Of Republicans, Rabbit Holes And Russia

If the last four plus years of Trumpism feel like anything recognizable, it’s Wonderland. Before Team Biden could begin to effectively govern — the thing we elected them to do — first, they’ve had to confront, reverse, strip out or defuse the myriad ways Donald Trump and his corrupter-than-corrupt admin went about destroying our ability to self-govern. From the first instant Trump cruised down that golden escalator in Trump Tower — “Mexicans are rapists” simmering in his ape brain — he was on a mission to destroy American democracy at the behest of Vladimir Putin. Any journalist in America (or the world) could have figured that out even before Trump got nominated. Proof was there that, as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it as he walked into a meeting of GOP muckety-mucks, “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” No one in the room disputed Kevin or demanded he produce proof. No one called the FBI to report their suspicions either. In fact, plenty of the GOP leadership (like then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan) demanded they all keep that knowledge — that their soon-to-be presidential nominee was likely compromised by a hostile foreign power engaged in a cyber war against us — “in the family”.

Imagine that: you are deeply suspicious that your presidential nominee is compromised by a country at cyber war with us and yet you do nothing about it. Why’s that exactly?

The truth-telling part of the story has begun. It will accelerate the instant Merrick Garland clocks in at the rejuvenated Department of Justice and the Department commits itself to uncovering all the players in the January 6 Insurrection. Pull one thread and the whole corrupt sweater will (pretty quickly, I bet) begin to fall apart. We don’t want or need Merrick Garland to be partisan to anything other than the rule of law. If he and his DoJ can just do that — enforce the rule of law evenly for the first time in the country’s history — it’s all over but the shouting for the GOP. And there’s already plenty of shouting, banging the table and making a nuisance because grievance and self-pity are the only arguments for staying in power the Republican Party has anymore.

Remember Fusion GPS — the company that first hired Chris Steele and set the “Steele Dossier” ball rolling? When Glenn Simpson (one of Fusion’s two founders) testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on August 22, 2017 (the Republican-run committee was trying to undermine the Steele Dossier’s integrity), he pointed out how, when they were hired by the conservative Washington Free Beacon to examine Trump, the first thing they did was their “due diligence”. They got their hands on every piece of publicly available material they could find on Trump — from his birth certificate to his youthful indiscretions, to being kicked out of school for being a cheater and an asshole to the claptrap about his being a “self-made man” to the money laundering fiascos that were his Atlantic City casinos. Fusion’s team got ahold of every book, every newspaper piece or magazine article, every radio sit-down or TV interview. Every time he farted in public. The Donald Trump on exhibit in publicly available material was so clearly an international criminal laundering Russian mob money that Fusion hired Chris Steele to back it all up.

The Steele Dossier — for the record — was proven mostly correct and that’s quite an accomplishment for a collection of raw intel (which is what the Dossier is). Intelligence rarely deals in black and white. There are few “smoking guns” but that doesn’t mean one can’t intuit them. It’s a little like accepting that a star we can’t see really does exist; our proof is all the light moving around it and through its gravity. We use what we know to prove what we don’t.

After the Reagan years, the Republican money (mostly the Kochs and the Mercers) saw that any future “hoorahs” would have to be entirely manufactured. The key to the future — to their future — lay in controlling one branch of government: the judiciary. The House is too mercurial and unpredictable to be a good partner. The Senate, the Republicans figured, would stay in their hands for a good while longer. The executive branch — take away Antonin Scalia dancing like a Geisha atop a pin to make Bush v Gore work logically — and Republicans haven’t had a legitimate shot at the White House in forever. The only branch really still keep-able, the RW money saw, was the judiciary. Keep the judiciary in your pocket and nothing much can or will change in America.

That was the whole point.

Beneath everything, “staying in power” is the guiding principle for everything Republicans do. It’s their Machiavellian justification for resorting to gerrymandering and voter suppression since, they know, selling their “dreams for America” in the marketplace of ideas can’t work out for them because no one but them wants to live in 1850’s America where everyone “knew their place”. It was their justification for flirting with than climbing completely into bed with Russia. Take this to the bank — it isn’t just Trump who’s compromised out the wazoo by Russia. Russia understands cynicism. They appreciate how useful useful idiots can be to their cause. They poured money into Republican campaign coffers through quasi-legal means (via Republicans’ PACs); it was legal in the abstract but throw in conspiracy to commit treason charges and that money stops being anything like “legal”.

Every journalist in America could just as easily have done what Fusion did. Hell, even if they just read Glenn Simpson’s Congressional testimony, they’d get smarter and better informed.

The Republican Party has obstructed all investigation into their relationships with Russia. It’s not much to ask “why?”, is it? Rod Rosenstein personally halted the counter-intel investigation begun by James Comey’s FBI, telling the FBI that Team Mueller was doing it as part of their work and telling Team Mueller that the FBI was doing it, no need for them to focus on such nastiness. Donald Trump has repeatedly behaved toward Vlad Putin like a lap dog. Not a single Republican has wanted any of that investigated.

The Republican Party is a criminal enterprise, not a “political party”. Donald Trump is so clearly a traitor, it should be tattooed on his forehead.

At the end of the day — and the story — it will all come down to Russia, Russia, RUSSIA. Take that to the bank. Donald Trump’s “win” was never a legitimate “win”. If the authority to do things presidential flows from We The People then when a president does things WITHOUT our authority, they are UNAUTHORIZED and therefore illegitimate. It’s this simple: but for Donald Trump, there would have been no insurrection, But for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have become POTUS.

