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.

Who Is Directly Responsible For The Shit-Show We’re In? THESE Guys…

While the whole world is now laser-focused on surviving Covid-19, it’s important to remember that this pandemic isn’t isolated. Yes, the original vector — whether from a live animal market in China or from bat guano that migrated from shoes to hands in a Chinese cave — would have presented regardless. But what happened afterwards — THAT would have been entirely different if, say, Hillary Clinton (or Barack Obama) was president rather than Donald Trump.

Trump’s reaction — as early as January, he was sacrificing rapid response for political appearances — was just Trump’s next step in dismantling the American government at the behest of Russia and his own raging ego. But the fact that Trump is in place — that he’s president to begin with — that, too, is part of our coronavirus problem. This really has been a perfect storm of authoritarian fuckery.

Authoritarians are great at wielding power, not so good at governing. And governing really isn’t about the good times — when things are running smoothly — governing is about the hard times — when citizens need help because of a natural disaster, a war — or a pandemic. And, one thing we know for a fact about republicans — when the hard times come, they won’t be the ones governing, they’ll be the ones profiteering.

So — why is coronavirus kicking the world’s ass? Because Donald Trump is president of the United States. And Donald Trump is POTUS because of himself of course but also because of THESE scumbags…

VLAD PUTIN

In Vlad Putin’s defense, he’s doing what we expect him to do. He’s a Russian nationalist, suckled by the dying Soviet intelligence state, a spymaster who also runs a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government. He has actively plotted against the West while dreaming of the return of a Greater Russia. Problem is, Vlad’s Greater Russia has a crap economy based entirely on oil. Sanctions are killing him — that’s why he needs them lifted. Putin recruited & nurtured Trump as early as the 80’s. Considering what his cyber war has cost him — pennies compared to a shooting war — Putin has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams and for virtually no money.

THE KOCHS/MERCERS/RW MONEY

While Putin was doing what Putin was doing, the Big Republican Money machine was busy too. As Reaganism peaked, the RW money saw something terrifying in the nation’s demographics — no them. America’s diversification (the source of our exceptionalism) was moving more rapidly. White people are going to become a minority. That’s just a fact. The Big Money Republicans (the Koch Brothers, David & Rebekah Mercer) saw that handwriting and resolved to DO something about it.

What the RW Money got was this: the presidency was pretty much out of reach for Republicans (take away Bush v Gore and Russia and there’d be a straight run of Democratic presidents). The House of Representatives is too mercurial to control — it is the Peoples’ House after all. Instead, Republicans focused on holding the Senate forever and using the power of confirming judges to control the most important part of their gambit: hijacking the judiciary.

That is the point of the exercise — lifetime appointments at the federal level especially SCOTUS seats. The goal — lock down the courts for another generation at least — making it hard for a Progressive House to get anything done or enact anything.

The ultimate goal, of course: Permanent Minority Rule.

MITCH MCCONNELL

One of the most corrupt people to ever serve in Congress. A weakling’s weakling who’s at his happiest abusing power for his patrons — the RW Money. And Russia.

Mitch’s greatest hits are well known — He’s taken gobs of Russian money into his PAC… he refused to let Obama tell We The People in September 20167 that Russia was actively attacking our election for the benefit of Donald Trump… He has enabled every anti-Democratic, un-American, pro-Russian move Trump has made… He got rid of the sactions on Oleg Deripaska (“former” Russian intelligence to whom Paul Manafort handed proprietary polling data on Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota before election 2016 — data which Deripaska weaponized and turned back on America as individualized propaganda appearing in individual Democratic voters’ Facebook pages. That most of those Democratic voters were people of color — and the ads were accusing Hillary Clinton of racism (in an environment where she was constantly under assault?) Oleg Deripaska is engaged in an info/cyber war against us.

That makes what Mitch did TREASON.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, listens during a news conference after a weekly GOP luncheon meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. McConnell said he’s delaying the Senate’s August recess by two weeks after divided lawmakers have been unable to agree on how to revise health-care legislation he proposed to replace Obamacare. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BILL BARR

Trump wanted a Roy Cohn and he got one. Every Democrat who said yes to Barr has some ‘splainin’ to do. Barr’s lies about the Mueller Report weren’t his first time at the Bullshit Rodeo. Barr did that once before during Iran-Contra. Barr is a rabid Christo-Fascist who wouldn’t know Jesus if he stopped mid-way through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in Jesus’s eye. Bar lied about the Mueller Report — completely mischaracterizing its conclusions. He tried to do the same thing with impeachment.

If Bill Barr were out of the equation? Donald Trump would already be facing prosecution for high crimes, misemeanors, low crimes, rape, election fraud and treason.

DONALD TRUMP

Every time the bloated orange jackal turd opens his anus mouth, he literally tells us how guilty he is.

If only we’d believe him…

In Essence, Donald Trump’s Just A Glorified Car Thief — Who’s Stolen America’s Car

Something I struggle with daily is our news media’s raging inability to tell the story we’re all part of. Had our main stream news media not normalized “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy-grabbing” in favor of “her emails”, we might not be at the precipice right this second. To Donald Trump’s infinite credit, he has the innate ability to ID the most susceptible to his perverse brand of bullshit and then sell those rubes as much bullshit as they can swallow. He’s always known the majority of the press are among those rubes — and he’s played them accordingly.

