Our News Media Doesn’t Understand What “Integrity” Is (Or Why It Matters)

The Importance of Integrity in Business | FreshBooks Blog

Everyone is born with the same amount of integrity: one hundred percent. As we drop from the womb, we haven’t betrayed any principles yet, haven’t gotten lazy when intellectually challenged, haven’t let anyone down. If we “say” we’re hungry that’s what we mean. If we say we’ve pooped or peed ourselves, we have! If we’re sad or lonely or happy as a clam, we’ll broadcast that fact as loudly and clearly as we can. We are as honest as we’re ever going to be. Then we go out into the world and one of the first things we learn how to do is be less honest. Part of that’s just what it takes to get through a day filled with different kinds of relationships. A certain amount of truthiness goes with being human and living in a human society. But, there is a line. People who take on “important jobs”, work that could genuinely mean life or death to others (airline pilots, physicians, police officers for instance) can be less than honest with their romantic partners, but we need them to be totally honest with their passengers, patients or perps. Would you allow a surgeon with questionable integrity to slice into you?

Me neither.

Integrity is like a balloon made of platinum. As solid as it seems, it’s easily punctured. And once punctured. it’s irreparable. If Donald Trump had a radical change of heart (and character — let’s pretend okay?) and suddenly (on the inside) became absolutely honest, would we believe him? Certainly not. And, ironically, the more Trump pled his newfound honesty, the more dishonest we’d be sure he was. That’s what happens when you bust a cap in your integrity. It dies. And the world’s perception of you solidifies: you are a liar. If Trump could keep up the act, not just insisting he was honest but actually being that way, perhaps in a few years, our skepticism would begin to subside. To the degree that one’s integrity can be repaired, the process moves as slowly as nerve regeneration in humans. Glaciers can beat it in a foot race.

And yet, our news media regularly restores the broken integrity of the very least deserving. Richard Nixon was a criminal — full stop. At the very least, Watergate should have fixed Nixon in our collective understanding as a man with zero integrity. Of course Nixon himself would want to restore his integrity — or bamboozle others into thinking he (somehow) still had some integrity to trade on. Why would our news media want to help him though? Better question: why would our news media want to put ITS integrity on the line for someone their own reporting established had none? I don’t think it’s because our journalists don’t have integrity, I think it’s because they simply don’t know (or maybe even care) what it is.

“Both sides do it” brand journalism conflates skepticism with cynicism. Suddenly everyone becomes a variation on a theme : the lust for political power. Regardless of what they actually do or say, so goes the thinking, their motives are all exactly the same. From this vantage point, NO ONE has integrity. How can they when (per the journalist doing the reporting) everyone’s hedging or gaming everyone else? This simply isn’t the case. Progressives don’t want what conservatives want; they don’t want to live in a past where white, Christian men had all the power and money — the very thing conservatives want to conserve. Progressives will tell you openly that they want a rising tide to float every possible boat. Conservatives, on the other hand, will lie to you about just about everything because, they know, if they told America the truth about them — about their motives — they’d be in jail already.

When our news media gets up on its hind legs and insists that Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy or Mark Meadows or Devin Nunes or Bill Barr or Mike Pence or Chuck Grassley or Susan Collins or Jim Jordan or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Brett Kavanaugh or Steve Bannon or Ted Cruz or anyone in the Trump clan is an “honest actor”, they’re committing journalistic malpractice. They’re labeling criminals as honest then demanding why Democrats won’t negotiate with them. But, even when our news media reports actual acts of treason — based on hard evidence they themselves have vetted — they refuse to connect the dots their reporting suggests do connect.

Example: On June 25, 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walks into a meeting of GOP leaders — a month before the GOP will nominate Trump to be their presidential candidate. They know Trump’s candidacy is inevitable. McCarthy is worried however because he fears that Trump is corrupt: “There’s two people I think Putin pays,” he says, “Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room balks at the thought. There’s nervous laughter — that’s what motivates McCarthy to insist “Swear to God!” He wants to be taken seriously. He wants his news to be taken seriously. But, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan asserts his “leadership”. He shuts down the conversation. They’re not going to discuss this secret; instead, they’re going to keep it — this knowledge that a hostile foreign government has compromised the man they’re going to nominate to be POTUS. “That’s how we know we’re family,” says Speaker Ryan, third in line to the presidency himself.

No one in the room questioned these accusations of Trumpian criminality. No one doubted that they were possible. And no one insisted they they should — per their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution — call the FBI to warn them. The total amount of integrity in that room by the time the conversation finished? Absolute zero.

Has anyone in the news media gone back to revisit these shocking accusations — and the even more shocking acceptance of them? To be fair, yeah — a few intrepid reporters have questioned Kevin McCarthy about “There’s two people I think Putin pays”. Kevin insisted he was just joking — and that (as always) ends the discussion even though it’s demonstrable that Kevin McCarthy (like Donald Trump) has no sense of humor. Bullies, as an absolute rule, NEVER have a sense of humor. It’s part of why they’re bullies. Oh, sure — bullies can laugh. But bullies (think Donald Trump) never laugh with others (except other bullies), they always laugh AT others. See the difference?

Since then, Kevin’s reported-upon statement has sat in the Trump-Russia evidence room, gathering dust. That’s a reflection of our news media’s integrity or lack thereof.

I’m old enough to remember how connecting Trump to Russia only ever got you rolling eyes in response. Same goes for describing Trump and the GOP as authoritarians and fascists. As we stand here today, those who correctly spotted the GOP’s authoritarian and fascist leanings were right: they still have their integrity on the subject. Those who shrugged off what the Republicans were/are doing? I’m not sure I’d ask their advice on a lunch order any more. I wouldn’t trust their taste as I wouldn’t trust they were telling me the truth. It’s not just Republicans whose integrity has been destroyed by Trumpism. Silence in the face of this attack is tacit complicity.

Anyone complicit in this coup d’etat blew up their integrity a long time ago.

When Trump openly told his four underlings NOT to cooperate with the January 6 Truth Commission, he openly committed a crime. Citizen Trump doesn’t have the authority President Trump had to say such a thing without criminal liability. It’s not a question whether or not Trump did this thing — he deliberately broadcast it as part of his strategy. That doesn’t legitimize it. It should, instead, make prosecuting this bloated orange pirate a thousand times easier. But, that would demand that our news media stop reporting Trump as a politician and start reporting him as what he is: a stone cold criminal in the middle of a treasonous crime spree.

I wish it were possible to buy our news media some integrity. Hell, they need it so desperately, I’d even steal it for them.

Being Republican Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Anyone’s who’s ever raised a child knows what can happen when a five year old gets crazy belligerent. Trying to reason with them is pointless on steroids. They act and argue like five year old’s because that’s what they are. Republicans can’t claim the same excuse though that doesn’t stop them from arguing like five year old’s anyway. It’s how five year old’s think. Especially five year old boys. That doesn’t get any better with age. By the time they’re ten, they understand control of their lives this way: “Are YOU the ‘boss’ of me?” Or, as it’s stated in context, usually with lower lip thrust forward, “You’re not the boss of me!” That’s something they’d never say to a parent because their parents ARE the boss of them. So’s their boss and anyone above them in the pecking order as they perceive it. Someone with more money, a better car, hotter arm candy — those people are the boss of every sniveling Republican.

The ultimate bottom line for our story — the thing driving all the worst behaviors — is corruption. Ours is a story of what happens when corruption threatens to overwhelm everything good. Republicans want to overturn every election they lose — in other words, toss democracy entirely. Oh, sure, we can have mock elections that look like the real thing, but the outcomes would always be pre-determined with whole blocks of voters simply dropped from the system because they’re not white and won’t vote for Republicans. One does not gerrymander voting districts or suppress Democratic voters because you believe in your cause. You do it because you’re a criminal intent on circumventing the will of the people.

