At The Core Of Every Story Is The “WHY”? Why Did It Happen? The Trump Story Has A Core “WHY?” Too

At the core of every story is its “WHY?” Why did this thing happen? The story itself may be a detailed recounting of all the “WHAT?” that happened, but without the “WHY?” the “WHAT?” and the “WHO?” and the “HOW?” lacks context. Nobody does anything for no reason or “just because”.

Donald Trump, for instance, doesn’t do things differently (despite what our news media thinks) “because he’s different”. He’s not “different”, he’s corrupt. Extremely corrupt. THAT’S what’s different about Donald Trump — that he’s so staggeringly corrupt. THAT’S the appropriate framing for any story about him. If you don’t start any story about Trump from a square one that includes all that core fact? You’re telling a story about some other Donald Trump.

We still have to ask “WHY?” Why is Donald Trump so corrupt? Why does Trump kowtow to Vladimir Putin? It’s not because he values “closer ties with Russia”. Even if it were true, we still have to ask WHY he wants those closer ties. “Just because I do” is not an answer.

Alas, it is to our news media.

There are great journalists doing great work out there. But their great work is undone daily by the laziness and lack of perspective of “Both Sides Do It” acolytes. These clueless toads with their simple-minded false narratives resist the basic storytelling concept of adding information. If we know more about Trump today than we did yesterday, our storytelling or reporting about Trump today should reflect what we know TODAY, not what we knew yesterday. That’s insane!

But that is literally what the bulk of our news media does. They keep returning to a kind of “Square One” where Trump is just “different” as he ramps up a presidential campaign filled with outrageous, demonstrable lies & open solicitations of assistance from any and all hostile foreign governments.

The press should be digging in their heels. They should be shouting back “Wait, whaaaat?” every time Trump spews lies at them. Kinda like this —

As CBS News WH correspondant Weijia Jiang did the other day — with her colleague CNN’s Kaitlin Collins backing her up, refusing to ask her question until Trump had answered Jiiang’s question first — “no” is the only appropriate response. When two journalists actually stood up to Trump’s bullshit & bullying? He ran. Literally turned tail and ran away.

Now ask “WHY?”

Failure Of Imagination Is A Very Real Thing; We Should Know — It’s KILLING Us

Some of us saw Donald Trump coming. Some of us didn’t. Those who did see it didn’t perform magic. We used our imaginations. We asked ourselves “Hey, what if Donald Trump actually became president — what (do I imagine) would actually happen?”

What we imagined was massive corruption — the merging of Trump’s business with our politics — with our government. That is exactly what happened. We imagined (because we were already mindful of Trump’s bizarre relationship with Russia) Trump betraying us more and more as Vladimir Putin gained more and more access to our Holiest of Holies — our secrets. We didn’t realize that a few other countries (Saudi Arabia especially) also had their hooks in Donald.

We imagined Trump’s corruption destroying the Republican Party — literally driving it into extinction. What happened is far worse. Turned out the GOP was already deeply corrupted by Russia who’d been gaming them for eons through lap dogs like Dana Rohrbacher.

Our news media have been particularly lacking in imagination. They can’t seem to get their Normalcy Bias Blinders off. Though “Mexicans are rapists” should have been the end of Trump’s campaign, our news media let it pass. “Pussy grabbing” had reared its head. Our news media let that pass too. There were “her emails” to worry about.

When those of us on the loony left first shouted “Russia!”, we were told how crazy we were. How “conspiracy theory” we were being regardless of our receipts. That’s the most frustrating thing. The Loony Left brings receipts. We don’t, as a rule, talk out our asses. We let facts, data, reality do the talking instead.

Remember back — before the Democrats re-took the House — when the Republicans ran everything and they were determined to undermine the integrity of the Steele Dossier at all costs? The Senate Judiciary Committee called Glenn Simpson before them in August 2017. Simpson, a former (respected) Wall Street Journal reporter co-founded a company called Fusion GPS. They did research on people. Oppo research. In 2016 Fusion got hired by the pro-Jeb Bush Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Donald J Trump.

Simpson testified that before they began their work, they did their “due diligence” — they got their hands on every single thing they could that had in any way been written about, said about or reported about concerning Donald Trump. They listened to Howard Stern episodes. They went to used book stores. They searched Amazon. They even went to the library. In short, they got their hands on just about everything that had ever been written, said or even thought about regarding Donald John Trump.

What Fusion found — in publicly available material (that is, material every last one of us can get access to and read if we’d only just put ourselves out a little) convinced them that Donald Trump had used his failed Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian Mob Money. That’s why Fusion sought out and then hired Christopher Steele. The former MI6 intelligence officer had run MI6’s Russia desk. It was understood that Steele’s contacts inside Russia were unmatched.

Want to know anything about Russia? Ask Chris Steele to run it down. That’s what Fusion and Glenn Simpson did. To not see Chris Steele in that simple context is to fail in imagination. To see him as nefarious in any way is to fail in imagination. Rather, it’s to have all the wrong kinds of imagination.

Problem solving demands imagination. It will take a staggering amount of imagination to get us out of what the coronavirus has done.

Ironically, it wasn’t “failure of imagination” on Donald Trump’s part that got us into this hyper-mess. It was greed. And treason. And culpability. Trump can’t ever stop being president. The moment he does — and he knows this — he stops being a potus protected from prosecution by the bizarre interpretation of a bizarre DoJ rule originally aimed at stopping Spiro Agnew from pardoning Richard Nixon and becomes “Joe Indictable Citizen”.

Hell — according to the SDNY, Trump’s already “Unindicted Individual #1”. He stops being POTUS? He’s now INDICTED individual #1.