That’s the mother of all Rabbit Holes.

What’s This Feeling Welling Up Inside Of Us — Is That… Happiness?

Fess up: how many people, other man me, half expected one more terrible Trumpian twist before he boarded Air Force One for his last pony ride? As I write this, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are still about an hour-and-a-half away from being sworn in. Trump, still airborne, is still POTUS. If we could manufacture justice on the spot and manifest it in reality, either law enforcement would be awaiting the Trumps when they land in Florida — and every last one of them would be taken into custody (might as well do it now, it WILL happen eventually) — or, instead, we’d deliver the Trumps directly to Mar-A-Lago from 35,000 feet without parachutes. By the time the Trump Crime Family had crammed onto AF1, pretty much everyone in Washington, DC had abandoned them; aside from Mark Meadows, no one with an official parking spot of value showed up at Andrews AFB to wave goodbye to them.

Mitch McConnell? He’s attending church with the Bidens — and Nancy Pelosi. Mike Pence? He’s got a chair waiting for him at the Inauguration. And both Mitch & Mike know their futures are cloudy. They’re not making nice to the Democrats because they want to — they know what’s coming. They need all the friends they can get especially now that the Department of Justice has taken down Bill Barr’s shingle and hung up Merrick Garland’s. The DoJ has just as much on its plate at the start as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do. Not only do they have today’s work to plow into, they have four years worth of oversight to catch up with first — including the counter-intelligence investigation into Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin that Rod Rosenstein ended.

It isn’t Democrats having the presidency that terrifies Republicans, it’s Democrats having the Department of Justice. That’s incorrect. Democrats don’t “have” the DoJ, We The People do. That’s the difference (it damned well better be!) Under Bill Barr, the Department of Justice became Trump’s consigliere. Under Merrick Garland, it will revert to being the nation’s overseers of justice and chief practitioners of the rule of law. If Merrick Garland does his job the way we need him to, a culture of fairness — of justice serving the public equally — will permeate every nook and cranny of the DoJ. That’s how good management works — by example and from the top down. Remember how much corruption there was during eight years of Obama’s presidency? ZERO. There was zero corruption because Barack Obama made it crystal clear that HE PERSONALLY would not tolerate it.

We know — having been the lab rats — how the opposite conditions work out.

As mentally and emotionally exhausted as we feel — if I may project “me” onto “we” for a second — watching Donald Trump leave was heartening. It felt good watching him cross from the White House to Marine One — the helicopter that flew him to Andrews. It felt even better watching him cross from Marine One to the podium where, for once, it was tolerable to hear him speak (if only because we knew it was for the very last time as president). It belt best of all when Trump and his viperous family climbed aboard Air Force One for their trip “home”.

I know, looking back, what four years of Trumpism did to my psyche and sense of mental well-being. Hell, my suicide attempt came six weeks after Trump “won” the election. I know what election day 2016 did to me — it struck something deep. I wasn’t alone that night, feeling that something terrible had just happened. This wasn’t just the woe the comes from losing an election. We could feel it — something… untoward had happened. Something not on the up-n-up. Something not quite “legit”. Something, in fact, downright criminal. If only we could “prove” that these feelings weren’t just… feelings.

Four years ago felt awful — though the Women’s March the day after Trump was inaugurated felt like we were collectively picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and preparing for what turned out to be four years of hard, relentless battle with the darkest part of our nation. We sought relief and thought it was coming! It breaks my heart still to think how deluded we were all were by Team Mueller. It’s not that they didn’t do good work — they absolutely did. But, wishful thinking gave them a far bigger mandate than they, in fact, worked from. We assumed that even as Team Trump obstructed justice, in the background, plenty of heavy lifting was going on; intelligence professionals and law enforcement were carrying on an extensive, intensive counter-intelligence investigation into every last nuance of Donald Trump’s treasonous relationship with Vladimir Putin.

The thing people like me didn’t count on — this story really did run far darker than imagined — was the extent of Republican complicity. I know I kept thinking that surely the third rail of going to prison forever would keep the Republican leadership from letting Trump run completely amok. But, it turns out, once you’ve committed treason — as pretty much the entire Republican leadership has — it really doesn’t matter anymore if you let a treasonous POTUS run amok since — if the other side wins the election — you’ll be going to prison, too, now. Because that’s how conspiracy works.

See something, say something. See something, say NOTHING? We have to ask: “Why?” Why say nothing? Whose interests are you protecting here — since, clearly, they’re not ours? Perfect example? Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (who — ironically — attended church this morning with Mitch and Nancy and Kamala and Joe) who, a month before the GOP nominated Trump to be their 2016 standard-bearer, walked into a roomful of the Republican leadership and famously said “There’s two people I think Putin pays, Rohrbacher and Trump… swear to God!” The correct, moral, patriotic response in the room would have been “Wait, WHAT? Why do you say that, Kev’? Holy shit — if that’s even remotely true, we gotta tell the FBI!” That, alas, is NOT how that roomful of Republicans responded to hearing that their presidential candidate was likely already compromised by a hostile foreign power. No, instead, they all followed then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan’s lead and “kept it in the family”.

What we felt settle over us on election day 2016 — like the blackest cloud imaginable — was Trumpian corruption. Today, that cloud officially lifts.