Part of our problem here is that, all along, Republicans have helped us define what “normal” is or what “acceptable corruption” is. It’s remarkable what white people get away with compared to everyone else. Lanisha Bratcher was on parole in North Carolina when she voted in 2016, unaware that she was ineligible because she was still on probation. Her vote never counted anyway. A Black woman, Lanisha faces two felonies and years in prison. Crystal Mason (also Black) faces five years in prison if her appeal loses for voting in Texas, also while under probation. In fact, the kind of voting fraud Republicans rail about is extremely rare while Republican voting fraud goes on like a bad habit. Republican election fraud actually changes election outcomes.

There’s not a single issue facing America where the Republicans stand upon sound logic and reasoning — or legal logic and reasoning. Not on voting, not on the economy, not on climate change, not on Russia’s takeover of our country which the January 6 insurrection was very much a part of. Considering how deep Russia’s tentacles run throughout the Trump White House, it would beggar belief that that Russia played zero part in this particularly war-like action. It is a simple fact of life that Russia helped make the insurrection happen. Perhaps some of their money paid for it. If I’m right in any way, shape or form, that means the insurrection isn’t just sorta, kinda treasonous, it’s one hundred percent treasonous.

Well played, Republicans!

The point of this disgusting exercise is permanent minority rule — a thing for which Republicans feel no need to apologize. They want US to apologize to them for being here in America and for not being them. They will never say “Sorry for racism — building an economy on stolen labor and destroyed lives was no way to build a country.” They will never say “We apologize deeply for the whole offensive idea of “manifest destiny”; seriously, how could grown adults with even a lick of perspective have gone along with that horse shit? Ah, but when you’re invented god tells you you’re entitled to anything you want — cos God says so — that’s not really God smiling on you, that’s you smiling on you and calling it “God”. Which means it’s you speaking as God.

As I’ve written here, monotheism is damned dangerous. Republicans prove the point. Monotheistic gods, being “perfect” and “divine”, don’t make mistakes and if they do, their mistakes aren’t mistakes. They make up rules as they go along and change them on the fly just because they can. They get to make up prophecies that justify their continuing hold. When a believer thinks God — a powerful deity who, the mythology says, created everything — speaks to them or that they (better than others) understand what this fundamental universal force wants, it’s not just because they’re “special”. Oh, they are “special” but it’s not because this God character speaks to and through them. It’s because, if you peel off the “lives in the clouds” window dressing, the “God” you arrive at is them.

It galls white people more than they can bear to watch 3oo years of white hegemony finally slip away as it should have long ago. There never should have been any sort of white hegemony on this continent. If not for the success of our pathogens (much more than the success of our guns and steel), white people may have never gotten much more than a toehold in the Americas. A trading hub.

Thinking you’re God is a massively corrupt way to think but plenty of people do it. To think your hold on America is justified simply because white people came up with a good idea that they executed poorly is, well, soooooo “white people”.

Republicans feel entitled to undermine the rule of law in service of themselves. They feel entitled to run America. That’s what “originalism” really is — a statement of white entitlement.

Frankly, I’d prefer it if not a single Republican ever apologizes or takes real and true ownership of their diabolical behavior. That way, when we get to the punishment phase, we can throw the book at them, hard. The fact is, Republicans feel entitled to do whatever they need to to hold onto power. They’ve always felt that way. That’s why they never apologize for anything and why the press never asks or expects them to apologize. Because Republican entitlement is baked into our architecture.

At The End Of The Day, This Is A Story About Treason

The Republican Party is no longer behaving like a political party; they’re behaving like criminals with a political purpose: permanent minority rule. Make no mistake, the white people behind this are an extreme minority of white people but they are attempting to cage a diverse and woke majority. This will fail — and fail horribly for the perps — because they’ve crossed so many lines to get us here to this moment of crisis. What Texas Republicans just did to Roe v Wade — and every woman in America — crossed a thousand lines all in one fell swoop. Whatever else happens in 2022, Democratic engagement will not disengage or let up; you can’t TAKE AWAY rights (especially when you do it so dishonestly) and get away with it. You just can’t; America’s women simply won’t let the GOP do it to them. And, we have to remember: the entire abortion argument itself is a cynical repurposing of racism (just like the Republican Party’s perverse engagement with Russia — going back to before Trump was even nominated — was a cynical decision to collaborate with our literal enemy — during war time — in order to seize power). None of that is hyperbole. It all actually happened — is happening still.

The Republican Party stands outside the law now — defiantly — because they know the truth will NOT set them free. The Truth — once the American People learn it — will send almost the entire Republican Party to federal prison. That’s not hyperbole either — at least it shouldn’t be. Any country that allows insurrectionists, seditionists or traitors to get away with it won’t be a country for very much longer. If we don’t punish people bent on destroying our democracy, we are telling those people “better luck next time”; and we’ve guaranteed there will be a next time. One could argue that one of the reasons a Donald Trump could happen is because we never punished Richard Nixon. Sure, we punished many of those around him, but we never punished “Nixonism” — that particularly vile Republican belief that “if the president does it, it’s not illegal”.

That was the takeaway for Nixonians Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater. Because Nixon “got away with it” (having to quit was not a punishment, it was a requirement), it invited the low level perps to begin plotting anew.

Conservatism in America is tied to whiteness because that’s what white conservatives want to conserve — America’s “whiteness”. America, as I’ve written before, remains a great idea poorly executed. Either “All men are created equal” actually means “everybody is created equal under the law” or we’re doing it wrong. The reason conservatives love originalism is because originalism wants us to believe that we should understand “All men are created equal” only the way the “founding fathers” understood it. Pretty convenient, huh?

The Southern states built their entire economy on the back of slave labor. Slave labor, above all, is STOLEN labor. While plantation owners had to bear the cost of housing, feeding and clothing their slaves (the cost of doing slave business), obviously that cost pennies compared to paying agricultural labor a fair wage. That, really, is the south’s argument. They couldn’t have existed economically without stolen labor. Slavery fed into the bullshit notion that “All men are created equal” meant only white men. It was a kind of bookkeeping trick to call slaves three-fifths of a man; it also deliberately undermined their humanity. It’s much easier to buy and sell human beings when you don’t see them as human.

At some point, as the Reagan years waned, the right wing money saw the demographic handwriting on the wall. America was diversifying more rapidly than white people were making white babies. While white people were reliable Republican voters, the same couldn’t be said of most non-whites. Democracy, ultimately, is a numbers game. The majority gets its way — except when they don’t. That’s what Republicans figured out as a survival instinct. The current GOP — though they share a name with The Party Of Lincoln, aren’t that party. I refer you to Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party” to set you straight on that. Nixon cemented the swap when he incorporated the Dixiecrats into the Republican Party as his “southern strategy”. The Dixiecrats were all racist southern Democrats — leftovers from a Democratic Party that opposed Lincoln. In point of fact, in terms of their stated ideals, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have completely swapped names and places since Lincoln was POTUS.

When Teddy Roosevelt left the Republican Party, all vestiges of progressivism went with him. The GOP quickly became the party of big business instead of big ideas. The extreme corruption of a Warren Harding erupted like Teapot Dome oil, spattering everything with its rot. That preference for profits over people persists because profits equal power.