I’m old enough to remember when using the word “treason” in any way to describe Trump or anyone in his White House was like calling them Nazis. Remember when THAT was poo-poo’d? Now we simply ASSUME that they’re all Nazis.

You can’t solve a problem without first admitting you have a problem. It takes no imagination to say “I’m not an alcoholic!” and lots to say “You know, if I think about it, I might have a problem.” It doesn’t mean you have a problem — but until you’re willing to entertain the idea, you can’t do anything about it.

Getting to the other side of the coronavirus will demand a shitload of imagination. Same thing — whole mountain ranges of outside-the-box-thinking will be vital to “fixing” what Donald Trump & his Republican co-conspirators have done to our democratic systems. When people violate the Rule Of Law to win an election, it means — according to the Rule Of Law — they didn’t win. Nothing they took as the “spoils” of victory was actually theirs — including money, legislation & especially judges.

You cannot legitimately nominate judges (to the SCOTUS say) if you do not have the authority to do so. You may think you have the authority. You may pretend you have it. But that authority is vested in We The People. We “give” that authority just like we give the authority to spend our tax dollars. Just as we “giveth”, we can “taketh”.

It was a failure of imagination that kept slavery alive in our Constitution. It’s been an on-going failure of imagination that has kept Donald Trump in power.

Donald Trump’s failure of imagination (he has none of course) to see what a pandemic could do to his political fortunes is now killing thousands of Americans every day.

That’s not hyperbole.

It’s This Simple: Every Single Judge Trump Nominated MUST Be Voided (SCOTUS Included): The Rule Of Law DEMANDS IT

The Rule Of Law is coming back — one way or another. The storyteller in me can’t see a storyline where an extreme (and extremist) minority party like the Republicans forces a state of permanent minority rule on America (and — most importantly — AMERICANS) and gets away with it. We’re way too independent for that. We’re way to diverse to tolerate it (not enough herd uniformity to get enough of us to just “go along” — our very cultures won’t let us do it).

What also mitigates seriously against the GOP getting away with this soft coup d’etat power grab — that’s what election 2016 was actually — is how woke America’s women have become. And that’s women of every color, culture and creed in America. African American voters have always been woke — especially African American women. Their wokeness — their righteous indignation — their unbreakable will to endure in the face of the worst injustice — is flowing out into the collective psyche. Its time has come and it will not sit down again.

The Rule Of Law cannot be compromised. We’ve now learned that lesson the hard way. It simply can’t tolerate us applying the Rule Of Law to some citizens but not others — especially when those others have money. The Rule Of Law must be applied equally. And when people break it, they must all be treated the same — from start to finish. The Rule Of Law says quite explicitly how one can and cannot run for office.

The Rule Of Law spells out what corruption is — and what we MUST do at the least hint of it. If we see election 2016 from the Rule Of Law’s point of view, we do not see a free & fair election. We see massive voter suppression. We see a massive Russian incursion into the election at virtually every level. We see massive amounts of Russian money being poured into Republican campaign coffers — and every kopek of that Russian money comes with strings — or kompromat. We see the Trump campaign working hand in glove with Russia to coordinate the release of damaging stolen emails. We see Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data focused on MN/PA/WI/MI (an illegal act all by itself). Deripaska handed that polling data to the GRU who (skillfully — they really are good at this) turned it into weaponized Facebook ads. Personalized propaganda that showed up on the individual Facebook pages of actual Democratic voters (who the ads knew to go after because of the proprietary polling data) — almost all of them African American. The purpose? Dissuade them from voting by giving them the idea that Hillary Clinton was a closet racist.

That’s voter suppression. It’s illegal. The Rule Of Law says so. It’s not a question of “did the Trump campaign break the law?” Yes. They did. Then the Trump campaign broke more laws — by receiving something of value from Russia (who they aren’t allowed to accept anything of value from PERIOD) — campaign help in the form of advertising consultation & creation. And I bet we can prove — unequivocally — that the Trump campaign & the whole GOP also broke another law — outright election fraud. If one African American voter stayed home because of any of those Facebook ads? That — according to the Rule Of Law — is VOTER FRAUD.

We know for a fact that one vote can change the outcome of an election. The Rule Of Law does not draw a distinction about how close a race was in order to be applied. ANY violation is the same as a thousand violations. If we can prove it happened? Then the punishment phase of the Rule Of Law must be applied.

The Rule Of Law says you cannot violate it in order to win an election. The moment you DO violate the Rule Of Law? Your campaign stops being legitimate. For real. You are no longer a political campaign. From the Rule Of Law’s perspective, you’re now a criminal enterprise — throw in conspiracy if more than one person knows what’s happening. And anyone who even suspects something rotten is afoot? The Rule Of Law says they are OBLIGATED to say something or they, too, must answer to the Rule Of Law.

Russia set out to put Donald Trump in the White House. They set out to compromise the Republicans — and to use their own desire to destroy our democratic system in the name of permanent minority rule for their own purposes. This wasn’t a “plan” the way we might dramatize it in a feature film or TV series. There were — still are — a thousand moving parts. Putin would have been satisfied just causing all the chaos he caused. I wonder if he thought we’d catch how he literally STOLE the outcomes of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (three blue states that Trump “won” — no one’s ever done any official analysis of any machines here — and we know now how very vulnerable just about every internet-connected voting machine is).

We need to press Paul Manafort way harder than we already have. He can tell us just how successful Russia was at flipping those three states red.

