump did should be voided since he never had the legal authority to do it.

Something was stolen from We The People — the result of our vote. The outcome, with all its legislative and judicial manifestations — that was what we voted for. That is what was literally stolen from us and taken by the Republicans. They replaced our judges with theirs. Our president with theirs. Our future with… whatever the hell this monstrosity is.

Just like Covid19 can fog your brain, Trumpism fogs reason. It’s got some of us thinking that cheating to win is just “another way to win” and that if a cheater wins, they still get to keep what they stole from us.

No, they don’t. Turns out the cure for Trumpism is the same as for a pandemic: diligence and a lockdown. Let’s start by locking down every single Republican. Then let’s diligently ask them all the questions we have for them — under oath.

Let’s cure ourselves of this sickness once and for all.

If Team Biden Succeeds With Their Pandemic Response – Which They Will – The Rest Of Their Mission Gets Easier

The headline says it all: If Team Biden — Joe, the Pandemic Response Team he’s already formed plus the rest of his remarkable brain trust — succeeds in its pandemic response, the next steps in healing America will be easier. Team Trump have set the bar remarkably low. Even “success bordering on failure” will look like total success by comparison. That’s not fair so we’ll forget we even mentioned it. Consider the optics. Job One — stop the pandemic from sickening us while also getting the economy up off its knees. It gets done. Would that build at least a modicum of trust in at least some of the more reasonable Trumpanistas? If even one puts down the Trump kool aid and returns to the fold, we can call it “success”.

I knew I couldn’t help myself. Think of the direction we’re headed in. Think of the direction we’re already turning toward. Think of the timing of it all — and I mean “it all”. Donald Trump made Joe & Kamala’s success here a sure thing. Unless Covid-19 suddenly mutates in some bizarrely, horror movie, “Bidenesque” fashion, the worst of the epidemic’s impacts on our lives will have Trump’s fingerprints all over them. There will be a clear demarcation point from when “we started to get better”. That demarcation point will be January 20, 2021 — the day Joe and Kamala and the rest of Team Biden went to work ON America’s behalf instead of AGAINST it.

Project forward with me. It’s now late April 2021. The numbers reveal a devastating winter but an improving spring. At the very same time that Team Biden has been putting science to work taming the pandemic, it’s also flooded the economy with cash — aimed to work from the bottom up. Now cash-flowed for the near-term while the epidemic releases its grip, confidence grows in the American consumer.

And also meanwhile — Team Biden has returned the Department of Justice to being a Department of Justice instead of a corrupt president’s consigliere. Suddenly subpoenas are being issued. People are being made to speak under oath. Important people. Important Republican people. Suddenly all that oversight that never got done starts getting done. But most important of all, there’ll be the matter of the counter-intelligence investigation that We The People assumed was being handled somewhere between Team Mueller and the FBI. You know — the one Rod Rosenstein killed dead on the downlow? THAT counter-intel investigation? Well, it’s back on now.

And we’ll KNOW it’s back on and the speculation in the press will be the new, exciting, talk-about-it-24/7 parlor game that every talking head can play. Who will get touched by charges of treason? Maybe it’ll be “Who WON’T Get Touched?” Either way, THAT will be entertainment.

This, too, will be part of the backdrop against which Team Biden’s success with the pandemic will play as they finally turn toward the next parts of their agenda — healing on their minds. Remember: success is virtually guaranteed. Donald Trump made it so.

Who knows? Some of us may even stop to thank Donald — who, remember, will be deep in his own personal nightmare, his legal bills through the roof, the charges and lawsuits piling up like lies in a news conference. Thirty percent of this country will never come around. They just won’t. We need to stop chasing them and, instead, start thinking of how to mitigate their damage. Every benefit coming to us will go to them. They don’t have to say “thank you”. They won’t.

Nothing in life is perfect. Can’t be. Our union isn’t perfect but, fortunately, it’s designed to be made more perfect as needed. Like now. Timing is everything. So’s framing.

We’re about to stop thinking one way about the world and start thinking another. That’s how big a moment in History this is. The problem with journalists is they live too much in the moment. It’ll take historians to point out what those moments all meant.

It isn’t rocket science to project what will happen. It’s just a grasp of the actual facts that have already been reported. The election, the pandemic, Trump’s impeachment, Bill Barr’s criminal obstruction of justice, the lies about the Mueller Report, the fact that there even IS a Mueller Report, the fact that we still don’t know just how deeply connected Donald Trump, his family, his circle, the Republicans around him and every Republican around them are to Russia (or any other foreign player in our politics). But those things are all out there.

And they’re just the tip of the iceberg. While healing from the pandemic’s hold, we will be treated to a steady diet of stunning criminality on one party’s part.

Make no mistake. The Progressive wing of the Democratic Party is going to have to produce returns and early. It won’t be fair. It never is. But progressivism is going to get an unusual tail wind behind them. They should enjoy it but not take it for granted. And they should not for two seconds take credit for it — the successful pandemic response. That’s what our government is supposed to do, ya see.

They’d be taking credit for doing the jobs they get paid to do. THAT, ya see, is going to be what makes Team Biden’s job easier. Pure, unadulterated competence. The bar is soooooo low.

Ah, hell. I did it again. I gave Trump credit.

Our news media, as they often do, keep asking the wrong questions. How can Team Biden succeed? No, no, no, sillies!

The correct question is, post Donald Trump, “HOW CAN THEY FAIL?”