Elections Are Either Free & Fair Or They Aren’t

Without gerrymandering and voter suppression, America’s true political map would look significantly different than it does now.

Example – Texas, where Republican gerrymandering has given blue-as-can-be Austin more Republican representation than Democratic. In Austin, gerrymandering is literally circumventing the will of the people — exactly as designed. That IS the point of gerrymandering — to give a minority of voters a way to take and keep power from the majority indefinitely. I guess if you could do that with the quality of your ideas, you would…

Without voter suppression, Georgia would now have Democrat Stacy Abrams instead of Republican Brian Kemp, Georgia’s former Secretary of State.

Among the reported irregularities — 3,000 people were wrongly flagged by the state as being ineligible to vote prior to election day and, then, another 53,000 voters had their registrations delayed by Kemp’s office without adequately notifying the applicants. Can you guess how many of those 56,000 voters were either African-American or Democratic? How about pretty much ALL OF THEM.

The final tally gave Kemp the win by 54,723 votes. If (and we don’t know) every one of those suppressed, uncounted votes (and Kemp’s Georgia Department of State’s got some integrity issues) had been votes for Stacy Abrams… well, you see how that works? If Stacy Abrams had won by ONE VOTE, then she would be governor now and corrupt-to-his-toes Brian Kemp wouldn’t be.

One vote CAN make a difference and sometimes, ONE VOTE absolutely does. “Every Vote Counts” is not bullshit. It’s a verifiable fact. There’s data that says it’s a fact.

In a “Free And Fair Election”, every vote gets counted. No one would do anything EVER to dissuade another voter from voting. THAT would be seen as 1) anti-democratic and 2) anti-American. And yet… American elections are rife with one side (and it’s ONE SIDE ONLY — both don’t do it) doing everything in its power to dissuade, disincline and prevent the other side from using its right to vote.

When you screw with another American’s vote, you’re screwing with their rights. And when you screw with another American’s rights, YOU’RE BREAKING THE LAW. Not sort of breaking the law, BREAKING THE LAW.

Our slippery slide down the slope to corruption began the instant we first compromised The Rule Of Law. The moment we stopped practicing The Rule Of Law evenly across the board, we hurt it. We undermined its integrity — and once a thing’s integrity is gone, it’s just a matter of time before rot completely destroys it. We have two sets of rules. One for Rich White Guys and one for everyone else (assuming the everyone else is People Of Color).

But, what if Charles or David Koch (back from the dead) were to show up at THEIR polling place only to be told “Sorry, dude — your name’s not on the list”? Would either Koch Brother stand for such a thing? Of course they wouldn’t. They’d be on the phone to their high-priced lawyer before the polling place worker had finished their sentence. The law would be rewritten on the spot.

They’d vote and their vote would be counted. Probably two or three times even just because.

But, of course, in reality, such a thing could never, ever, EVER happen. The circumstances could never exist where a rich, white, Christian Koch Brother — reliably Republican — would have have HIS right to vote challenged or questioned or abridged or compromised or withheld in any way, shape or form.

And THAT is at the very heart of the problem. It’s the Koch’s manipulating everyone else’s vote, right to vote, ability to vote or means to vote either directly by their actions or indirectly through their money. Has one dollar of their money ever found its way into a voter suppression effort?

That’s one dollar too many. Same token — if just ONE VOTER is prevented from voting because of bullshit? That election can no longer claim to be “free and fair”.

There’s no “magic number” of acceptable suppressed votes. A suppressed vote is not an abstraction if the vote is yours. It’s a very real denial of your most fundamental right as a citizen. In the face of that denial, the question must be asked: WHY?

Why is MY right to vote being denied me?

Like I said — that’s a question Charlie Koch will never have to ask himself.

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To Void Election 2016 Or Not To Void — THAT Is The Question (It Isn’t Really — VOID IT!)

In fairness, it’s hard to get one’s mind around what’s happening to us. Russia launched an aggressive intelligence operation against us and election 2016 that succeeded beyond its wildest hopes. They literally MADE Donald Trump president.