The Rule Of Law says we must question every single Republican campaign. Can they prove that Russian money DIDN’T flow to them? Can they explain why they said nothing despite their suspicions? Despite what they heard from other Republicans? For instance — when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan during the 2016 Republican convention “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”, “Ryan swore the Republicans present to secrecy”. The Rule Of Law says both men should have been on the phone to the FBI to report their fears & suspicions & knowledge.

Instead, Ryan swore everyone to secrecy. Why’s that?

This is treason. Very real treason. We know that Putin created a literal DOCTRINE to go after us via our elections. Whether acting as useful idiots or — per what they knew was happening — something more, something darker and more nefarious — the Republican Party — AS A POLITICAL PARTY — committed election fraud, treason & obstruction of justice.

The Rule Of Law says your presidential campaign — hell, EVERY CAMPAIGN YOU’RE RUNNING is no longer LEGAL. You must stop what you’re doing — because you no longer have LEGITIMACY. Your win cannot possibly BE legal anymore — since you clearly achieved it via ILLEGAL means.

That means Donald Trump was never elected legitimately. That means he never legally had the authority vested in him by We The People to do ANYTHING — propose laws, nominate judges, even live in the damned White House. It would be no different from one of us stealing some CEO’s identity and then making executive decisions with legal ramifications for their corporation. How can anyone be bound to the end result of fraud when we know it was fraud?

If a guy steals your car — then sits in it outside your house and honks the horn — he may say “It’s my car now!” as he speeds off, but per the Rule Of Law (and who holds the vehicle’s title — you), that just ain’t true. The car may not be in your possession anymore but it’s legally yours.

That’s how the majority of Americans feel. The car — our Democracy — belongs to us. But Donald Trump, his Russian pal & his Republican gang have hot-wired it, plowed through the garage door and taken the country out for a greedy joy ride toward a cliff. It is no more theirs today than it was before the election.

There’s tons of “paperwork” to back up our claim of ownership here. To back up our claim that a crime — multiple violations of the Rule Of Law — has been committed here.

The Rule Of Law doesn’t care what anyone’s political party is. It doesn’t care what color you are, what faith you believe in or don’t. It doesn’t care how much money you make or whether you vote even. It just cares that we follow it. To the letter.

When we put characters like Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo et al under oath — without the cover of corruption to shield them — we will learn just how pervasive and far-reaching this conspiracy goes. The Koch Brothers knew what they were doing. Same goes for the Mercers. They know what Cambridge Analytica — their damned company! — was doing. Facing demographic extinction, the RW money threw in with Donald Trump and Russia because all their corrupt efforts dove-tailed so nicely together.

The way the Rule Of Law works — if we catch the guy who stole our car? We get our car back. The thief never gets to KEEP what he STOLE.

As Republicans love to bray — “Elections have consequence!” Indeed they do. Stolen elections, we keep learning, have even worse consequences.

The Rule of Law demands we DO something about it.

Quick Reminder — Donald Trump Is No Less A Traitor Just Because He’s Screwing Up Our Coronavirus Response & Killing Americans Via Incompetence

I’m hypomanic — so, living in Trump World where things are always rocketing around at a million miles an hour, going in every which direction, doesn’t feel that different from my normal reality. The News Media wants to believe that Donald Trump lurches from catastrophe to catastrophe as a way to keep the rest of us off balance.

While Trump does live in a constant state of “making it up as he goes along”, he does it less as a deliberate “strategy” than as the only way he knows how to be. Trump’s neither bright nor curious. If not for having a rich daddy, Trump would be living in the dankest part of Queens, running the local operation for some local crime boss. He’s a criminal by nature — and not a very organized one.

The picture that’s emerging of how exactly the coronavirus and Covid-19 erupted across the globe — but with extra explosiveness in parts of America — paints a distinct and clear picture of how corruption plus coronavirus equals catastrophe. Trump’s refusal to actually use the Defense Protection Act to force big companies to support the efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus is not a mystery. It’s Trump using the pandemic to declare war ON America.

While watching the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths skyrocket — numbers skyrocketing BECAUSE of Trump’s actions (and inactions) — it’s vital to remember that Trump does not stop being the corrupt TRAITOR we knew him to be BEFORE coronavirus and Covid-19 took our attention away. Trump’s election fraud in 2016, his continuing obstruction of justice — and the inarguable fact of his ongoing treasonous behavior (in multiple ways) continue apace, unabated.

Even now, Trump’s still firing the watch dogs still in place.

Trump’s got a bottom line — of course he does. He can’t ever stop being president. The moment Trump stops being POTUS, he stops being protected by the silly-assed (and bullshit) DoJ policy (a kind of “rule” but in no way a LAW) that says you can’t indict a sitting POTUS. In the Michael Cohen trial, Trump will automatically go from being “Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1″ to INDICTED Co-conspirator #1” — and that will open the floodgates. In a heartbeat, Trump will become the most sued & prosecuted man in America.

Sociopath that Trump is, he still knows that what he did was illegal. That’s why he keeps it secret and swears everyone else to keep that omerta. Trump knows for a fact that if he ever gets prosecuted — under oath — in a real court of law — he’s screwed. For good.

Trump knows he has nothing to stand on defense-wise. He’s got bullshit and bluster while the prosecution has whole mountain ranges of receipts. What scares Trump most? He knows down deep he could lose everything. Literally every property he owns could be seized. I bet that happens too. I, for one, am going to scream and shout my head off until that DOES become a reality.

While, in my heart of hearts, I would love to see pictures of Donald Trump, homeless, hungry and desperate, living on the street in a cardboard box with a yellow (not gold) “T” scrawled on its side, I’m open-minded enough to be happy with pictures of Trump sitting in his federal prison cell — horrified by what happened to him & horrified because this is the rest of his life.