Newt Gingrich understood that the majority of Americans were evolving into a more cohesive, diverse nation. He couldn’t tolerate that because of the political and power implications and so declared a culture war aimed at “the left”. If you consider that when more Americans vote they vote against Republicans? Newt really directed his culture war at the majority of Americans (per McKay Coppins in the Atlantic in November 2018) : “For their party to succeed, Gingrich went on, the next generation of Republicans would have to learn to “raise hell,” to stop being so “nice,” to realize that politics was, above all, a cutthroat “war for power”—and to start acting like it.”

“A cutthroat war for power”. Sound horrifyingly familiar? Yeah — the phone call IS coming from inside the house!

We have to ask: what were Republicans willing to do to wage that cutthroat war for power? Were they willing to cheat? Were they willing to lie to the American electorate? Were they willing to commit treason even?

Obviously the answer to all three questions is yes. That’s why we’re here. It started “innocently enough” with mere voter suppression — poll taxes and intimidation to keep Black voters from voting. While both sides have gerrymandered, only the Republicans have needed to as a matter of survival. Gerrymandering’s whole point is to draw district lines in such a way so as to circumvent the will of the majority by giving a minority undue power. In Wisconsin, for example, gerrymandered districts mean “Democrats need to out-perform the GOP by closer to 9 or 10 points statewide to have a good shot at winning an Assembly majority” — even though they are the majority of voters in Wisconsin! When is a majority not a majority? When a minority gets to control them.

As for lying to the American electorate — what else can we call a political party attempting to re-cast an insurrection as a heroic act of patriotism? Sorry, Republicans, but you can sharpie “patriotism” all over what happened on January 6. What happened that day was a massive crime that we’ve only just begun to prosecute (starting at the bottom where every good Rico prosecution should begin).

Allying with Russia — now, that was an innovation. That was the Republican Party thinking “outside the box”. I’m willing to accept that plenty of professional Republicans — Lindsey Graham, for example — were every bit as “anti-Trump” as guys like Lindsey Graham said they were —

And yet, like Lindsey, these anti-Trumpers became the most pro-Trump. In a corrupt environment when you know (from experience) that the Republican-owned electronic voting machine makers can be relied upon for help (in the form of ballot padding), it doesn’t pass the smell test that long-time pros like Lindsey really worry about voters. Lindsey didn’t suddenly become pro-Trump because he suddenly saw the light. If Lindsey saw anything, it was more likely the Kompromat Russia was holding. I do not know for certain if Lindsey has any sexual peccadilloes that a hostile, kompromat-loving foreign power could exploit, but I would bet cash money that Lindsey does and Russia has.

We know — because the Washington Post reported it — that current GOP leader Kevin McCarthy himself KNEW (okay, to be fair, he “suspected”) that Russia had compromised Donald Trump. As he entered a meeting of GOP leadership in June 2016 (a month before the GOP nominated Trump to be POTUS), Kevin said out loud (it was recorded and the Post reporter heard the recording) “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” Strangely, no one in the room reacted with horror. No one said “Whaaaat? Kevin, dude, are you sure about that?” No one called the FBI to voice their concerns.

Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan counseled his fellow Republicans to keep this terrible secret a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family”, is how he put it. I guess by “family, Ryan meant “mafia family”.

While this was happening, Russia was flooding the GOP with money. They used the NRA (and their very talented agent Maria Buttina). They poured money into Republican PACS using various means (including Russian retirees living in America whose monthly benefits from Russia suddenly increased significantly). That money went to Republican candidates. And, as we also know, Russia also was working very hard behind the scenes to undermine America’s faith not just in our democracy but in the truth itself.Let’s add one more element to this mix: the news media’s inability to see, understand or report the true nature of Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP. That happened (is still happening) because the news media — for reasons we’ll have to investigate — refuses to aggregate the Trump story. They refuse to even speak the truth about him which is weird because so much of the truth about Trump is already in the public domain. Remember Fusion GPS — the company that got hired by the Washington Free Beacon’s owners during the 2016 Republican primaries (they were Marco Rubio supporters) — to do oppo research on Trump? When he testified before Congress about how and why Fusion hired Chris Steele to look into Trump’s Russia connections, Fusion’s co-founder Glenn Simpson explained how they began the assignment by doing their due diligence.

Fusion, Simpson testified, got ahold of every piece of publicly available material they could on Trump — newspaper and magazine articles, radio and TV appearances, books and legal documents. What they saw there — in information ANYONE could put together — convinced them that Trump had been laundering Russian mob money in his now bankrupt Atlantic City casinos. THAT was why they hired Steele — he had the best Russian contacts of anyone outside Russia, having run the MI6’s respected Russia desk. Steele’s dossier was raw intel and needed to be understood as such — something far beyond our news media’s capabilities. Still, even that raw intel painted a vivid picture of Russian intelligence planting their hooks deeply into Donald J. Trump.

It’s no wonder the Republicans have obstructed justice every way they could to shield Trump’s relationship with Russia from any real examination. The second any sort of real investigation begins — like the counter intelligence investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia that Rod Rosenstein killed — we see patterns of obstructive behavior exclusively from Republicans. It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way this wind’s blowing. The Republicans may not have started out bent on betraying America, but they did — and they knew, as they were doing it, WHAT they were doing it — and why.

Regardless of what you call it, Russia has been actively engaged with us in cyber war for a long time with a stated intention to undermine liberal democracies — NATO in particular — as a doctrinal goal. This is not make-believe war. People have died. Democratic countries have seen their democracies undermined (which means the war’s objectives are being met). Considering what cyber war costs compared to a bombs n bullets war, Russia is getting way more bang for its buck this way. No wonder they’re waging cyber war (information war, if you like) so vociferously.

Anyone who thinks you need bombs and bullets to win a war any more is going to lose every war they fight going forward into the future. Bombs and bullets aren’t terribly effective anyway against insurgent combatants — as Afghanistan proved. And as to cyber war’s undeclared nature? That’s one of its great advantages — the cyber warrior can wage cyber war against an opponent who doesn’t realize he’s at war. The cyber war’s victim may realize she’s being attacked but — if she doesn’t see the larger war coming at her? That war’s already over and she lost it badly. If Russia were to shut down our electrical grid tomorrow, we’d sue for peace — as the losers.

Treason doesn’t require a state of war. It requires that the traitor attempt to overthrow the government. That is now the Republican Party’s avowed purpose. To overthrow the results of a free and fair election because you don’t like the results (having lost), is an act of treason because elections are the life blood of any democracy. If the people betraying our democracy weren’t white people, we would have criminalized this behavior eons ago.

That’s the final tell. Ours isn’t just a story about treason, it’s about the thing that motivated the treasonous behavior. That, unequivocally, was and is racism.

Our Right To Vote Is A National Security Issue

Winston Churchill put it this way: “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.” It’s damned hard to pull off. Mind you, Churchill spoke those words about democracy sucking immediately after he LOST AN ELECTION. That’s the hard part about democracy — the peaceful transfer of power when opposing politics replace each other. The instinct to refuse and hold onto power runs deep — far deeper than the learned ability to hand power to people we hate because, this time, THEY won the election. That’s the constant challenge to political power — to hear the Will Of The People and to understand it as such. In a democratic republic like ours, political power is supposed to serve our needs, the needs of We The People. We’ve designed a system that, while it bows to the will of the majority, still it protects the minority. That’s what bit Churchill in the ass. The majority will rule. But, on the other hand, while Churchill lost an election, the majority didn’t get to kill him just because he lost. Democracies don’t work that way.