C’mon — take Russia out of the Trump equation and he doesn’t get through the primaries. Take Russia & Wikileaks off the table (so there’s no document dumping) and Trump’s “Pussy grabbing” finishes off what “Mexicans are rapists” should have. There’s no rescue, see?

No Russia, no Trump. Can we vote tally our way to a “smoking gun” that says “Hey, wait a minute, Trump lost the vote count in PA/MI/WI too!”? Of course not. But there’s circumstantial evidence out the wazoo starting with the 77,000 votes across three states that made the difference between Hillary Clinton becoming POTUS and Trump “winning” instead.

That’s three states for which Paul Manafort handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data.

It’s so much simpler than we’re making it. The law says you cannot break the law to win an election. Therefore if you broke the law to win an election then you did not win. Donald Trump and the Republican Party BROKE THE LAW to win election 2016. They broke the law repeatedly. They took copious amounts of Russian money (by dubiously legal means now revealed as ILLEGAL) and even allowed Trump’s campaign to make a change the the GOP’s 2016 Party platform that’s now the subject of intense investigation — the betrayal of Ukraine.

Ukraine-gate is just the next chapter of Russia-gate. The fact that we have a next chapter is because we didn’t burn the book after finishing the last chapter. This is literally Trump brazenly trying to close the deal (and close the book on American Democracy). The Republican Party is desperate to help him succeed.

If, as part of our righting the Ship of State, we re-establish The Rule Of Law as “a thing”, then we need to abide by The Rule Of Law’s most basic tenet — it IS. It applies evenly and fairly to all, no exceptions.

Under The Rule Of Law, thieves do not ever get to keep what they stole. If it’s returnable, it gets returned. If restitution needs to be paid instead, it gets paid. The Republican Party stole election 2016 from the American People. We voted one way, the GOP (with Russia’s considerable help) created the illusion that another result happened. It didn’t.

Take Russia out of the equation — Trump loses. He loses badly. And so does every last bit of his legislative & judicial agenda (Mitch McConnell’s & the Heritage Foundation’s judicial agenda actually). If Donald Trump was never legitimately president then he never had the right to nominate anyone for anything — especially SCOTUS judges.

Hell, without the illegitimate presidency, Trump probably couldn’t get onto the White House grounds. The bloated orange jackal turd couldn’t even pass a basic background check, could he?

If I steal your car, that doesn’t make me its rightful owner — even if I sit outside your house at five in the morning and lay on the horn till you come outside so I can flash you the finger as I peel off in a hail of screeching tires and road grit. The car’s still yours.

The same goes for an election. We The People voted one way but got the result Russia wanted instead. That cannot stand.

We learned the hard way what happens when you don’t fix problems at the get-go. We should have killed slavery dead. We didn’t and like a zombie it has hungered for our brains ever since. We fought the Civil War over slavery. Because Andrew Johnson helped kill Restoration, we’re still fighting the Civil War. We’re still battling over slavery.

If we don’t void the stolen results of election 2016, we will head down the same terrible path — with the same terrible results. How can we possibly “agree” to let the stolen results of 2016 remain if we KNOW for a fact they don’t reflect the Will Of The People but, rather, the will of Moscow?

How can we possibly allow that to “be”? How can we allow the car thief to keep what he stole?

We can’t.

It really is that simple.

Not Only Don’t Both Sides “Do It”, Both Sides Don’t Even APPROVE Of “It”

Maybe our news media’s problem is one of projection. They can’t walk & chew gum at the same time so they assume Democrats can’t and citizens can’t.

But, thing is, anyone who isn’t a journalist CAN do two things at once. Some of us can even hold two conflicting thoughts in our heads without our heads exploding.

Because our news media insists on seeing EVERYTHING through a political lens (even if the thing they’re looking at ISN’T political), they assume everyone DOES everything for political reasons. The reason Democrats have vehemently opposed Trump more than any other Republican in their lifetimes isn’t because he’s a Republican. It’s because he’s corrupt. It’s because he’s a racist. And a rapist. And a con man. And a criminal with a history of laundering Russian mob money. And a TRAITOR.

All of those are facts about Donald Trump. One could, being completely apolitical, object to Trump on each of those grounds. One could object to Trump on ALL of them — and STILL not be “political”.