It’s sooooooooo easy to get distracted in the age of Trump. We need to think of it like staying indoors because of coronavirus. Donald Trump is now and always will be a traitor.

There — I’ve done my “Patriotism Push Ups” for the day.

In The Midst Of The Coronavirus Crisis, A Reminder: Donald Trump & The GOP Are STILL All TRAITORS

I’m old enough to remember how quickly our Main Stream News Media got over their jaw-on-the-floor outrage at Donald Trump’s “Mexicans are rapists” announcement (on Day One of his presidential campaign no less). Yes, they shrugged off Trump’s racism because “Pussy Grabbing” was now part of our political discussion, but by shrugging off one outrage to go be outraged by another, the press established a behavior pattern they haven’t changed since.

After three years of hopping blithely from one Trump-created crisis to another, the American press is now stuck on how poorly Trump is responding to a pandemic he did everything he humanly could to UNprepare us for. They keep waiting for Trump to “pivot” in some fashion. Then, it was toward being “presidential”. Now, it’s toward pulling the trigger on the Defense Production Act which would give Trump the power to order factories to produce the ventilators and masks we need right this second.

Trump won’t do it because Jared Kushner is whispering in his ears (America’s “captains of industry apparently whispering into his) that nationalizing industry would be bad for business — and piss off the captains of industry Trump’s relying on to get re-elected It always comes down to bullshit and self-service in Trump world. It always comes down to corruption.

Despite the fact that for a week now, Trump has gotten up in front of the American People in a time of crisis and lied to us, CNN, MSNBC & big chunks of the news media still insist on broadcasting Trump’s daily coronavirus updates as “news” instead of the “campaign rallies” they actually are. Even as their studio hosts (now broadcasting from their homes mostly) rage at the fusillade of lies, even as every expert with an ounce of actual expertise points at how insanely dangerous Trump is being, even as Trump accuses the reporters spaced around the WH Briefing Room of being liars and haters, the news networks STILL not only broadcast Trump’s lies live, they can’t seem to find it in themselves to stand up FOR EACH OTHER.

Why are they not either 1) demanding that Trump answer questions (and refuse to let him move on without answering) or 2) broadcasting these bullshit sessions on tape delay so that every bit of Trump’s misinformation, disinformation & outright bullshit can be fact checked BEFORE it goes out over the air. Apparently it’s a thing — once bullshit sets in peoples’ minds? It’s damned hard to root it out. That Trump’s approval ratings is up a few ticks reflects the press’s inability to report even the most blatant example of Trump’s inability to carry out his duties — never mind the eight thousand pound gorilla that’s drooling over everything: the fact that Trump is a traitor.

Our crisis has been made exponentially worse BECAUSE Donald Trump is POTUS — and the only reason Trump is POTUS is because Russia MADE him POTUS.

Russia was able to MAKE Trump POTUS because Russia had compromised nearly the entire Republican Party — (illegally) pouring money into their campaign coffers, creating Kompromat on them (think that doesn’t explain Lindsey Graham?) and who knows what else? Trump took a sledgehammer to our government (my bet) in large part at Putin’s instigation. It benefits Putin & only Putin every time America loses the ability to take care of itself and tend to its place in the world — as the counter balance to horrible actors like Vladimir Putin.

Just as Moscow Mitch McConnell hijacked the judicary, Bill Barr hijacked the Department of Justice. The point of the exercise — permanent minority rule.

America is sicker than ever — not just because of the coronavirus but because white power is trying to keep its hooks in us forever.

While compromising with these traitors will, unfortunately, be necessitated by the enormity of the crisis overwhelming us, we must remember: when the Rule Of Law becomes “a thing” again here in America, it will DEMAND that we turn our eye on these here times because illegal behavior of any kind must be prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished.

Trump’s coronavirus betrayals are just extensions of all his Russia betrayals. The bottom line will not change: we are living in war time — not just against the coronavirus — but against Russia. We’ve GOT to keep our eye on that ball despite getting hammered by a nasty pathogen.

We Are About To Enter A Laboratory — Our Lives Are About To Prove That Socialized Democracy Is Better For People Than Crony Capitalism

I can’t help being an optimist — even in the worst of times ( like now).

What’s about to slam into us… I fear we’re not doing it justice. We’re still underselling how hard it’s going to hit us and how.

But that’s where I see silver lining. For starters — we can actually see what having human

Of Course Trump’s Not Prepared To Deal With Coronavirus — He Never Planned To Be President!

Donald Trump & his Republican co-conspirators remind us every day: elections have consequences; stolen elections have even worse ones.

Donald Trump is not now nor has he ever been the legitimate POTUS. Painful as it may be, let’s revisit election night 2016.

What made a shocking night all the more perplexing was that even Trump and his campaign were so utterly surprised by the results — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — and then the Electoral College. 77,000 votes across three states.

Paul Manafort notoriously handed Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data for 4 states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. That act, in and of itself, was illegal — receiving something of value from a foreign interest in an American election. The fact that that foreign interest was Russia — and Russia was actively engaged in a cyber war against us makes this all treason on steroids. No one working with Russia thought “But, hey — Russia just wants what’s best for America”. Even without knowing that Putin literally “had a plan for that” — for infiltrating and undermining us especially via our elections. Their short long-term goal — corrupt and undermine all American elections so as to permanently pervert our democracy. For shits n giggles they pushed Trump.

Enough Americans were so far beyond hope that Trump became viable. Then it came down to gaming the Electoral College. Our system was INVENTED to be gamed — by slavers. There’s no genius in using the EC to subvert the will of the majority. There’s only naked cynicism, corruption and a will to impose permanent minority rule on the majority.