In America however, strangely, the majority doesn’t necessarily rule. In fact, in plenty of places, the majority almost is prohibited from ruling. That’s exactly what gerrymandering is supposed to do. That’s why in states like Wisconsin, Democrats (as they did in 2020) can receive 46% of total votes cast in state Assembly races yet end up with only 38 of 99 seats after winning two new districts. That’s a massive under-representation. It gets worse in Wisconsin’s senate. There, in 2020, Democratic candidates secured about 47% of total votes, but only picked up 38% of the seats on the ballot and now control only 12 of 33 seats. The sense of futility this creates causes voters to stay home come election time — very much the point of the exercise. Permanent minority rule doesn’t happen all by itself, ya know.

The whole reason we’re experiencing this crisis in America is because white people refuse to share power with others. The right wing money saw a generation ago that a diversifying America would spell the end of white hegemony. The more political power and money flowed into non-white hands, the sooner those non-white hands would expect power and money — not for themselves but as part of the commonweal. What scared the crap out of rich, white, Christian America was the idea that Black, brown, Asian, female, LGBTQ Americans would step onto a level playing field each day. White America has always believed — wrongly — that life is a zero sum game. If some non-white person is getting something, that’s because something therefore is being taken away from a white person. Those thinking this false premise can’t imagine a rising tide floating all boats because they’re so deep into every man (like them) being entirely for themselves.

Republicans launched an all out assault on our right to vote because, they know, that’s where our power lies and where THE power lies. In the vote. If the Republican money thought they could have done this any differently — if they could have taken shortcuts — they absolutely would have. It’s democracy that’s caused them to take the long road to their authoritarian dream state. Consider how incredibly short-sighted the Republicans and conservatives are being (not exactly a rare occurrence). What do Republicans think they’ll ultimately accomplish AFTER they’ve fully broken our democracy?

Have they considered that this will finish off what’s left of the middle class? If Republicans could finish up this wet dream of theirs and actually accomplish a state of permanent minority rule, here are a few things that would happen: America would break apart. The dynamic parts of the country (the blue states) have zero desire to hobbled (as they have been all along) by red states who couldn’t invent a fart if their lives depended on it. Take away our representation and feelings of “no taxation without representation” will erupt. You know damned well that permanent minority rule will benefit the rich guys to the detriment of everyone else.

Our allies were all thrilled to have Joe Biden in the White House. For starters, he’s not a traitor. Every single country but ours is hip to the fact that a Russian intelligence asset has been sitting in the Oval Office, doing Russia’s bidding. As the DoJ prosecutes more and more of the January 6 insurrectionists, they’ll penetrate the veil separating the foot soldiers from the inside planners. Never mind what happened on January 6, what happened on January third, fourth and fifth? That’s when the planning happened. That’s when the planning meetings took place at Trump’s hotel near the White House and INSIDE the White House. Planning, you say? Inside the White House… Hmmmmm… wouldn’t that make this whole thing a conspiracy — and an inside job at that?

Our allies rely on our constancy. It’s hard to make alliances with a schizophrenic whose dominant personality right now denies the existence of any other personalities. The whole world now knows better. And the whole world can see the Republican Party doing everything it can to make America a one-party state: theirs.

The rest of the world relies on a dynamic, democratic America. The America that would result from the GOP and Trump getting their way is not an America anyone in the world wants to see except Putin, China, Kim Jong-On and Rudy Giuliani. They do not want to witness the Republican Party stabbing the rest of America in the back. They do not want the America that the Republican Party would shove down America’s throat.

Finally, let’s remember WHO is behind this assault on America’s right to vote — a hostile foreign government that has openly declared cyber war against us. Cyber war IS war. Anyone thinking you need bombs or bullets to win wars anymore is going to lose every war they ever engage in going forward. If Russia were to shut down our power grid today, we’d sue for peace tomorrow if not sooner. Russia especially sees our right to vote as a threat.

Americans, understand, are not themselves asking “should our democracy continue?” For the majority of us, it isn’t a question. It’s only a question to those who can’t make democracy work for them. Perhaps if the GOP emerged from their rabbit hole they’d have better luck winning elections on the strength of their ideas. Or not. Regardless of whether they’re in or out of any particular rabbit hole, their ideas just plain suck.

Our right to vote is a lot of things all at one time. We need to celebrate that fact — and bake it deep into the architecture. More important, we need to protect it way better than we have. And we need to see clearly that what the Republicans are doing to our democracy now isn’t political in nature, it’s criminal (for a political purpose). Their assault on our voting rights isn’t them expressing a political opinion about how America should be. It’s a mugging. An act of rape. Murder in the first degree.

And treason.

Is our right to vote a matter of national security? You’re damned right it is!

The Bottom Line Will Always Be “Because Russia Made Us Do It”

Simple fact: any analysis of Donald Trump, the Republican Party and anything that’s happened to America between 2016 and today that doesn’t factor in Russia’s direct involvement in MAKING Trump POTUS is 100% masturbatory. Personally, I have better things to do than watch or listen to that. But for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have been president. Russia didn’t just “interfere with” or “attempt to interfere with” our election. They flat out INTERFERED with it. The moment any sort of interference whatsoever stepped onto the playing field, the whole game changed as it had to. Foreign countries simply are not allowed to do what Russia did. It is literally AGAINST THE LAW. That we still haven’t prosecuted anyone for this is a testament to the GOP’s terrifying success at normalizing treason.

Make no mistake: everything about Donald Trump’s presidency, how he got there, what the Republicans did every step of the way is steeped in treason. Trump repeatedly did things that were as treasonous at their core as they appeared on the surface. Everything about his relationship with Vlad Putin must be scrutinized. The Republicans knew even before they nominated Trump that Russia OWNED him. They said so out loud. On June 15, 2016 — a month or so before the GOP nominated Trump, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a meeting of GOP leaders: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room disputed Kevin. Quite the contrary. Everyone present agreed to do what then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan suggested — that they keep that terrible secret “in the family”.

From that moment forward, while the entire GOP did everything humanly possible to obstruct every single investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia, Trump and most Republicans deepened their connections to Russia, making Russia’s success here THEIR success and their success Russia’s success. The Republicans know what they did is wrong, illegal and fraught with very real legal jeopardy. They know that a treason conviction carries the possibility of capital punishment. They know for a fact that what THEY did, what they’re still doing, is TREASON. That’s why they’ll do anything to stop the truth from getting out into the sunshine.

The Republican base doesn’t care what happens to American democracy. They’re one goal here is permanent minority rule. To them, Russia is like a white knight coming to rescue them. Literally — a knight who’s main attribute is his whiteness. They are happy to ignore the fact that Russia has been plotting to undermine our democracy forever (though it wasn’t that long ago when Republicans were the loudest anti-Russian voices) because our democracy has been their problem since the country’s founding. Keep in mind — what we call “Republicans” today used to go by other names in the past. The current GOP is NOT the “Party of Lincoln”. This version of Republicans began when Nixon pushed his Southern Strategy and finally got the Southern Democrats to finally come out of the closet as Republicans.

The Right Wing money — the Kochs, the Mercers — saw a generation ago that conservatism was headed for demographic extinction. The more diverse America becomes, the less political power white people will have. To white people, sharing power equals losing power. They’re not interested. They’d rather just seize power altogether and drive the bus cliffward from there. Permanent minority rule may condemn America to a future of mediocrity and decline but Republicans don’t care. So long as their bank accounts are fat, they’re good to go.