The air — filled with coronavirus as it is — smells fresher. The sun feels warmer. And we now have a president who doesn’t wear orange face paint because he thinks it improves his appearance.

For that alone — I feel better!

If Democrats And Republicans Were A “Married Couple”, What The R’s Just Did Would Get Them Thrown Out Of The House Forever

As anyone who’s ever been in a long term relationship knows, even the bad ones require work. The Constitution’s framers didn’t intend for there to be political parties but the rift between the Federalists and states’ rights supporters that arose at the framing — one way or the other — set our two party system in motion. And, while learning to compromise with a partner is essential to any couple’s, some compromises should never be made. For instance — compromises made with an abusive spouse or a serial cheater. The Democrats really are like a spouse in a long-running marriage who’s known all along how faithless their mate’s been. The Democrats KNOW the Republicans cheat. They KNOW Republicans don’t care one bit about any “relationship”. And now we know that our partner in this country’s governance, the Republicans, want pretty much all the Democrats dead.

On January 6, 2021, the Republican Party hired their angry, drunk friend to break into the House and try to kill the Democrats. They wanted their drunk friend to kill Mike Pence too because Pence had done the dishonorable thing: he stood up for the oath of office he took. Now, let’s not pat Mike on the back too quickly. Mike’s no boy scout. That’s why Paul Manafort brought him to the veep dance back in 2016. Remember: Manafort (then Trump’s campaign manager) was attempting a “make good” deal with Russian oligarch and intelligence agent Oleg Deripaska. He owed Deripaska over 17 million dollars (the kinda dough that’ll get you killed if you don’t start paying it off) and, so, was engaged in a scheme to make Deripaska whole. The LAST thing Manafort needed at that point was a veep candidate who’d rat them all out the second he got wind of the “Russian Secret”.

Everybody here is dirty. Everybody is corrupt. No one with an “R” next to their name EVER seems to do the right thing — not without being pressured into it.

I think of the Republicans sliding into bed with Vladimir Putin as clear cut evidence of treason. Why, that’s exactly like them cheating on us, isn’t it? Hey, Don, you adulterous asshole — what’s with the borscht & vodka on your breath?

As if Trump being disloyal with the Russian sleaze bag across the street wasn’t bad enough, then he goes and lies about it. He does everything he can to hide his actions. He’s called all his fancy-assed pals (the scumbags he philanders with) to tell them to cover for him. He’s used his other, “lesser” friends (people he doesn’t ever hang with and never would) to come after us to try and kill us. He came frighteningly close to doing it.

If we really were a couple, this marriage would be well and truly over. It would be inconceivable that we’d slide into bed ever again with the shit who tried to have us murdered — especially when he took so much friggin’ video of him doing it.

First of all, of course, we’d get ourselves the best lawyer we could — which, in fact, we’ve already done. We’d go after the bastard who did this, intent on taking him for everything he’s got. We’d insist, above all, that our mate take responsibility for their terrible actions if they really wanted our relationship to continue. They won’t. It’s not even a question.

That’s why, after we throw them out onto the street, we will proceed to prosecute the living snot out of them. We will not stop until they’re off the street and filling up many, many prison cells. That’s not political; it’s just crime & punishment working the way they’re supposed to.

The R’s have already started sniffing around for forgiveness. When they say “unity!” what they mean is “Hey, baby, you can forget I tried to have ya killed just this one time, now, can’t ya?” Um, no, assholes, we can’t. How about, instead, YOU find some deep, profound way to make it up to America?

They can all start by surrendering.

The Day Republicans Made Treason Part Of Their Brand

Picture the scene — it really happened: a month before Donald Trump officially becomes their presidential nominee in 2016, the Republican Muckety Mucks all sit down to a meeting on Capitol Hill. Late to the meeting, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy enters and says out loud “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Per the Washington Post’s Adam Entous, “House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.” Did ya catch that? Instead of saying something like “What, now, Kevin? You think WHAT? Jesus — WHY? What do you know? Quick, someone, GET THE FBI ON THE PHONE!” — which is what then Speaker Ryan SHOULD HAVE said next — he said “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

I guess Speaker Ryan meant “a mafia family”.

It’s curious what wasn’t said or asked by anyone in that room filled with the Republican leadership. Things like “Do they KNOW they’re being paid or are they being duped?” or “How’s Russia doing it? How’s it putting money in their pockets — and what does Russia want in return?” It’s like all those Republicans already knew the answers to those questions. Because they do. Plenty of Republicans took plenty of Russian money into their campaign coffers. Traitors like Moscow Mitch did it a bit more “cleverly” — they took the Russian dosh in via PACS so as to (theoretically) distance themselves from the crime they were committing.

The reason no one picked up their phone and called the FBI is because they were all already co-conspirators.

Think of the calculation! Think of the furious process working overtime inside each Republican’s soft, mushy head, justifying treason. That is what it is.

Cyber War = War.

Undeclared Cyber War = War.

Undeclared Cyber War In Which We NEVER Fight Back (And Maybe NEVER Realize We’re Under Attack) = War.

The Americans living at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the hours before Dawn on December 7, 1941 did not know that Japan had declared war on them — but, in fact, Japan had. A state of war existed (without the US government or anyone at Pearl Harbor knowing it) the instant the Japanese Imperial Navy set forth to attack Pearl Harbor weeks before the actual event. Remember — it takes time to move a naval strike force from its home base on one part of the globe to its attack positions on another part of the planet. The Japanese set sail absolutely determined to attack us whatever the consequences.