July 21, 2016 – Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. – UNITED District of ColumbiaS – JULY 12: GOP nominee Donald Trump, flanked from left by campaign manager Paul Manafort, and daughter Ivanka Trump, checks the podium early Thursday afternoon in preparation for accepting the GOP nomination to be President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday July 21, 2016. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (Credit Image: © Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press)

The truth is we don’t know yet how profoundly Manafort’s gift impacted the outcomes in PA/WI/MI. We don’t know for a fact how many African American voters were dissuaded by the personalized Facebook ads that turned up on their Facebook pages every day — ads based on that proprietary polling data that was now weaponized into propaganda, misinformation and disinformation.

If the Rule Of Law was back in force, we’d have to draw the line at Zero Tolerance. In other words, if just ONE African American voter stayed home because of what Paul Manafort did? That’s election fraud — right there. As we know, one vote can change an election’s outcome. If we don’t know how many other African American voters were similarly dissuaded from carrying out their right to vote, then we cannot say how much voter fraud occurred other than “it happened”.

The Rule Of Law says it can’t happen. Therefore any and all voter fraud has the same meaning. It’s illegal. Now let’s be real. It wasn’t just one African American voter. It was lots. And those Facebook ads weren’t the only game being played. Let’s be really real: the Trump campaign wasn’t just in bed with Russia, the Trump campaign was Russia’s sex slave — chained to a wall in the Kremlin basement — and loving it.

Lots of people bitched about Michael Wolff and his book “Fire and Fury: Inside Trump’s White House”, but no one’s contradicted what Wolff wrote. Per Newsweek: “A week before the election, Trump was sure he would lose the presidency. But still, according to Wolff’s book, he told Ailes that it was “bigger than I ever dreamed of. I don’t think about losing, because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.”

This is from New York Magazine’s excerpt of Wolff’s book (in their Intelligencer section):

“Not only would Trump not be president, almost everyone in the campaign agreed, he should probably not be. Conveniently, the former conviction meant nobody had to deal with the latter issue.”

It was as simple as THIS —

“Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his own business deals and real-estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why should he? Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.”

Which is why THIS —

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears — and not of joy.

And then THIS —

There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump.

Becoming POTUS was not the point of the exercise. Creating Trump TV & more, bigger, better branding opportunities were.

But, once Trump won — once he realized what Vladimir Putin had done for him — he assumed the mantle of tin pot dictator. That’s tin pot dictator on a very short leash — about the length of that tin pot dictator’s ugly, badly-made, badly-tied tie.

Repeat — no one’s ever contradicted anything Michael Wolff said in his book. Liars denying a thing happened carries zero weight.

Every second that we refuse to put this on the table — own it all right goddamned now because pathogens like coronavirus don’t care about politics. We need full transparency right now. And once transparency begins for coronavirus? There’ll be no stopping it.

Suddenly all the other secrets Trump World has managed to hold onto will begin exploding into the light.

I blogged here about the similarities between HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds” and our current situation — where a lowly pathogen could be the thing to take out a monster we mere Earthlings couldn’t lay a glove on. Even pundits who always get things wrong got this one right: at some point, a crisis will happen that Trump is ill-prepared to deal with.

All Trump’s other chaos has started with Trump and his innate corruption. He’s always been able to moderate the amount of insanity. He’s always been able to switch us to another outrage just as our outrage from the previous nonsense was waning. But, like a natural disaster, Trump can’t control coronavirus.

He got away with botching our response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. After all, Puerto Rico’s off shore. And it’s mostly brown people.

Coronavirus could come for any one of us. We’ll have as much skin in the game as we do coronavirus in our lungs and nasal passages. And if Donald Trump’s ineptitude, incompetence & corruption had anything to do with that (spoiler alert — it DID!), he may yet hold onto his most hard core devotees, but their numbers will be smaller than ever — and shrinking probably because they’re too damned stupid to protect themselves.

Trump may indeed have been able to shoot people on Fifth Avenue and not lose a single voter. He may NOT be able to infect people with coronavirus on Fifth Avenue and get away with that.

Do Americans Love False Narratives More Than They Love Democracy?

We’ve all had a friend — maybe it’s been us — who loved the wrong person too much. Everyone else but that friend could see from every angle how disastrous their love was and was going to be. But that friend persisted. They had created a false narrative inside their heads that love — theirs in particular — would overcome all obstacles and solve all problems.

They were wrong, weren’t they? That’s how false narratives work. You buy, they fail to deliver. But you keep buying regardless…

Elizabeth Warren — it’s pretty much agreed upon — was the best Democratic candidate still running when she dropped out of the race this week. She was the most complete. That’s after running alongside a host of strong women candidates (that does not include Tulsi Gabbard). But, we’re telling ourselves, voters were afraid of Warren’s “electability”. They feared that a woman couldn’t stand up to mean old Donald Trump.

There’s a shit-ton wrong with that. And every last bit of it flows from the fact that it’s a completely false narrative.

FALSE NARRATIVE #1: A WOMAN CANNOT BEAT DONALD TRUMP

Hillary Clinton got – at a minimum – 3 million more popular votes than Donald Trump got. That doesn’t include all the Democratic votes Republican efforts successfully suppressed. It doesn’t include all the Democratic voters (many African American) whose Facebook pages were barraged with weaponized ads created by Russia’s GRU (its Defense Intelligence Agency) based on proprietary polling data Paul Manafort gave Oleg Deripaska. It doesn’t include any possible corruption of voting machines and altered results.