The good news is that Merrick Garland’s DoJ (and justice will always creep compared to corruption; it has little choice if it wants to maintain its integrity) is well down the road to prosecuting January 6 perps from both inside and outside Congress. They’ve already flipped lots of insurrectionists. There will be a paradigm shift when the very first sitting Congressperson suddenly has an indictment drop on their head. The very real threat of very real legal jeopardy will, of necessity, change the conversation. Those corrupt, treasonous, Republican Congressmembers will learn as the actual insurrectionists already have: defending yourself against federal charges is really, really expensive. Lose your house expensive. Bankrupt your whole family for a generation expensive.

When that fact thuds home, each and every perp will start looking for a deal. Except there won’t be any more deals.

Suddenly the rats will realize they’re all in it by themselves. The other rats have already flipped and scored all the best deals. Only confession will be left to the stragglers. And the deal will be “you confess. Or else”.

The Republicans don’t fear their base deserting them. They fear their base turning on them. Alas, as Republicans are about to learn, when you build a Frankenstein’s Monster out of spare parts, the parts don’t always do what you expect them to. The parts can have minds of their own. And, though the Republican base won’t care if the politicians repping them do the right thing, they will care deeply when/if the dots connect multiple instances of Republican behavior before and during January 6 to acts of outright treason.

Considering how deeply involved Russia was in every other part of Trump’s White House, does it really pass the smell test that where the January 6 insurrection is concerned, Russia had zero involvement? Considering how much Russia had at stake and the toothlessness of the responses to all its prior actions, it would stretch credulity to imagine Russia had no part in the January 6 Insurrection. Russia was absolutely a player playing.

And Trump and the Republicans were happy to let Trump and Putin play them.

How The Hell Did America Normalize Treason?

So, last night, I attended a fundraiser for Representative Adam Schiff at a friend’s home. Representative Schiff was awesome. He’s great in a room, as we know, and he did not disappoint last night. His message — geared toward fundraising for the 2022 election campaign — was hopeful but realistic. These are extraordinary times — and not in a good way. It will require extraordinary effort to get through this, a thing Rep Schiff believes firmly we can and will do. After Schiff finished speaking, he took questions for about twenty minutes. That’s when I realized how bad things are. Adam Schiff is doing his job and doing it well all things considered. We The People — the other side of the equation at the fundraiser — are failing miserably.

There was considerable money at this fundraiser; the buy in at the top was thousands and thousands of dollars. Even the cheap seats weren’t cheap. Also there was brain power there. Cal Tech was physically nearby. A few Cal Tech-ers were in (outside actually) the house. The questions were all smart, detailed and thoughtful. Great! But none of the questions seemed to grasp the most fundamental question facing America right this second: the outright criminal behavior of the entire Republican Party as they openly attempt to not only subvert democracy but end it.

Think about this — the Republican Party as a whole is actively engaged in various activities (legislating, propagandizing, co-conspiring to obstruct justice) that are, on their face, illegal. Their attempts to curtail voting aren’t just some “opinion” they have about our system of government, it’s an active attempt to deny millions of Americans their RIGHT TO VOTE. That is a violation of their civil rights. In fact, because these laws can’t differentiate between who they’re disenfranchising, these regressive, racist laws therefore have the potential to deny EVERY voter their right to vote. Every one of these “you can vote this way but you can’t vote that way” laws is really demanding that non-white voters guess h ow many imaginary jelly beans are in the imaginary jar inside every Republican’s head. A poll tax is a poll tax is a poll tax.

Hell, normalizing racism is what this country does better than anyone. Our founders may have written “All men are created equal” but most of them did not believe that. Never mind. We’re all here to fix those mistakes. And they are mistakes that demand fixing. Our news media still haven’t figured out that the LAST person you should ever ask “Are you racist?” is a racist. Unless they’re really hard core, they’ll insist that not only aren’t they racist, they’re probably the least racist person they know. That’s exactly how racists think. It’s why the racist is the LAST person you should ever ask “Are you racist?” The only person who really knows that truth? The racist’s victim.

While our system insists that everyone gets their day in court before being convicted, not every crime gets that kind of daylight shined on it. That’s part of our problem — the prevalence of terrible behavior coming from one particular part of the political class. The Republicans have abandoned any and all pretense that they’re into continuing American democracy as it has always been. The GOP’s intent is clear. Unable to win elections on the strength of their ideas, instead they’ve resorted to gerrymandering, voter suppression and outright treason as a means to win and keep winning elections. The whole point of taking power from elected officials and giving it to private actors is to benefit a few individuals over the commonweal.

We have already accepted massive amounts of corruption into our hard costs. There’s a flaw in our thinking that opens that door. It’s the flaw I saw on display last night at the Adam Schiff fundraiser: tacit acceptance of the corrupt status quo. We The People have allowed Republicans to operate corruptly for so long that the Republicans think that corruption is their entitlement. They still think slavery was their entitlement and they’re still insanely angry that we ever freed the slaves. Or, far worse, let them vote.

I marvel at the remarkable grace Black Americans maintain despite how horribly America has always treated them. It’s like this community — in the face of its relentless oppression — saw the inherent rightness of the democratic ideal and committed to doing everything in its power to make it happen no matter how long it took and despite endless white resistance. Those who must constantly fight to keep their rights have a whole different view of their rights than, say, an aggrieved white guy who takes his rights for granted. Hell, white people think they have rights they don’t in fact have. But, when you’ve been the dominant culture forever, when you’ve always been favored, always gotten first dibs on anything of value, always benefitted regardless of what happened to anyone else, you’re apt to assume a kind of “I can do whatever the hell I want!” kind of ‘tude.

How did America normalize treason? That’s how. White guys did it to protect their hold on power. They allied with a hostile foreign power to do it, knowing that they were all now compromised. On June 15, 2016, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of GOP muckety-mucks. The meeting was recorded on audio tape and the tape was played — a year later — for a Washington Post reporter who printed a whole transcript of the conversation. As he enters, Kevin says out loud “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump! Swear to God!” Kevin added the “Swear to God” in the face of nervous laughter.

No one in the room suddenly regarded Kevin like he had three heads. No one asked whether Trump would really do such a terrible thing or if he’d already had done it. No one behaved as if an important member of their hierarchy had just told them that their likely nominee to be POTUS was a flat out traitor — compromised by a foreign government we KNEW wanted to undermine us. No one said “Holy shit, Kevin — let’s get the FBI on the phone! This sounds like it could be really, really bad!” Instead, then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (third in line to the presidency) put an end to the conversation, insisting that the subject would not be discussed outside that room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” is how Ryan put it. Literally.

Right there, that room normalized treason. To them, a POTUS guilty of treason was not a problem. That made them ALL guilty of treason. That makes everyone who’s heard this story (on the inside) and did nothing about it is aiding and abetting traitors. That’s not hyperbole, it’s fact. Want to know what the strange hold Trump has over the GOP? That’s it. That’s the hold — even bigger than the fear of being primaried out of a job by a Trumpanista. Getting primaried means losing your job. Being prosecuted for treason? That could get you hung. Literally as capital punishment is still one of the ways America handles those who betray it the way Donald Trump and the entire Republican Party has betrayed America.

For all four years of Trump’s presidency, the GOP obstructed any attempt to investigate Trump’s odd relationship with Russia. That wasn’t just to protect their hold on power (the move they’re making now). That was to deny America the stone cold truth that but for Russia Donald Trump would NEVER have been POTUS. And, but for the Republican Party, that secret would already be prosecuted.

White America’s refusal to share power with non-white Americans lies at the heart of this catastrophe. The hard right was money was so determined to hold onto power that they willingly and knowingly cast their lot in with Russia to get Trump over the finish line. And, once they’d gotten him there — knowing that Russia was instrumental in MAKING Trump POTUS — they refused to divulge that secret because of the consequences that would surely befall them. The Republican Party isn’t just the Trump Party, it’s the Treason Party.