Like the unfortunate inhabitants of Pearl Harbor, just because you don’t know you’re in epic danger doesn’t mean you aren’t. And just because you didn’t mean to commit treason while launching your cut rate coup d’etat, it doesn’t mean you didn’t. The Republican Party took a big, reach-down-to-its-heels swing at permanent minority rule. To get as much on their swing as possible, they hitched their wagon to Donald Trump KNOWING not only that he was corrupt, but corrupt in partnership with a hostile foreign government.

Even the dumbest kid in class knows: corrupt people are easily compromised. A person as corrupt as Donald Trump must be compromised in remarkable, new ways. The same goes for the entire Republican Party.

Think of Mike Pence, for instance. For four years now, some people have had it in their heads that if Trump quit, we’d get Pence which would be bad but not quite as bad as Trump. That’s insane. Mike Pence is one of the most compromised people in the whole corrupt construction. Remember — it was Trump’s CAMPAIGN MANAGER Paul Manafort who brought Mike Pence to the Veep dance. Paul, at the time, was deep up to his corrupt neck in a criminal conspiracy; he needed to get $17 million into Oleg Deripaska’s hands or Deripaska would kill him. The last thing on earth a criminal like Manafort would want anywhere near him was a boy scout who’d freak out the second he heard all the Russia Secrets.

Manafort knew going in — with the Pence suggestion — that Pence would be properly deferential and compliant. He knew Pence would never even think about rocking the boat. Or calling the FBI.

So — Pence didn’t tell anyone what he knew. Neither did Manafort or Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy. Already, Republicans at the top of the food chain had embraced corruption on a scale they hadn’t quite before. In the days since the GOP — with their Russian friend’s help — stole election 2016, virtually no one (still) calling themselves a Republican has turned their back on their Republican fellow travelers — despite all obvious criminality.

It’s still like every Republican thinks they’re sitting in that room on Capitol Hill — and Kevin McCarthy has just walked in, with Paul Ryan eyeing him like he just infected them all with coronavirus. We’re not going to talk about that, Paul Ryan said.

In the aftermath of the event’s reporting, Kevin insisted (as all Republicans do when caught speaking actual truth about something): “I was just kidding!” Kevin, don’t ya know, has the reputation up on Capitol Hill of being THE Yuckmaster General. Suddenly a roomful of humorless white people become George Carlin or Richard Pryor. Funny thing about lots of Republicans — as it is with Donald Trump? They don’t HAVE any sort of “sense of humor”.

In order to have one, you must FIRST be able to laugh at yourself. It’s the first prerequisite. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t do or see humor. You’re still capable of laughing — but only ever AT things or people. People with no sense of humor aren’t physically capable of laughing WITH anyone. Bullies — notoriously humorless — still get plenty of laughs from their crews — but those aren’t real laughs, are they? No one who hangs out around bullies has a sense of humor either.

In the years since they first actively conspired to commit treason, the GOP has done exactly nothing to change the course they’re on. They haven’t hemmed or hawed. They’re on this journey because they want to be. End of story.

It will be the end of the Republican Party, too.

Good thing Republicans can’t make irony part of their brand.

Conservatives vs Progressives Can Be Summed Up As “Me vs We”

Trumpism is conservatism on steroids (plus copious amounts of snorted powdered Adderall). If one had to sum up Trumpism in one word, it’d be “me”. “Me” is the one country Donald Trump has fealty toward. Well, “Me” and Vlad Putin. But that’s not ideological fealty. Trump isn’t loyal to Putin because he believes in “Putinism”. Rather, it’s the fealty that a crime boss (Putin) demands from his underlings and capos (Trump). “Me” is the core weakness Putin holds over Trump. Putin is exploiting Trump’s absolute adoration of “Me”, Trump’s willingness to indulge “Me”, make “Me” richer even if doing it is illegal or downright treasonous.

Trumpism = Me-ism. And now, so, too do Republicanism and conservatism.

To be fair to conservatives, they do come by their Me-ism honestly. That is, it’s completely organic to who they are. Conservatives love the Libertarian notion of the “rugged individualist” — that “I alone can fix it” guy. They all see themselves as “rugged individualists”. This dovetails nicely with the conservative, institutionalist idea of religion — a neat twist that turns “Do unto others” into “Do what we say or else”. Conservatives all claim to know God’s will better than you (so you better shut up!) That’s because conservatives don’t believe IN God, they believe they ARE God. So, how could anyone be the “boss of them”?

See how that works?

Conservatives, as their names says, want to conserve. Fair enough. The next logical question: WHAT do conservatives want to “conserve”? Since one can’t conserve the future (it doesn’t exist yet), one is left conserving the present which means conserving the past since that’s what the present reflects — what’s left of the past. THAT is what conservatives want desperately to conserve — as much of the past conserved in the present as possible. Why? Was the past better?

For them, yes. Yes, it was. In the past, conservative values (white, Christian, male) dominated all conversations. “All men are created equal” didn’t mean “all men”. It didn’t mean “all people” either.

For conservatives, the past was infinitely better than they fear the future might be. Which is why they resist change. And progress. Change and progress are antithetical to conservatives and conservatism. That’s not a rap or a judgment. It’s simply a fact. It’s part of the DNA of any conservative argument — resistance to change because of a preference for how it was before.