As we’re learning the hard way, connecting a voting machine to the internet is an invitation to that machine getting hacked. And hacking them is simple. The companies who make voting machines are almost entirely “Republican” owned. They have resisted hand-marked paper ballots in favor of electronic voting systems with no possible way to check them for accuracy — while being entirely open to hacking.

A woman has already beaten Donald Trump at the polls. Hillary Clinton, I betcha we realize, was literally ROBBED of her presidency. We The People were robbed of it too. It’s an entirely false narrative to say election 2016 was “free & fair”. It’s an entirely false narrative to say Russia didn’t impact the election’s result.

It’s an entirely false narrative to say Donald Trump is a “legitimate potus”…

FALSE NARRATIVE #2: DONALD TRUMP IS THE LEGITIMATE POTUS

If the Rule Of Law had been fully functional in 2016, Donald Trump would not be president today. The Rule Of Law says pretty explicitly: you are not allowed to ask a foreign power to help you win the presidency. You aren’t allowed to accept help if they offer it. You aren’t allowed to accept foreign money into your campaign coffers.

And you aren’t allowed to conspire wtih a hostile foreign country who’s declared a cyber war on us.

Do any of those things — so says the Rule Of Law — and you cannot be president. Donald Trump & the Republican Party did ALL OF THOSE THINGS to help Trump become POTUS. Recognizing the demographic dead end staring them in the face, the Republican money cynically threw their lot in with Trump & Russia. They saw a direct route to permanent minority rule and they took it.

The Republican money has always known what it was doing — and why. Mitch McConnell knows better than anyone how illegitimate Trump’s presidency is.

Being illegitimate means Trump has never had the actual authority to do anything legitimate POTUSes do — suggest legislation, hire a cabinet, nominate lifetime judges to lifetime seats. Being illegitimate means Trump’s agenda is equally illegitimate — We The People did not vote for it; in fact, we voted for the exact opposite.

Let’s be real — what the Republicans pulled off in 2016 (with Russia’s direct assistance) was a soft coup d’etat. They deliberately conspired to change the outcome of the election for their own political benefit — never mind that their benefit and agenda were the diametric opposite of what The American Electorate actually voted for.

The Republican Party has busted a cap in the Rule Of Law’s head. They aren’t just ignoring it, they’re pissing on the corpse just to be assholes.

FALSE NARRATIVE #3: THERE’S NOTHING WE CAN DO TO STOP WHAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING

This is the craziest part of the false narrative — the normalization of illegal, immoral behavior to such an extent that we believe it IS the new normal. For starters, regular Americans would have a better shot at standing up to the Trumpian false narrative if the damned news media would stand up to it.

Ordinary people like us don’t have any sort of megaphone beyond social media and blogs like this. We don’t invent the narrative and we certainly don’t broadcast it. If the news media had added information about Donald Trump instead of returning every day to a kind of “square one” where they shrug off the latest Trumpian outrages as a new “new normal”. We should have been at “hair on fire” status on the day Trump both took his oath of office and blatantly violated it at the very same instant.

That wasn’t a good sign.

But our press sold us a false narrative: this is normal now. This is how it is. Get used to it…

America’s always had a thing for false narratives. Think of all the wacky, new-fangled religions that have been invented in America, by Americans. Mormonism & Scientology both demand that their believers buy into some pretty ridiculous stuff. That’s how all religion works. Want to be in the club? Here’s the list of false narratives you need to accept first.

Americans are perfectly happy to vote for a woman as POTUS. We’ve already done it. It’s a false narrative to say that we haven’t.

Dear Pundit Class — You Don’t Get Why Bernie Is Succeeding Because You Still Think Everything’s “Politics”

Say what you will about Bernie Sanders, one thing he is — consistent. I think of myself as a socialist — well, a social democrat in the European sense. That’s what Bernie Sanders is, too. A social democrat who believes government’s biggest responsibility (outside of defending us from outside harm) is to level the playing field so that as many citizens as possible can realize their full potential — which will benefit us all in myriad ways.

Democratic socialism is very aspirational. It wants something better than what is. Will it cost more than what we’re doing now? It depends on how you total it all up.

The average middle class American — even with a half-way decent employee-provided health INSURANCE plan — still spends a small fortune out of pocket to get the actual health CARE they need. And nothing in their insurance will save them if they get really, REALLY sick and blow past the insurance coverage’s caps. Hello, bankruptcy. When that average middle class American’s kid gets out of college or university (they’ll need a degree still to compete both here and abroad), they’ve got a whole mountain range of debt to get past before their lives can really begin.

Those are two examples of what we currently think is “acceptable”. Funny thing? Most other modern, industrialized, democratic countries? They don’t agree.

One of the things that never gets mentioned in the apples to kumquats comparisons we get of democratic socialism vs what we have now is that although Europeans pay more in taxes than we do, they GET a whole lot of things that they WANT & NEED in return. Things they can point at. Things that they know make their lives better.

Reminder — no one in a country with that boogeyman “socialized medicine” ever goes bankrupt or loses their family home because they or someone they love dared to get sick.

My opposition to that isn’t “political”, it’s moral. Our system is flat out IMMORAL. Fight me on that — I double dog dare ya.

The idea of giving every one of our children either a (public) college education or technical training “for free” (it’s paid for by tax dollars) isn’t a political idea, it’s a philosophy: we educate our children because it makes US better & smarter as a society. Billing ourselves exorbitantly to accomplish that is stupid on steroids.

That’s why other countries don’t do it. That’s why other countries are competing better than we are. We think it’s all about money and politics.

For us, it is. For all those European Democratic Socialists? It’s a philosophy.