It’s galling to be told your motive is one thing when it’s not that thing at all. It’s even more galling when the people insisting you’re being political hold a megaphone — as the MSM does.

Democrats object to Trump because he called Mexicans rapists. Because he boasts about grabbing pussies. Because he (clearly) lies on his taxes. Because he violated his oath of office the instant he took it. Because his relationship with Russia isn’t just “dodgy” or “suspect”, it’s flat out TREASONOUS.

Democrats object to Trump because he lies almost every time he opens his mouth. Democrats object to Trump because he treats the Constitution and The Rule Of Law like asswipe.

Not only don’t both sides “do” what Donald Trump is doing to America and our whole way of life — both sides don’t “approve” of it either. Because putting children in cages or profiting off our foreign policy or conspiring to murder journalists or calling the press “enemies of the people” etc etc etc is immoral and disgusting.

Insisting that the Democrats are prosecuting Trump for purely political reasons is insulting to every patriotic American. It takes a criminal’s framing of his crime and makes IT the norm. Those going after the criminal are suddenly the suspects. Every time the American press repeats anything Trump says without vetting the hell out of it first, they’re setting “Both Sides Do It” in concrete.

Bottom line — the MAJORITY of Americans didn’t vote for Trump and do not want Trumpism in any way, shape or form. Trump’s base is a fraction of the Republican party (who themselves are only 24% of the American electorate). The American news media is so far out of whack that they continue to insist that 16% of the electorate equals the 55% who (per Quinnipiac) want to see Trump impeached.

The American news media still insist that Trump “won” election 2016 fairly & squarely. That’s completely false of course. And if you don’t (or can’t) see election 2016 as stolen — and NOT representing the will of the American people — then the “both sides” you see doing it, aren’t the sides that are actually present — or doing it.

WE Alone Can Fix It

The Big Lie that helped bring us the Age Of Trump flows from that wellspring of bullshit — Libertarianism. “I alone can fix it” is laughably absurd.

But, as much as some of us roared the first time Donald Trump spewed those words, some in the crowd — their ears perked up. They, too, think they alone can fix it, having convinced themselves that Ayn Rand was a genius who saw the rugged individual inside of them that ached to be a Master of His Own Fate.

Ayn Rand died in poverty on the public dole. So much for rugged individualism and “I alone can fix it”. Those are literary conceits — and, in the hands of Ayn Rand, horribly written literary conceits on top of it. I bet she even sucked as a typist.

As we all know about Trump, he couldn’t even “fix” his own election alone. Russia did that for him.

If the Democrats really want to draw a clear distinction between their message and the GOP’s (not that there’s any similarity between the two), they could focus in on the nonsensical Republican belief that “I alone can fix it”. What pretty much every single Democrat is already touting, the Democratic message is “WE alone can fix it”.

If I were running for office — that’s how I’d explain what needs to happen. For starters, we need to stop seeing a president as a fix-all. Great leaders — not fixing anything alone — know how to get the best from everyone around them. Great leaders don’t pilfer from the people supporting them (claiming credit for their ideas), they embrace the ideas — not just giving credit but demonstrating how the more ideas we get from more places, the better and more inclusive our problem-solving will be.

This is a rare moment in modern American history. For all the pride Americans take in the benefits of citizenship, too few accept the responsibilities that also come with being an American especially the responsibility to vote. Suddenly Americans want to vote. Suddenly Americans feel the tug of responsibility.

If the trend lines started in 2018 continue, the American electorate is pretty much woke. We’re paying attention as never before.

Americans, being Americans (with a very short attention span), this won’t last. We’re racing toward a resolution of Trumpism. Too many people who know the Truth are stepping forward now. 2020 will absolutely be a referendum on Trumpism — and it will be turned out utterly and completely. But, in the moments just before Americans revert back to deep-seated apathy, we can change how they think about being an American.

I would tell my fellow Americans that their being “woke” is essential to our health as a republic. Before they revert though, they need to pay attention for a little while longer. How we resolve Trumpism — how we go forward — how we think of “us” — how we think of The Rule Of Law — how we think of the taxes we pay and what we expect that money to do FOR US (not in spite of us) — all of these things need to be on the table.