“How it was before” is a problem for Progressives because “how it was before” was racist, bigoted, misogynist and ignorant. And it’s entirely antithetical to democracy because the majority of Americans aren’t those things. We keep voting against those things but getting the opposite result. It’s like someone was constantly getting in the way of change — of the progress toward real fairness, real justice and a truly level playing field that the majority of Americans want.

Donald Trump pointed out a basic truth that every Republican knows: when more Americans vote, they vote against Republicans and for Democrats because they don’t want what Republicans are selling. Democracy is a marketplace of ideas. In the binary marketplace that is American Democracy, more Americans want to buy Progressive ideas than conservative ideas: a vigorous social safety net, socialized medical CARE (not insurance; insurance doesn’t provide care, it’s a payment mechanism for it) that won’t bankrupt a person (or their family) just because they got sick, UBI, a healthy climate, women’s and minority rights, full LGBTQ participation in American life, a clear separation between Church and State. As Trump put it, if every American voted, Republicans would never win another election.

Exactly so, Donald, exactly so. It’s a testament to how good most Americans are. We want our individual rights respected. But we also recognize that there will always be a dynamic tension between “me” and “we”. If not everyone in the “we” is getting the same “me” treatment? Then it’s like NONE of “we” is getting the “me” treatment. We can’t be truly free until we’re ALL free. Otherwise, we’re just pretending to be “free”.

Even the nature of our protests is different. Most Progressives protests were masked and, at least, had the pandemic’s toll and impact in its head.

Conservative protests?

They’re masked when they must be but you can see “You’re not the boss of me!” burning in their eyes. They’re armed to the teeth. They’re not there to protect anything — other than the scared little boy inside them. As Kyle Rittenhouse was shooting those two UNARMED protesters to death, was he striking blows for freedom? Or was he, down deep, saying “Eff you, man, you’re not taking away whatever it is that I’m so desperately afraid of losing!”

The reason most conservatives fear “we” is because it doesn’t look like them — or what they think “me” should look like: Northern European white people. Christian. Rich.

That’s what conservatives think “American Exceptionalism” is. Them. And their money. They couldn’t be more wrong. American Exceptionalism is spelled out in our motto: “E PLURIBUS UNUM”. Out of many, one. America is the product of diversity. That’s the “PLURIBUS”. The “UNUM” isn’t a bunch of unums making one giant “unum”, it’s an unum borne of the pluribus. “We” has always been essential to the American ideal.

Our mistake thus far has been that we’ve EXCLUDED so many Americans FROM that ideal. Good thing We The People stepped in at the very last second to pluck our democracy back from the selfish, greedy, corrupt conservatives who, frankly, never had much use for it anyway.

There will always be dynamic tension between “me” and “we”. That’s not a bad thing. It’s baked in to our experiment in human self-government. Our duty is to keep the tasting spoon handy. Don’t let the mix get TOO “we” (that will undermine the “me” and we don’t want to do that either).

Maybe we need to reframe our differences. Maybe conservatism isn’t the political opposite of progressivism. Maybe conservatism is an island unto itself. What if we think of “moderation” as the political opposite of progressivism. Rather than “forward v backwards”, what if we thought of the future in terms of “forward v forward with greater deliberation”? After all, whether we like it or not, the future is coming at us. We will face problems in the future that we haven’t even considered yet.

If we don’t anticipate them — by building the future into our plans — then we’ll be caught out when the future arrives. Kinda like the Trump White House prepared America for the pandemic.

See? We are living in a live “Me v We” test tube. “Me” thinking produces sickness and death. “We” thinking does not.

Like there’s really a choice here?

A Win Achieved By Cheating Is Not A “Win”; It’s Cheating

Donald Trump gives “the boss” the kind of smile he gives no one else.

To describe what happened in 2016 as “Donald Trump won the election” is to frame the election from cheating’s point of view. Let’s be clear: Trump didn’t just cheat We The People out of our clear ballot box choices, he cheated the rule of law itself.

That’s significant. Dear American News Media — take note.

From the rule of law’s point of view, in order to be a legitimate win, the winner must follow the rule of law. If the “winner” didn’t follow the rule of law to achieve their win then their win “isn’t”. It can’t be — because they broke the rule of law to achieve it.

The moment we understood that Donald Trump cheated to become president in 2016, we should have reclassified his “win” as something other than a “win” — and his presidency something other than a presidency. That’s just the rule of law speaking. That’s important because the whole basis for our system of government is the rule of law. If Trump’s presidency was not achieved via the rule of law?

It’s not a presidency — which means (again, according to the rule of law) that Trump never had the authority to do anything a legitimate POTUS does. Like nominate lifetime judicial appointments including SCOTUS seats. The authority to do things like that flows from the rule of law. Step outside the rule of law and the authority no longer flows. If you violated the rule of law from the get-go (and Trump was deeply compromised before he ever declared his run) then nothing you ever did had any actual authority.

If we throw in a motive — in Trump’s case corruption and treason — then the nature of his judicial picks must also speak to motive. The whole point of choosing the judges Trump chose — after violating the rule of law in order to “win” election — was to stop the rule of law from having any capacity to stop Trump ever again. The rule of law cannot enforce itself. That’s our job. The perverse irony is that those breaking the rule of law in order to destroy the rule of law have a distinct advantage over those who refuse to break the rule of law — even to save it.