The notion of the “rugged individual” is a fabulous fiction. A very MALE fiction at that. Rugged individuals “alone can fix it”, right?

Bullshit. Even as a philosophy — that’s bullshit. But, ironically, in order to make that philosophy a reality “I alone can fix it” — you have to get political. Because THAT’S a philosophy no one believes and no one (with a brain) will buy. So you have to turn to politics — manipulation (that’s the goal of politics — to manipulate towards an end) — in order to have your way.

Our pundit class still thinks the House Democrats impeached Donald Trump because of politics. That was not the case. Though the Democrats are, indeed, a different political party — and were acting as a group — what motivated them was NOT politics. Yes, Democrats oppose Trump on political grounds, but the actions the Democrats were citing were violations of the law and the Constitution. They weren’t reacting politically, they were reacting patriotically. Not the same things.

Keep in mind — if it’s so that Russia impacted the OUTCOME of election 2016 in in any way (and we KNOW that Republicans not only accepted MILLIONS from Russia into their campaign accounts but handed Russia proprietary polling data on top of it all) then we have to ask — for real — whether we can accept the outcome of an election that was neither free nor fair. Worse — the election’s outcome was Russia’s desired outcome. They put their choice into the White House and have had full control of him ever since.

Between now and the election, Trump’s Russia problem will not go away — no matter what Bill Barr does or tries to do. There will never be a day when Trump gets good news on that front — unless it’s Bill Barr successfully obstructing justice. The PR horse is out of that barn and it’s not coming back.

Our pundit class — like the news media that feeds them — still can’t get the idea that Trump isn’t a normal POTUS out of their heads. They can’t get it INTO their heads that lies and truth don’t have equal weight. When a person lies to you, you IGNORE what they say. You don’t ask “But, what if that’s true…?” because it ISN’T true. It was NEVER true.

You’ve just wasted your time — and our time — running down a rabbit hole you should have avoided. Because it was complete bullshit. A person (a reporter even) who calls out a lie in real time, isn’t acting politically. They’re calling a lie a lie.

Can Bernie accomplish everything he says he wants for America? Probably not. But aspirationally, it’s a far better direction than where Donald Trump and the Republican Party want to take us — permanent minority rule. At least Bernie’s version of America doesn’t divide the way Trump’s America does.

At the end of the day, what Bernie’s really selling — it’s what Obama sold — is HOPE. Hope for something better than what is (and aiming for the middle of the road is aiming for a slightly better version of what is). Bernie’s not selling “Hope Adjacent”, he’s selling full on Hope — while Trump sells the diametric opposite.

Ya see, Pundits — it ain’t about politics. It IS about philosophy, And it is about darkness vs light.

If you don’t think even the dumbest Democrat on the planet can sell that? You’re blinded by politics.

If Every Human Could Be Merged Into A Single REASONABLE Human, Here’s What THAT Human Might Do…

If we were able to put out a “help wanted” ad on some cosmic Craigslist, but the ad stressed that the human we’re looking for MUST BE REASONABLE, we’d instantly exclude a third of humanity. I’ll own it — I’m extrapolating from this country onto humanity in general.

Trump’s approval ratings in America still ping-pongs somewhere in the mid-40’s. On the day he resigned from office — because of Watergate — Richard Nixon’s approval ratings sat at about 27%. So, dots connected, Trump’s mid 40’s approval probably includes every one of those right wingers who still thinks Nixon was a god.

Wasn’t it Steve Bannon who pointed out that if Dick Nixon had had a Fox News at his disposal — he would never even have been threatened with impeachment. Reasonable people see rules — the Rule Of Law — as essential to co-existing as fairly as possible. Unreasonable people see the Rule Of Law as something “in their way”. So — everyone surrounding Donald Trump? They won’t make the cut.

Hell, no one around Trump can even spell the word “reasonable”. That’s because they’re all bullies — and bullies don’t “do” reason.

Being as every Republican Senator except Mitt Romney refused to convict Trump — for reasons no one can argue about (as we watch Trump & Bill Barr bludgeon the Rule Of Law with everything they’ve got), none of them can claim to be “reasonable”. Same goes for every single Republican House member who stood in the way of the investigation and knew for a fact that they were obstructing justice in real time every goddamned day.

For the moment we have one, single Republican who qualifies — for the moment, I repeat — as “reasonable.

As we know, if there’s anything that separates people from reason, it’s religion. As readers of this blog know, I draw a distinction between spirituality (which everyone has in one way or another) and religion (which is really just some people trying to quantify & manage other peoples’ spirituality). No one needs rules or regulations — or a church for that matter — to tell them how to be spiritual. The unreasonableness always starts when some “church” claims to speak for a deity. Better do what (they say) the deity wants or (so they say the deity says), there’ll be “hell to pay”.

Man, are those dice loaded.

There is nothing reasonable about thinking people need to behave a certain way because YOU THINK a talking snake REALLY & TRULY convinced a woman to eat a piece of fruit from a tree she wasn’t supposed to eat from — which caused all the suffering on the planet. If YOU THINK a sky deity wiped out every creature on the planet because he was angry at ONE GROUP of creatures (and, hey — what about all the life that lived in water? Did all the fresh water destroy the ocean’s salinity? Where’d all that additional water go (since the amount of fresh water on earth is actually FINITE)? There is nothing reasonable about thinking anything written by men ignorant of germ theory, astrophysics, biochemistry or even rudimentary psychiatry has any value to a modern human outside its literary value — especially when we can prove that everything they thought WAS WRONG.