Especially the last thing — how we pay for fixing us.

Americans view paying taxes the way they view death. A terrible, terrible inevitability. We believe our tax dollars buy us nothing except an army and a lot of useless bureaucrats.

I would attack that idea first. I would remind every American that we are the greatest experiment ever in human SELF-GOVERNMENT. We do this. WE.

If every tax-paying American were given a statement that showed where every penny of their tax dollars went — including things useless and things useful — they might not be happy (not at first), but they’d start to feel a little more in control. At least they’d understand their relationship to the government in practical, day-to-day terms they could actually relate to.

It’s a thought anyway.

America’s motto is not “I alone can fix it”. It’s E Pluribus Unum. From many, one.

That’s our strength. It’s our saving grace, too.

Dear TV Pundits: Donald Trump Doesn’t Stop Being A TRAITOR Just Cos He Takes In A Ballgame

So, you’re watching the cable TV news. The on-air team smell blood in the water. Hard evidence keeps mounting that whatever drawer you put the Mueller Report into, Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine is impeachable on steroids. The really astute talking heads — the Malcolm Nances, the Natasha Bertrands, the Nancy Wheeler’s, the Lawrence Tribes, the Glenn Kirschners — they have no qualms about letting their moral outrage rage. Donald Trump isn’t some ordinary republican potus playing the executive over-reach card, he’s their end product brought horrifyingly to life.

Trump is republican corruption on steroids and too many taco bowls. He’s old, Christian white-guy-racism projected onto electronic billboards that reach across whole zip codes.

He’s a mash up of greed and cynicism and ignorance that every republican must have envied because they’ve all worked so hard to mimic it.

And then there’s his undying devotion to Vladimir Putin.

In the storytelling trade, that’s a set-up you can’t go away from. There’s no satisfying twist that will suddenly make a hero out of Trump. In our menu of choices — A) Trump’s completely innocent, B) Trump’s kinda innocent-kinda guilty, or C) Trump’s completely guilty, “Trump’s completely guilty” is absolutely one of the possibilities.

And yet — as the MSM and its pundits “pick through the bones of last week’s news” — that’s the one possibility they refuse to entertain.

It’s true. They’ll concede the middle easily (cos who knows until all the facts are out). But the middle isn’t as fuzzy as they wish it was. When the only ongoing defense against truly perilous charges is “it’s a hoax!”, you don’t have a defense. We all agree (even Trump’s supporeters FFS!) — Trump’s not innocent. So — let’s remove that empty pot from the table please.

That means Trump must be KINDA guilty at least.

But therein lies the problem — KINDA guilty? That sounds like things we used to call guilty are being normalized.

I keep going back to this fact: Fusion GPS was hired — famously now — to do oppo research on Donald Trump (hired originally by the Washington Free Beacon — Jeb Bush supporters). As Fusion’s co-founder Glenn Simpson testified before Congress, when they did their due diligence before formally commencing their oppo work, they found so much evidence that Trump had laundered Russian mob money through his failed Atlantic City casinos (a red flag itself since who goes broke running a casino?) that they hired Christopher Steele whose Russian contacts were the best in the West.

There should be no question that Trump is a criminal many times over. He was a criminal before he ran for president and his whole campaign — and presidency — have been literal crimes, too. Trump violated his oath of office even as he spoke it; he was knowingly and aggressively violating the emoluments clause.

The Rule Of Law doesn’t have grey areas. It either is or isn’t. Same as Integrity. Once one steps into a traitor’s shoes, those shoes become permanent fixtures on your feet.

I cannot count the hours I have spent either half-listening to or half-watching TV cable news pundits describe actions that — were they to remove them from a president doing them — they’d call ‘TREASONOUS” at the top of their voices. But their normalcy bias blinders are bolted so tightly to their heads — perhaps it’s cut off all the circulation.

They’re like the character in a joke we liked a lot on the bus going to grade school. Guy sees dog shit on the ground. But he’s not sure so he picks it up. Sniffs it. Tastes it even. Yup. It’s dog shit. He puts it back down — glad as hell he didn’t step in it.