Had we enforced the rule of law equally before now, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we’re in. It’s not too late however. We The People are an overwhelming majority compared to the tiny cabal of rich, Christian white men who are trying so desperately to hang onto power. Proof that massive protest can stop them is in front of us.

Want to know what scares Donald Trump more than another pregnant mistress he’ll have to pay off? More than daddy’s anger at him? More Vladimir Putin even? The rule of law.

Trump thinks he can negotiate his way out of trouble with Putin (boy, is he wrong!). He knows he can’t do anything to negotiate his way out of trouble with the rule of law. That’s why he needs to make sure we never practice it ever again. The second we start enforcing it again (that’s an important distinction — the rule of law never stopped being in force; we stopped enforcing it), Donald Trump will be in legal jeopardy for the rest of his life and he knows it. Trump will be investigated, indicted, sued, indicted some more, convicted and sentenced to life behind bars. So will his children (not that he cares about them). What’s worst of all to Trump — he’ll lose everything. Literally.

Once the investigating begins in earnest — the rule of law will insist — every last piece of real estate Trump owns will be in play. Between tax fraud & money laundering, it’s all tainted one way or another. We’ll wash all that off after we seize it. I hope we have the good sense to put most of the money we make from the sale of everything Trump owns into a super fund that will begin to pay for the damage Trump did to the nation and to individual Americans. To individuals outside America too.

Donald Trump hasn’t just been bad for America, he’s been bad for the whole planet.

By cheating to gain the presidency, Trump did more than violate the rule of law. Our hearts may want to punish him for all the abuse our sense of decency has suffered. We’ll have to legislate decency in the future. For now, we’ll have to deal with facts. Donald Trump broke the rule of law in order to become POTUS.

That means Donald Trump is not now and never was legitimate President of the United States.

The moment we remove Trump (and the whole rest of the GOP) from power, real winning can finally begin. A win for the rule of law is a win for America and every single American.

Dear American News Media — You All Report That Trump’s So Desperate To Win He’ll Destroy The Post Office; PLEASE ASK WHY!

This is not a “why did the chicken cross the road?” question. Donald Trump doesn’t want to win this election just “to get to the other side”. It’s pretty much universal now that Trump is cheating to win right before our eyes. That is, “cheating to win again.”

That’s how it’s put by the “news” media. He’s cheating to win again. That suggests he cheated to win at least once before — and considering as the only other election Donald Trump ran in was 2016, that says that our news media acknowledges now that if not for cheating, Trump would not be president today.

Think about that — and think about how we’re “thinking about it”.

In theory, cheating to win is a literal impossibility. You might “win” by cheating but, if we’re playing by the rules, by cheating, you disqualified yourself from winning. The rule of law is quite clear on this point. One cannot win by cheating. In fact, if one cheats to win, one opens oneself up to all sorts of legal exposure. I know we may not be enforcing the rule of law as I write this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still completely in effect. It absolutely is — and we will return to living under it except this time (we hope) correctly.

But, I digress. Even Trump will say out loud that destroying the post office is to prevent Americans from voting. If Americans vote the way they’re going to, it’s not a question of if Trump loses, it’s a question by how much he’ll get blown out by. That’s Trump and every single Republican running on the ticket with him. Trump already has a whole wing to himself in the Museum Of Historical Miscalculations. Going after the post office — even as an act of desperation — is idiotic. He’s a Dumbass Don Quixote tilting not at a windmill but a T Rex which promptly eats him like a cocktail olive.Republic

Even some of the rubes Trump tricked into voting against their own best interests last time have suddenly turned. They get it: if their prescription opioids get delayed coming through the mail, they’re screwed. Ditto any sort of check they rely on in lieu of electronic payment. You can shoot yourself in the foot only so many times before it’s completely useless to you.

It’s conceivable now — unless Trump stops bullshitting the nation about vote-by-mail’s reliability and allows the USPS to do its job the best way it knows how — most of the stage AG’s will go after DeJoy, Trump’s Postmaster General flunky for deliberately screwing up mail delivery in their states. Voting for Trump now equals “Killing the Post Office”. As political marketing goes, that flat out sucks. Good luck selling it.

Of course, the point isn’t to “sell” anything. It’s to stop just enough Americans from either voting or having their votes count so that voting machines in certain states important to the Electoral College can be electronically flipped. Any machine that in any way connects to the internet is vulnerable. But then, isn’t that the point? If you really wanted a totally safe, secure election to take place — without having technology just for the sake of having it (especially when it’s the thing that makes voting vulnerable) — you’d accept hand-marked paper ballots and that would be the end of it.

Republicans are cynics. Their actions say it. I cannot think of a single Republican — Mitt Romney included — who isn’t walking around with knowledge in their heads that make them complicit in a grand conspiracy to rob the American people of their electoral choice. Everyone with an “R” next to their name believes deep down that the end justifies the means. The end that every Republican has in mind is permanent minority rule.

To get to that end, the Republicans made the worst Devil’s bargain ever: they hitched their wagon to Donald Trump despite knowing he was corrupt — and despite knowing that he was literally OWNED by Russia. Republican leadership knew it going into their 2016 convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously announced to a meeting of the Republican leadership that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. The GOP leadership didn’t run to the FBI, fearful about the implications for their presidential nominee. No, they agreed to go along with then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s demand that they “keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here’.”