“Doing unto others”, by contrast — that IS a reasonable thing to do. Hell, “doing unto others” is reasonableness defined. Even a humble atheist can happily “do unto others” without harming his atheistic bona fides. Because even a humble atheist can be reasonable.

Ummmmmm, Mitt? Unless you want to let go of the fantasy that Jesus (we’ll give you “he existed” for argument’s sake) CAME TO NORTH AMERICA and a(nother) talking serpent revealed magical gold plates to Joseph Smith and when Mormons die they all get their own planets, then here’s where you and “reasonable” part ways.

So close, so far, eh, Mittens?

So, now that we’ve culled the herd of unreasonable people, let’s take a look at our Single Reasonable Human.

Ms. Reasonable wakes up one morning to learn the following things are happening in her world:

  • The climate is super-heating super-fast because of shit HE’S DOING.
  • Americans take it for granted that their children getting shot at their schools is normal.
  • Children are in cages at our border.
  • A cabal of men is protecting Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking
  • A hostile foreign power (Russia) launched a successful-beyond-its-wildest-hopes intelligence operation against America’s 2016 election and managed to put THEIR GUY (Trump) into the White House.
  • The Entire Republican Party (save for Mitt Romney) is 100% complicit in a cover up meant not only to keep Donald Trump in power until the next election but to keep Trump (and the Republican minority) in power FOREVER.
  • The news media continue to mis-report the most important story in ANY of their lifetimes because they were convinced (from their journalism schools?) that “both sides do it” and so had spun a massive false narrative around election 2016 that Trump’s win was legitimate (all his projecting that it wasn’t aside) and that as abnormal as his presidency was, it still had to be “normal” cos they lacked the imagination to see what was happening in all its abnormalness.
  • Elections do indeed have consequences — but stolen ones have even BIGGER consequences.

So — having “learned” all these things, what would Ms. Reasonable do?

There’s a lot to deal with in lots of different directions. In short order, a reasonable person would do everything they could think of to stop the climate from crashing down around them first.

They’d stop buying products that hurt the environment — and they’d start demanding packaging that broke down quickly after its single use. Better, Ms. Reasonable would do everything possible to make single-use plastics a thing of the past. Reusable containers would take their place. Need new shampoo? Take your empty shampoo container to Target where Target happily sells you the shampoo itself — which you then put into your empty containers (which Target weighs — minus the weight of your container — and then charges you for).

Ms. Reasonable would take her own cup to Starbucks or Peete’s or she’d happily buy a new reusable cup or (just as happily) pay a premium to buy a single-use cup manufactured to break down quickly and decompose completely.

Ms. Reasonable would stop constantly thinking she needed new stuff. Not needing new stuff all the time would take a huge load off the environment. For real.

Ms. Reasonable would free everyone in a cage. She’d reunite children with their parents. She’d stop the inhumanity and deftly set in motion a system that mitigated the harm we’ve done while seguing into an immigration policy that actually resulted in sane, reasonable policy built above all on perspective.

Guns get the reasonable treatment, too. It’s unreasonable to think we’ll ever get rid of all guns in America. But, Ms. Reasonable will make owning a gun lots harder. She’ll remind everyone that the second amendment — with its well-regulated militia being the arbiter of who gets to “keep & bear” (not own) arms — is all about gun CONTROL and not gun proliferation. Want a machine designed to send a piece of hot metal flying through the air at a live target so as to kill it? Fine. But you will need to be trained in the use of that death machine and you will need to be fully licensed to “keep & bear” it. You will NOT “own” it as the Constitution does not give anyone THAT right.

Your weapon will have technology that allows ONLY YOU to use that gun. No one else may pull its trigger and cause death to hurtle from its business end. If anything bad can be traced to your gun? The onus is 100% on YOU, the “responsible” gun owner. Gun owners will, indeed, FINALLY be “responsible” when Ms. Reasonable is on the case.

All those men hiding behind Jeffrey Epstein? Ms. Reasonable exposes every last one of them. They all follow Harvey Weinstein to prison and ignominy.

Finally, Ms. Reasonable turns to Russia and what Russia has done and is doing.

Learning that her government was now being run by autocratic oligarchs, Ms. Reasonable would remind everyone how the Rule Of Law works. Doing that would take care of all but one of Ms. Reasonable’s most pressing problems. By making The Rule Of Law “a thing” again, all those Republicans guilty of UNDERMINING The Rule Of Law would have to stop undermining it and, instead, feel its wrath.

Reasonableness demands The Rule Of Law. It demands we follow it TO THE LETTER.

If The Rule Of Law suddenly becomes a thing, then Ms. Reasonable’s remaining problem — the News Media’s inability to do its job — might get solved incidentally.

With The Rule Of Law back in place, even our most dim-witted MSM-ers would understand that, no, both sides DON’T “do it” and never did. Perspective would replace “Both Sides Do It” at Journalism Schools and journalists would no longer equate Republicans acting politically to undermine the Rule Of Law with Democrats acting PATRIOTICALLY to STOP THE REPUBLICANS. Even Chuck Todd would grasp that the victim of a crime (having an election result STOLEN FROM YOU) cannot be the PERPETRATOR OF THE CRIME too.

Ms. Reasonable would get to watch cable news that featured Nicolle Wallace and Joyanne Reid and Rachel Maddow and broadcasters like them 24/7 — because even the news networks would — finally — have become REASONABLE.

Of course, when I woke up this morning, Ms. Reasonable wasn’t actually there. She had already been knocked the ground and trampled by Trump & Barr & McConnell and the inept MSM and every unreasonable dickhead with a Twitter account.

Am I crazy to put out a “help wanted” ad regardless?