White corruption has been deeply entrenched since the country’s founding. How else can one see the statement “All men are created equal” being made by a country that also legalizes slavery? Great idea, too bad the execution was so awful; hey — leave it to all the non-white people to get the concept right! That’s what needs to happen here. White men need to take a back seat for the time being. They need to let everyone else take over the helm for the foreseeable future. That’s not to say that everyone else will absolutely get governing a democracy right, but it isn’t possible to screw up this amazing experiment in human self-government any more than the white men have. Really and truly, no one could do worse. Anything else would be a verifiable improvement.

The GOP’s partner in crime remains the news media — at least those who drank the “both sides do it” kool aid. Both sides do not and have never conspired with foreign enemies to take over the government after an election as the Republican Party is now doing. We have to assume that everything comes with Russia’s stamp of approval. Let’s be real — even if the Republicans succeeded in turning America from a democracy into an autocracy, Vlad Putin will expect his due. From each and every one of them.

Like the traitors they are and always will be.

Kevin McCarthy & How Bullsh*t Metastasizes

The Republican Party is a case study of what happens when bullshit is given credence. Here’s current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy explaining at a news conference today why Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rejecting Trump’s nutsack warmer Jim Jordan and professional seditionist Jim Banks is tantamount to destroying the Institution Of The House Of Representative. Fact: Kevin McCarthy hasn’t an honest bone in his body. Not an honest atom in fact. Even the space between the atoms of Kevin McCarthy’s body lacks integrity. But then, Kevin has ALWAYS known that Donald Trump was a traitor. A month before the GOP nominated Trump to bear their standard in 2016, Kevin walked into a room of GOP leaders in Washington, DC and said — out loud (it was recorded and played later for reporters)“There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump. Swear to God!” Kevin said “Swear to God” in response to the nervous laughter that broke out in the room.

Think about this. A month BEFORE they nominate Trump, the GOP leadership has a conversation about the fact that Trump “could be” taking money from a hostile foreign government who everyone in that room KNOWS means us no good in the long run. If this was true — if Kevin’s suspicion was confirmed — it would mean disaster for America because a person running for president wasn’t what he said he was. You would think something like your presidential candidate being owned by Russia would set off the alarm bells. Kevin certainly was alarmed when he walked into the room.

But no one else in the room seemed surprised. No one said “Whaaaaat? Kevin — dude — are you SURE about that? Are you SURE our presidential nominee has been compromised like that?” There was nervous laughter instead. The few times McCarthy HAS been asked about this episode, he’s insisted (as Trumpanistas always do) that it was all just a “joke” and not a very good one. Wow. Those Trumpanistas are remarkably consistent when it comes to failing at comedy. I guess it’s just one more way all Trump World tries to be like Trump.

The correct response in that roomful of Republicans that Kevin walked into back in 2016 would have been to pick up the phone right then and there and call the FBI. That they didn’t is bullshit (worse, it’s treason!). That Kevin McCarthy insisted he was joking is bullshit. That no reporter since then has asked Kevin about this odd moment — that’s bullshit. That journalists actually think a traitor like Kevin McCarthy could become Speaker Of The House despite everything the press knows about him — and it’s impossible since January 6 to think of Kevin as being anything other than a fellow traveler among insurrectionists — is oppressive.

Kevin McCarthy is a case study in what happens when bullshit metastasizes — in Kevin’s case, he went from thinking “Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump” (making Kevin a co-conspirator to commit treason) into being one of treason’s ringleaders.

Anyway — here’s Kevin doing his bullshit kabuki at the presser —

On This Memorial Day: Let’s Consider What Treason Is Doing Before Treason Gives Us More Memorials

I’m old enough to remember when calling someone a “traitor” in public discourse was as frowned upon as invoking Nazis when describing “the other side”. I’m also old enough to remember how — during the early years of Trump’s presidency — people rolled their eyes at you when you tried to connect Donald Trump to Russia or, for an even bigger eyeroll, when you insisted that Trump and the Republican Party not only had to pay for their crimes but were going to. Now, at least, more people are fully on board with the idea that Trump really is a criminal who really does deserve to go to prison and (miracle of miracles!) just actually might. But, right this second, the crime(s) Trump could realistically do time for are 1) state crimes and 2) financial crimes having to do with things Trump and his business did BEFORE he became POTUS. That’s good but it’s not nearly good enough. Trump needs to be fully investigated, tried, convicted and punished for every last crime he perpetrated against and upon We The People. Were this just Trump, our problem would have been solved long ago. THAT is the problem. It isn’t just Trump and never was.

The entire Republican Party can now be accused either of treason or conspiracy to commit treason.

It’s simple: “see something, SAY something; see something, say NOTHING?” We have to ask “why?” WHY say nothing — especially in the face of clear, evident treason? Why protect treason when you should be protecting America? The GOP’s leadership knew at least a month before they nominated Trump in 2016 that Putin owned him. They said so OUT LOUD! Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of GOP leaders a month before the nominating convention and said OUT LOUD: “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room — the whole conversation was recorded and that recording was played for reporters a year later) — either contested McCarthy’s claim or asked how such an outrageous idea got into his head in the first place. In fact, they seem to have understood that it was possible if not likely. Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s concern wasn’t that their about-to-be nominee might be owned by a hostile foreign government, it was that their collective knowledge of that fact needed to remain a secret. “That’s how we know we’re family,” Ryan said.

Committing treason is a Rubicon you can never un-cross. The traitor needs to know it and We The People need to know it. Traitors can never, EVER be trusted ever again. Certainly not with access to political power.

Our news media, utterly incapable of either doing their due diligence or of aggregating the very information they’re reporting into an evolving, cohesive hole, scratch their heads every day as they contemplate the continuing Republican devotion to Donald Trump — who lost them the White House, the House AND the Senate. Trump never came close to winning a popular vote and, as we’ll see soon enough, even his one Electoral College win in 2016 is likely a mirage achieved by a democracy-destroying tag team of Russian propaganda and the Republican-owned and controlled electronic voting machines made by ES&S — the paper trail-less, internet accessible, backdoor vulnerable e-voting machines most of the country uses .

The sequence in 2016 went like this: Rudy Giuliani, the FBI’s Trump-loving NYC bureau and then Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz from Utah make “The Comey Letter” happen. The rogue FBI agents in NYC know there’s a laptop computer with emails on it; they know the emails are copies of “but her emails” they’ve already exploited (though they came to nothing). Their boss, James Comey, has asked them a question: are these NEW “but, her emails” or copies of old that the FBI had already seen? The answer was “old” but the rogue agents in the NYC bureau — under Rudy G’s guiding hand — managed to keep that question alive throughout the summer and into the fall. When they finally replied “We don’t know, let’s pop the top!” it was October. Everything about the Comey letter was bullshit. The point of the exercise was to create a huge moment of doubt at the last moment.

The Comey Letter cost Hillary Clinton significant polling points. She went from a safe lead outside the margin of error to an unsafe lead within the margin of error — especially in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. At the same time, throughout the fall, Russia had been inundating the personal Facebook pages of individual Black Democratic voters with ads insisting that Hillary Clinton was a raging racist on the downlow. How did Russia know to target these very voters? That’s where Paul Manafort comes in.

As we know — he went to prison for it (though he was pardoned) — Manafort handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data for four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Consider that Trump won the EC by winning Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,000 votes. It is flatly against the law, what Manafort did. Considering his motives (he owed Kilimnik’s boss Oleg Deripaska seventeen million dollars and was desperate to pay him back or risk physical violence to his family!), it’s impossible not to see Manafort’s actions as treasonous. That dot connects directly to the “Russia pays Trump” dot.