So — Republicans have always known that Trump’s relationship with Russia was “problematic” from a legal point of view. They must have understood it that way because they knew to keep it secret. When Barack Obama wanted to alert We The People about Russia’s active determination to make Trump POTUS, Mitch McConnell threatened to accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. Moscow Mitch knew for a fact that that wasn’t at all what Obama was doing.

For some reason, our news media can’t aggregate a story. They can’t add information so that they’re understanding of Trump — and how to report him — evolves. That’s terrible storytelling. It’s not journalism. Even a quick perusal of the Mueller Report (versus taking Bill Barr’s word about it) — with an understanding that it doesn’t represent the entirety of the Trump-Russia story but merely a thin tranche of it — says Donald Trump cheated to win in 2016 and committed treason while doing it.

For some reason, our news media can’t aggregate the guy who was impeached in the House for trying to cheat in the coming election with the guy who’s trying to destroy the Post Office in order to cheat in the coming election. Even just those two things aggregated gives us a person, shall we say, unusually motivated to want to win an election. But, WHY?

Yeah, sure, everyone likes to win. Shitheads like Donald Trump are especially dedicated to winning at all costs because they’re man-babies whose frail emotional architecture can’t stand up to losing. But, that doesn’t explain them breaking the law to win. Well, it doesn’t explain Trump breaking the law so flagrantly, so willfully, so desperately.

At every character’s core is “why”. Why they do what they do. Why they get up in the morning and will themselves to get through the day. Even if they can’t articulate the why, there is one. No one does things “for no reason” except in the minds of bad storytellers and way too many American journalists.

Trump doesn’t do immoral, corrupt, racist, misogynistic, ignorant things because “he’s a different kind of POTUS”. He’s does them because he IS all those things. Especially corrupt.

When Fusion GPS was hired by the Washington Free Beacon in 2016 to do oppo research on Donald Trump, the first thing they did (according to co-founder Glenn Simpson in his Congressional testimony) was their due diligence. They sought out every bit of publicly available information on Donald J. Trump. They got ahold of newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, TV shows — anything and everything. They went to book stores, Amazon, even the public library.

Simpson testified that what they found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Trump might have used his bankrupted Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money — a fact which Vladimir Putin knew and exploited. That’s why they subcontracted that part of the research to Christopher Steele’s Orbis. Steele, former head of MI6’s Russia desk, had the best contacts inside Russia bar none.

The reason Trump needs America to believe the investigation into him isn’t even remotely a hoax is because he’s so incredibly guilty in so many ways. The only thing shielding Trump from indictment and prosecution right now is a silly DoJ rule (not a law) that says sitting presidents can’t be indicted.

That rule is Trump’s Hail Mary. The longer he can keep it in the air? The longer he’s not a federal prisoner for the rest of his life. His best bet? Never stop being POTUS. Ever.

That’s the “why”, you see, at the center of Donald Trump’s core.

He won’t tell you that, of course — he probably can’t articulate it. But then, Donald Trump can’t articulate anything directly. He’s an ignorant boob operating far, far above his competency. He’s making it up as he goes along and he has zero imagination.

But then, that shouldn’t be hard to discern. The evidence has come at us in a relentless stream of reporting. So has the evidence that Trump is a traitor.

If only there was someone out there to report it…

Why Doesn’t The American News Media Ever Ask “WHY?”

Our news media tirelessly report every vile utterance that tumbles from Donald Trump’s bloated orange lie hole. On the bright side, at least a few of them have begun to find the courage to stand up to Trump — to refuse to accept his bullshit — refusing to accept the lies. But, unfortunately, most of the press still fears losing access and so refuse to do anything that might anger Trump or his snowflake staff.

When they cut back to the “studio” (whatever & wherever that is these days), the host plus talking heads will ask why Trump behaves this way. They’ll ask why most Republicans continue to follow Trump blindly. They’ll wonder how anyone could run on the things Trump and the Republicans are doing. Some journalists will scratch their heads so hard, they’ll create permanent divots in their scalps.

They’ll all ask “why” as if it was a mystery deeper than the Mona Lisa’s smile.

But, problem is, they’re not actually asking “why”. They’re using the word as a kind of shrug. What they’re really saying is “I guess they ‘do it’ just because they do”.

How “it is what it is” of them. Except, no. No one does anything “just because”. People doing bizarre things might not be able to articulate why they’re doing it but something inside them is causing them to do it. There’s a motive. It may not be satisfying to outsiders or even logical. But there’s a motive.

Donald Trump lies because he’s a sociopath. He behaves like a spoiled child because that’s what he is (ask his niece Mary Trump; better yet, read her very good book). He kowtows to Vladimir Putin because he’s beholden to him — because Putin knows things about Trump that are absolutely, positively criminal. But then, so do we. We’re staring at them all.

Why does Donald Trump do what he does? Basically, because he’s a criminal. There’s a whole mountain range of evidence. Shame the news media refuse to either look at it or, having looked at it, refuse to accept what that evidence is telling them.

Maybe the better question is why does our news media suck at its job?

Failure Of Imagination — As Much As Treason — Got Us Here

It sucks waking up every day, feeling exactly what former first lady Michelle Obama described yesterday in her podcast — a persistent mild depression. I’d quibble with the word “mild” but then I’m a quibbler by nature.