How many times and in how many ways does one have to describe treason, traitors and treachery before one is willing to say “Yeah — there might be treason afoot here”?

How many notes from a meeting with Putin does Trump have to destroy before we allow there might be something a wee bit “unkosher” going on?

Technically, “treason” requires a state of war to “be”. We’re in a State of War — make no mistake. There aren’t any bombs or bullets (not here in America but ask Ukraine if that’s true; ask the Kurds — our abandoning our ally benefited one person above all others: Vlad Putin) but then, New Wars will be fought with Information across Cyber networks. Exactly like the war we’re engaged in now.

We will come to see in time that we’ve been living through World War Three. It ain’t just Russia after all that’s firing upon us.

And we aren’t Russia’s only target. And the war Putin’s waging goes back to how the Cold War ended — and his desire to undo the dismantling of the Soviet Union. For reference — the people who took part in the 14th century’s Hundred Years War (it actually lasted 116 years) had no idea that’s what they were involved in. Even as that war rolled through their lives, destroying them, they had no idea they were part of anything historical.

Donald Trump is a traitor. It’s a stone cold fact. He’s done everything except confess it himself. To go back to my earlier metaphor — he put on those shoes. When TV cable news shows turn from reporting a story about just how much of a traitor Trump is to a story about Trump’s re-election plans, they forget Trump’s even wearing shoes. Never mind Treason Shoes.

But he IS wearing them. That same presidential candidate they now glibly discuss — how much money he’s raised, where his base is strongest — is the exact same traitor they were apoplectic about two minutes ago. He didn’t stop being that guy just because THEY changed the subject.

When Donald Trump & his entourage of co-conspirators showed up to take in Game Five of the World Series the other night, he got booed BECAUSE HE’S A TRAITOR.

Everyone chanting “Lock Him Up” is chanting that because they’ve seen enough, heard enough to know — Donald Trump should not be potus for another second longer. BECAUSE HE’S A TRAITOR.

The internet went justifiably bonkers after Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski disapprovingly lectured America on not wanting traitors showing up & ruining their entertainment. Escapism is hard enough to come by in Donald Trump’s America. It’s infuriating to think he feels compelled to take over that space too.

Our TV punditry needs to get it through their heads: it’s dog shit. DON’T pick it up. DON’T sniff it — and whatever you do, DON’T EAT IT.

Trump is a traitor. It’s the only fact that really matters.

This Is That Point In The Movie Where The Villains Decide To Go All Out…

No writer could have written what we’re still living through and gotten away with it. No one would have bought it — way too unbelievable. Yet here we are.

Perversely, the villains in this piece operate by the exact same rules by which a Bond Villain operates — power & money cos why not? With Vlad Putin, throw in a heavy dose of Russian nationalism and old fashioned Crusader-thinking.

With Donald Trump, it’s all greed. Greed and a sociopathological personality desperate for daddy-love that he can never have.

With Mike Pence, it’s the power lust of the religious charlatan. He can never be a primary villain. He’s too empty.

With Mitch McConnell, it’s power & money but more than that? It’s the Revenge Of The Nerd. Same goes with Stephen Miller. Mitch is a “man” insecure in his manhood (for shits n giggles, shout “SODOMY” right in Mitch’s face and see how he reacts). You know he was picked on relentlessly in every schoolyard he ever sat in — unfortunately. Most people deal with it through therapy or alcohol. Moscow Mitch had the Constitution at his disposal — and he disposed with it.

Back during the 2016 Republican Convention (it was reported FFS!), current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting of the Republican muckety-mucks and said (this is his direct quote): “There’s …there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Representative Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump … [laughter] … swear to God.”

Instead of responding, “If you really think that, we should call the FBI right this second!”, then-Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan “…immediately responded: ‘This is an off-the-record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”. That is literally what he said.

The Republican hierarchy KNEW. They might not have known all, but they knew some. If they knew ANY, they were obligated to pick up the phone and report it. As we’re learning though — too slowly for our own collective good — is that lots of these Republicans were in Mitch’s boat — they’d already been bought out themselves by the Russians.