For reference-sake: back when the GOP-dominated House went after all attempts to investigate Trump’s 2016 campaign and its deep involvement with Russia, they went hard after the Steele Dossier of course. They were desperate to undermine its integrity. One has to wonder why… . The GOP hauled Glenn Simpson, one of the founders of Fusion GPS, the oppo research firm that sub-contracted out to Christopher Steele, before Congress to answer “tough questions” about why Fusion was investigating Trump and his campaign.

Simpson described how Fusion — being pro’s — did their due diligence before beginning their work in earnest. They got their hands on every piece of publicly available material about Trump — every book, every magazine or newspaper article, every TV show or radio interview, every burp or fart Trump committed in public, Fusion got its hands on it. What they found there (Simpson testified) — in publicly available material — so concerned them that they hired Christopher Steele (former MI6 Russia desk guru) to investigate further; Steele, it was agreed upon, had excellent sources inside Russia. Fusion saw money laundering. They saw corruption. They saw criminal behavior.

They saw a car thief.

Maybe our news media’s problem is they just can’t wrap their heads around the enormity of the crime we’re talking about here. It’s epic in its evil. It’s unthinkable. And yet it is. They did it. It’s a fact. Donald Trump and the Republican Party conspired with Russia to pervert the outcome of now multiple American elections. Their intention: to get and hold onto political power forever — in defiance of the wishes and will of the American electorate. It’s as bad as bad can be. Worse even.

But let’s see the crime more metaphorically. America is an amazing car that everyone wants to drive around in. It’s crazy with innovations. It’s fast, too. Big, of course, and roomy. But there are rules to how you get to drive this car. For starters, the car belongs to The American People.

We allow special people — people we vet — to drive the car for four years at a time. If they treat the car respectfully, we’ll let them drive it around for another four years. But, first they have to earn the right to drive the car. Driving the car, you see, comes with rights. And privileges.

And responsibilities. We make you take an oath about how you’ll drive our car. It spells out how important it is to us that you drive our car responsibly and not like some asshole out for a joyride.

If you go through the vetting process to the American Peoples’ satisfaction, we’ll hand you the keys — with the understanding that the car is NOT yours — it’s ours and we retain the right to take back the keys if you violate your oath to drive our car responsibly.

Donald Trump didn’t do that however. Donald Trump pretended to go through the vetting process. But even as he took part in the vetting, Donald was talking to his Russian pal Vladimir. Vlad has always coveted our car. He knows he can’t drive it — but he’d like to have influence over whoever drives our car. If Vlad had influence over the person driving America’s car? He could get them to drive the way Vlad likes, going places Vlad likes, running errands Vlad wants run.

Vlad saw a way to control how America’s car gets driven by getting Donald Trump to do his dirty work. Trump — with Vlad’s help — figured out how to STEAL our car. For real! Vlad figured out how to go around our car’s security system. He even found a way to start the car without the keys. We had another driver in mind for the next four years — a lady named Hillary.

Instead, on the day we intended to hand Hillary the keys, we walked out to the driveway to find our car stolen.

The car was out there all right — but Donald Trump was sitting behind the wheel. Donald insisted he’d done all the vetting properly — and even paid for the car. His friends all agreed. Nothing untoward here. The car, Donald & his buddies all insisted, was legally Donald’s. He would get to drive our car around for the next four years.

From the moment Donald slid behind the wheel, we felt weird about the whole thing. Donald never acted like he had any experience with a car like ours. He didn’t seem to care to be taught HOW to drive it around. He was convinced that however he drove the car — that was how the car was supposed to be driven.

And if the car broke down — which he insisted it was doing repeatedly (though we didn’t seem to think it was happening), he alone could fix it.

So, we’re standing there — in our driveway — staring at the street where Donald is sitting behind the wheel of our car. “You never earned the right to drive our car,” we insist. Donald grins sheepishly for a second then catches himself. He doesn’t have to “earn” the right to do anything. He’s a Trump.

Donald lays on the horn. The car is his, he insists.

“Can we see the papers then?” we ask — “Show us the bill of sale & the new registration so we can ascertain that indeed you are the car’s new rightful driver. Instead, Donald drives off — with our car — laughing as he pulls away, revving the engine too high.

Fearing for ourselves and the car, we call the cops. Problem is, the head cop — guy named Bill Barr — is a good friend of Donald’s. He insists Donald didn’t steal our car and therefore won’t press charges against Donald. In fact, Bill insists that Donald can do whatever he likes with our car. He can drive it dangerously. He can replace all the good parts with crap. He can sell off parts to his friends — or let his friends drive around in it — or drive it even.

Turns out, just after Donald stole the car, he wasn’t even behind the wheel most of the time. Vladimir was. That’s the most worrying part of it. All this time we thought Donald was driving our car? It was Vladimir — and Vladimir is dead set on wrecking our car. He won’t disable it; we’ll be able to drive around. But no one will want to drive our car anymore — the way they all did. They won’t even want to see it near their driveways. Or in their neighborhoods. Or zip codes even.

Donald Trump intends to make our car his forever. He intends for our stolen car to stay stolen. Forever.