Not only did the Republican Party know that Trump was a Russian asset, they deliberately covered it up every step of the way. Bill Barr could just as easily have told the truth about what he read in the Mueller Report. Except he never read it because he KNEW what it said: Team Trump and the entire Republican party were all traitors. Instead, Barr lied about Mueller’s work product. He completely misrepresented it. We’ve also learned recently that in addition to quashing the counter-intelligence investigation into Trump begun under the Obama admin, then acting AG Rod Rosenstein lied to Team Mueller when he told them not to wander into a counter-intel investigation because the FBI was doing; he told the FBI not to bother with it because Team Mueller was doing it. In the confusion (and because everyone trusted Rod Rosenstein to be an honest actor), the counter intel investigation never happened — and no one ever asked about it. Until recently.

Treason is behind every terrible thing the Republican Party is doing. Fearing demographic extinction, the RW money (the Kochs, the Mercers etc) hitched their wagons to Russia and Putin. Guys like Steve Bannon — who’s a religious zealot aching for the rapture — saw common purpose with Putin whose Russian nationalism is tied deeply to the Russian Orthodox Church. Republicans saw so much common purpose with Russia that on July 4, 2018 EIGHT Republican Congresspeople (Sens. Richard C. Shelby of AL, Steve Daines (MT), John Hoeven (ND), John Neely Kennedy (LA.), Jerry Moran (KS.), John Thune (SD) and Ron Johnson (WI), plus Rep. Kay Granger (TX.) flew to Moscow for DINNER. On a date when they should have been strutting their patriotic bona fides back home, these eight were being wined and dined by Vladimir Putin. We need to know what marching orders Putin gave them all that night. What did he demand of these useful idiots? What did he threaten them with if they dared deny him?

Our news media goes to work every day, the biggest story of their lifetimes in front of them and yet most of them, though they know the story’s big, can’t get anywhere close to wrapping their minds around it. It’s bigness defies their limited imaginations. As they contemplate all the reasons Republicans might be so crazy loyal to Trump, they’re quite happy to go with “just because”. They apparently believe that Republicans are loyal to Trump “just because” but not because they might all be guilty of conspiracy to commit treason. They don’t have to accept it as the explanation until it passes all journalistic muster but, once it does? They’ll have to accept it.

These same journalists, convinced that “both sides do it”, have also convinced themselves that “bi-partisanship, no matter how you achieve it, is worth more than anything — even if that “bi-partisanship” completely undermines the nation’s integrity. Even if the “bi-partisanship” in question exists everywhere except the Senate chamber. Even if the people the media want Democrats to be bi-partisan with are flat out traitors. For some reason, the news media can report one second how Republicans are trying to undermine democracy by passing vile, anti-democratic new voter suppression laws then demand to know why Democrats aren’t trying hard to “work with” those very same Republicans.

They want to know why Democrats are so reluctant to “bi-partisan” with out-and-out TRAITORS.

Let’s also remember, this Memorial Day, those soldiers who were killed by Afghanis promised cash for shooting American soldiers. That, too, was another Russian instigation.

There is no middle ground here. Either you stand with treason or you stand against it. We know how progressives feel about treason. We also know how conservatives feel about it.

Things You Must Believe If You Want To Be A Practicing Conservative

For the longest time in this country, conservatives presented themselves as America’s perpetual adults in the room. That was the GOP’s wink to America at the end of the 2016 coup d’etat: “Don’t worry your pretty little selves about Donald Trump, America, whenever he tries to go too far, the “adults in the room” will reel him in!” Problem was (and is), the “adults in the room” were corrupt children who’d broken into the liquor cabinet, drained it dry, then set about burning the whole house down to cover up their liquor theft. The Republicans have NEVER been in control of Trump, rather they’ve been in his thrall and at his mercy. You can’t be in business with Trump without being compromised by him. Or stiffed by him. Or abused by him or betrayed by him. None of that is news to conservatives. They’ve always known who Trump was. They’ve always known he was corrupt. Some of them knew he was a traitor, too. And yet, that fact didn’t seem to change anything.

Why would anyone overlook Trump’s terrible, criminal behavior? Obviously, there must be something in it for them. How do you go from “believing” as Lindsey Graham did in 2016, that making Trump their nominee would be the end of the Republican party —

— to believing now (as Lindsey does) that without Trump, there is no Republican Party? That’s quite a swing — if you see only the swing. I have a feeling we’re going to understand exactly what made Lindsey swing like that: kompromat. I bet we’ll hear a story about how, one day, on the golf course (early in their relationship), Trump let Lindsey know what he and Russia had on him — and how hard they were willing to play that information. It must be way more than just embarrassing (surely Lindsey knows that if he’s worried about being outed, no one cares about that anymore). It must be downright criminal what Lindsey was photographed doing. Shame about his distaste for sexual partners with pubic hair.

Does Lindsey really believe it when he insists Trump was a great POTUS? Of course not. Lindsey doesn’t believe IN anything. He’s as cynical as he is crooked — and that’s a lot of crooked. So what does Lindsey or any Republican “believe”?

Being cynical, they assume everyone’s as big a scumbag as they are. Isn’t everyone heartless and greedy? Being white-entitled, they think they ‘re all gods. Heartless, greedy gods aren’t good for anyone who encounters them. Conservatives believe that “how the world was” is far better than how it is now and not even comparable to how might become if Progressives have their way. But, the name “conservative” itself does all the heavy lifting. It tells us clearly and transparently what conservatives want at the end of the day: they want to conserve. Okay — so, WHAT do they want to conserve?

Well, obviously one can’t “conserve” the future since it hasn’t happened. That leaves the present and the past. Conservatives would be perfectly happy if all progress stopped right now and the world was guaranteed that how things are now is how they’ll always be forever and ever. That, after outright living in the past, would be every conservative’s wet dream. What of the past does any conservative want to conserve? That’s the question. It can’t be the equality back then because there wasn’t any. Can it be how women’s rights were? Uh, no — women didn’t have rights either. Can it be because we treated the LGTBQ community better? Good one! Back then, we treated that community even worse! Back then, we used a religious manuscript to justify slavery. More recently the same people used their Bibles to justify anti-miscegenation laws.

The Bible is every conservative’s favorite book though they’ve only ever read it for the “good parts” — the parts that justified their terrible behavior. Most conservatives are also deeply religious — or, at least, they say they’re religious. Most of them are utterly phony. They will insist they believe in a higher power — a God who smiles upon them because they are righteous! Surely, considering their good fortune, God must be smiling upon them — so therefore God likes them! God sees how special they are and communicates that fact to them. And, ya know, God doesn’t do that with everyone. Most people don’t get the “special treatment” from God. But this guy does.

Imagine being so beloved by God — and knowing it! That’s the tell. “Knowing” they’re “loved by God”. Hey, God talks to them and through them, doesn’t He? When things happen, they know what God’s take is without even having to think about it — that’s how well they know God: they even think like him! Don’tcha know? They think like God because they ARE God. That is every uber-theist’s big secret: they don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God.

That’s what every conservative believes in the rock bottomest part of their blacker-than-coal hearts: they are God. They are the supreme power in the universe — and just you wait till all they start using the magic that apparently comes with the title. They will hurt us in ways that haven’t even been invented yet because that’s what Gods do.

That is the thing pretty much every conservative enters believing: in the beginning, there was them. THAT is what they want to “conserve”.

Anyone Who Thinks The Republicans Will Take Back The House Or Senate In 2022 Is An IDIOT!