When Russia gives you money, it comes with strings. When Russia gives you an aluminum factory and hundreds of millions of dollars, it comes with ropes.

Just like Donald Trump will never pivot, neither will the Republican Party. They can’t now. They committed to Mitch McConnell’s plan (imagined not by him but by the Koch-Mercer money behind him) to install permanent minority rule in America first by j=hijacking the judiciary. Can you say “Merrick Garland”?

If The Rule Of Law is going to be truly viable again then there can be no exceptions to it. Any Republican who even suspected what his co-partiests were up to was legally obligated to report it. They didn’t and we have to ask “why?” Whose interests were they protecting — when they took an oath to uphold the Constitution’s?

I fear, Republicans having nowhere to go but prison, that this ending will indeed be like one of those Bond movies where it takes 80 shots at the villain to finally kill him. It already feels that way, doesn’t it? The bombshells going off every day — the reveals of staggering corruption and debauched greed — that never result in the bad guys even breaking stride — it really does feel like bullets bouncing off a bad guy’s magical force field of pure evil.

It’s wired into our culture that just before it’s too late, a white knight rides to the rescue. We’ve convinced ourselves that the good guys ultimately win in the end. That’s all ooga-booga we made up.

Here in Real Life, truly anything can happen. Get too sucked into “normalcy” and you become the frog who gets boiled to death. The reason Uber Villains go for broke in the end is because something inside them suspects — if they can just outlast the good guy — they’ll triumph. It will be up to We The People to stop them. Because we’re the Good Guy.

I’m old enough to remember when speaking or writing in these terms would have been hyperbole on steroids. But then, I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t write this story and get away with it.

Republicans Have No Idea What “Integrity” Is — “Ditto” The Rule Of Law

Ever meet a guy with 96% of his integrity intact? “Yeah — he’s pretty honest most of the time… it’s that 4% where he’s a goddamned liar that’s the problem” is not a sentence one hears often. There’s a reason.

Integrity either is or it isn’t. There’s no middle ground, no grey area. In fact, there’s no grey area anywhere near Integrity’s zip code.

We’re all born equal where Integrity’s concerned: we all get 100% at birth. It’s entirely up to us what we do with it. Treat people with respect (“Do Unto Others is how Jesus put it) and you’re likely to keep your Integrity at 100% your whole life. Make a habit of screwing people over and people will quickly realize that you’re a dishonest shit not worth their time.

Republicans are people who somehow got it in their heads that there IS an Integrity grey area. This is something they told themselves, being corrupt. Republicans still think (apparently) that their continuing association with every Trumpian abuse of our Republic won’t haunt them when Donald Trump is long in our rear view mirror.

They could not be more wrong.

Having no Integrity, it wasn’t hard for Republicans to bust a cap in The Rule Of Law’s noggin. Just like with Integrity, the Rule Of Law can’t live in any middle ground. The Rule Of Law must either “be” or “not be”.

Our problem started the instant we turned a blind eye to the smallest violation of The Rule Of Law. To not enforce is to move the goal posts. What should have remained illegal has now been granted “don’t bother with it” status. Who made such a decision — and why? The Rule Of Law didn’t make it. It violates The Rule Of Law right on its face.

What really exacerbates our problem is this — our Main Stream News Media have repeatedly normalized behaviors and flat out corruption that should have set their heads ablaze. Instead, they eventually let every last Trumpian outrage (illegal ones included) go. And each time they let go and looked toward Trump’s next sparkly object, they paid for it. More importantly, We The People paid for it.

When — it’s not an “if” — we manage to get The Rule Of Law back up onto its feet, we may be shocked by how cruel The Rule Of Law seems. a Shitload of Republicans will have to be punished — including Republicans who eventually came around (talking to YOU, Joe Walsh). Those Republicans that had so much as an inkling what Trump & the GOP were up to (especially as it concerns quid-pro-quoing sanctions) need to be punished because The Rule Of Law says you report shit like that to the Proper Authorities — the FBI, for instance.

We have to be firm though in seeing that The Rule Of Law is carried out to its very letter even if people we like get swept up in its execution.

If we saw The Rule Of Law any differently, it would mean we had zero Integrity.