Mrs. Obama was speaking more to the relentless parade of racist cop incidents. Yesterday’s wasn’t deadly but it was horrifying nonetheless. Cops in Aurora, CO stopped a van with a family of African Americans in it — a mom, her daughters and some other kids. The cops were looking for a stolen MOTORCYCLE. They drew up alongside the van, GUNS POINTED at it — AT CHILDREN.

This would never have happened to a white family. Listen to the sound of those terrified children and then look to the WHITE COPS (a female included). Wonder what could be going through their minds. Wonder at the inhumanity.

Think about the trauma that will haunt all of them forever.

I sure hope the people in that van can sue the Aurora, CO Police Department. They’re going to need the money to pay for their therapy. And, it seems, the only way to drain racism from a police department is to, first, drain it of money. At least the money that supports the racism inside a police department.

It gets extra disgusting when you consider that the people inside the van are paying the tax dollars that resulted in them lying on the pavement, terrified for their lives. They paid for that. They will pay for it the rest of their lives.

This has been going on FOREVER. Black people have been saying it. Racists have an excuse. They’re the cause. What about the rest of us white people? Why have we put up with it?

Down deep? Most of us didn’t believe it. Not so much because it strained credulity but because it was too monstrous for our tender, white minds to process. We couldn’t imagine it. Our imaginations failed.

Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia has also revealed a failure of imagination — on the part of most Americans but, worst of all, on the part of our news media. Plenty of them STILL can’t imagine that Donald Trump has any sort of “unseemly” relationship with Vlad Putin. They still wonder aloud why Trump is always so beholden to Putin.

If they scratched their heads any harder, they’d create permanent divots in their skulls.

The truth about Donald Trump has always sat there in clear view. FFS — the first concerted oppo research carried out against Trump established that. Paul Singer, the money behind the Washington Free Beacon (a conservative news organization awarded for its journalism by the extremely conservative Heritage Foundation) hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump. Fusion was a research company run by former Wall Street Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and Thomas Catan. For the record — no one here is a raving socialist.

Simpson testified before the House Intelligence Committee on August 22, 2017 for ten hours. Back then, the House was run by Republicans who were trying to undermine all investigations into Trump’s 2016 campaign and its strange relationship with Russia. Simpson testified that the first thing Fusion did after getting the oppo research gig was their due diligence. They got their hands on every piece of Trump-related anything (newspapers, magazine articles, TV interviews, radio interviews, books). They scoured the internet, shopped at Amazon, visited actual bookstores and even the public library.

What they found — in publicly available material, in other words, information ANYONE could find — convinced them that Donald Trump could well be an international criminal who’d used his bankrupted Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian mob money. If that was the case, they understood, then Trump was completely compromised. To do the dirty work inside Russia, Fusion sub-contracted the work to Orbis, a London-based private intelligence firm run by Christopher Steele — former head of MI6’s Russia desk.

That’s why the Steele Dossier exists. It’s Steele’s raw intel. Let me repeat: it’s RAW INTEL. If you don’t understand the difference between raw intel and news reporting, you should put down the raw intel. It will confuse you.

In the shadow world of spies, one can’t rely on a “smoking gun”. One has to rely on context — the most complete picture one can form so as to discern real objects from fog. The Steele Dossier paints a picture that has remained mostly accurate about Trump and the many ways Russia has compromised him.

And yet, our news media STILL describes this document as fake.

Because Donald Trump and the Republicans describe the dossier as fake. Of course, they have to — they’re all compromised toghether. Hell, the Republicans knew Trump was in bed with Russia during their 2016 convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously walked into a meeting of Republican muckety-mucks and said “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wasn’t shocked by that news. He was so un-shocked in fact that 1) he didn’t call the FBI and 2) he swore the whole room to secrecy. “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

From the get-go, Donald Trump has openly given away our secrets to Russia. He famously told Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that firing Comey took all the pressure about Russia off his back. How hard would it be to imagine what that really meant? And yet, our news media couldn’t make that leap.

We don’t know what secrets Trump has shared directly with Vladimir Putin — his chief handler — because Trump has never let Americans in on the meetings. The Russians always seem to know what went down though. How much imagination does it take to connect dots here?

Look at these two photos of Donald Trump and Vlad Putin. How much imagination does it take to extrapolate what these photos are shouting at us?

Donald Trump violated the Constitution the moment he took an oath to uphold and protect it. We knew it as he did it — and yet did nothing. Failure of imagination — to act but also to recognize what the ripple effects of our failure would be. Our imaginations failed to tell us that there would even be ripple effects.

Yet, here we are.

Racism is failure of imagination. Extreme religiosity is failure of imagination. Of course it is — you’re letting an imaginary creature or creatures do all your thinking for you. Misogyny is failure of imagination. So’s bigotry and fear of LGBTQ people and intolerance and ignorance of any stripe. It’s all failure of imagination.

Fortunately, failure of imagination is fixable. All one has to do is step outside the box you’re living in, take off your normalcy bias blinders and open your damned eyes.

LOOK at what is instead of assuming you know what is. Actually LISTEN to people and what they need. Imagine solutions that aren’t earthbound. Yes, we can’t make the impossible possible. But we have to be willing to challenge the impossible. Better yet, let’s give our imaginations a chance.

We may find that what we thought was impossible isn’t.

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.