Our news media keeps proving that conventional wisdom is long on convention but short on wisdom. They also keep proving that most of them suck at storytelling even worse than they suck at journalism. And, make no mistake, the majority of American journalists really aren’t that good at journalism. It’s not entirely their fault. Somewhere along the way, a mentor or a professor or a boss put it into their heads that “both sides do it”. From that point on, whatever talent they had for journalism was screwed. They permanently perverted their sense of perspective. Skewed it & screwed it for good by confusing skepticism (what every journalist should practice) with cynicism — a terrible, dark, judge-y way of thinking that assumes the very worst of people. All people — hence “both sides do it”.

It’s “both sides do it” that caused American journalists to normalize “Mexicans are rapists” — and then “pussy-grabbing” because “But, her emails!”. In hindsight, that decision to follow one lead over the other looks even worse, doesn’t it? Not that in the face of everything that’s happened since, America’s news media got any savvier about Donald Trump. They haven’t. Our news media is remarkably incapable of aggregating any part of the Trump story. If they were capable of aggregating everything we know about Trump into a constantly evolving narrative, Trump would NEVER have become president in the first place. As Fusion GPS did when first hired in 2016 to do oppo research on Trump (for the benefit of Marco Rubio backing The Washington Free Beacon), every member of the press would have done their due diligence so that they fully understood the man they were reporting on. Like Fusion did, the press would have BEGUN its narrative about Trump with Trump already being a Russian mob money-laundering criminal.

Yesterday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson demanded that the Department of Justice release the communications behind Bill Barr’s false assertions that the Mueller Report cleared Donald Trump of wrongdoing — the basis for the Bill Barr DoJ to NOT indict Trump. Apparently (shocking!) there WAS NO “communications”, there was a foregone conclusion that the evidence in the Mueller Report be damned, Bill Barr’s DoJ was NOT going to follow the law and indict Donald Trump. Remember — the Mueller Report itself represents a teeny-tiny tranche of the full Trump Treason Pie. What Bill Barr was covering up was both Obstruction of Justice and insufficient evidence to prosecute Trump for conspiring with Russia BECAUSE OF THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. Why do you think team Trump was working so hard to obstruct justice?

Because “Treason”, of course.

A month before nominating Trump to be their presidential candidate, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting with Republican leadership and said — out loud (it was recorded and the recording was heard by a Washington Post reporter) “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” There was laughter in the room but no shock. But there must have been a degree of concern because then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan felt compelled to rein in any discomfort. No one, Ryan counseled, should speak of the matter outside that room. That, he said (it’s recorded), is “How we know we’re family”. A mafia crime family, more like…

Nothing about the Trump presidency was “normal”. Not a single second of it. And yet — the press worked overtime to normalize the story and Trump no matter how outrageous. To this day, most members of the news media scratch their heads hard enough to carve out a trench in their skulls as they try to figure out why Trump is so chummy with Vladimir Putin. Why, they wonder — like it was the mystery of existence — are the Republicans so friendly toward Russia? In their journalistic way, they’ll consider all the possibilities — well, they’ll consider all the possibilities but one. Giving Trump the benefit of the doubt, they’ll happily assume Trump could be innocent of everything. Being serious journalists, they’ll also assume that maybe Trump could be guilty of some sort of bad behavior (but he insists he’s innocent so, obviously that can’t be the case). They’ll NEVER assume the third choice: Trump is guilty as can be which means, yeah — he’s a rapist and a thief and a racist and an anti-Semite and a traitor.

Donald Trump IS all those things — that’s just what the aggregated story says, all of which the news media itself reported but, apparently, never bothered to read.

Our news media doesn’t know what to do with The Big Lie because “both sides do it” causes them to knee-jerk acceptance of it: if someone says a thing, it must be so because they said it. They confuse someone having a point of view (which even a thief or a rapist has) with having a point (which neither the thief nor the rapist has). There’s no defense for rape and unless we’re talking Jean Valjean stealing bread), there’s no defense for thievery either. Both a rapist and a thief have their “point of view”. That’s not the same as having a “point”. When Trump — as he did last night — insists that Joe Biden’s presidency is “The Big Lie”, he’s not just lying, he’s deliberately speaking utter rubbish. When the news media reports Trump’s assertions without completely contextualizing them first as rubbish, they give bullshit credence. That can never end well for anyone.

Trump WILL BE indicted and prosecuted in Georgia. He WILL be indicted and prosecuted in New York. He WILL be sued successfully by E. Jean Carroll who Trump raped in a Bergdorf’s dressing room in the mid-90’s and then defamed as too ugly to rape.

A direct link will be drawn between the January 6 insurrection, the Trump White House and Donald Trump himself.

And, of course, a direct link is about to be revealed that connects Donald Trump TO Russia and reframes what happened in November 2016 not as a free and fair American election but as a very real coup d’etat carried out by the Republican Party in concert with Russia, the goal being permanent minority rule. The GOP’s relationship with Trump may not have been part of some long-term master plan, but there was a kind of “master plan”; even before Trump’s nomination, Mitch McConnell had done the Koch Brothers bidding and quietly seized control of the judiciary by denying Obama hundreds of lifetime appointments including the SCOTUS seat Merrick Garland should be occupying instead of Neil Gorsuch.

Even now as the GOP eviscerates itself — casting Liz Cheney as an apostate because she won’t spew the Big Lie — they are painting themselves into a corner. Fealty to Trump is about have an even more dire cost than before.

How does one campaign while defending oneself against charges of treason? That will be the GOP’s challenge. That and trying to convince Americans (the majority of whom are finally healthy, back to work (in a booming economy) and happy for the first time in years that instead of the path they’re on, what they REALLY want is more Trumpism. THAT is what the Republican Party is selling — and, to be honest, I’m not sure how one does that — except to the very small clique of hard core Trumpanistas (which, all told, is at most SIXTEEN PERCENT of all Americans).

This is the sliver of corruption that the news media INSISTS will — because it always happens — retake the House and the Senate and dash all of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s dreams.

In order to see how ludicrous a forecast that is, however, one MUST see Republicans for who they really are and Trump for who he really is. You’d have to stop normalizing things that should never be normalized. You’d have to stop thinking “both sides do it” and that everyone, no matter what, is always doing it for “political” reasons. Finally, you’d have to get your cynicism in check.

That might be more than American journalism is capable of right now. While outside the mainstream journalists like Sarah Kendzior and Seth Abrahmson write compellingly because they’ve taken a holistic approach and aggregated the story all along, American journalists — especially the broadcast ones — return diligently every day to a kind of “square one” where everything we’ve learned along the way stops existing; all we know now is what we knew when we set out — nada.

The American news media didn’t see the Blue Wave of 2018. They insisted till they really couldn’t anymore that the 2020 race was close; it wasn’t. Yeah, sure — from an Electoral College pov, it got squeakerish at times. But the EC is slavery voting. It over-represents rural Americans and under-represents the urban majority — same as the Senate. “The Democratic half of the Senate represents 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.” Senate Democrats represent. That’s a huge advantage for the Republicans. Why do you think there are two Dakotas — because there were too many Dakotans for one? Why two Carolinas? Why two Virginias?

To this day — as far as I know — no American journalist has even thought to ask Kevin McCarthy what made him think Putin paid Trump in the first place. If you accept Kevin as an honest actor (when he tells you Liz Cheney needs to go because she won’t pitch The Big Lie), you have no idea who Kevin is. You have no idea who any of the Republicans are or why they’re doing anything. You really don’t know anything. It makes your prognosticism dubious.

Okay, I’ll say it: it makes you an idiot.