If Democrats Acted Like Republicans, Here’s What They’d Be Doing Right Now

Moments after SCOTUS Judge Anthony Kennedy retired, Donald Trump seemed to drop a bomb on him: I doubt Trump told Judge Kennedy his parking wouldn’t be validated.

Sometimes, I honestly wish Democrats approached politics with the same heartless killer instinct Republicans do. The reason America is facing this existential crisis is precisely because Republicans behave so differently from Democrats. Democrats frustrate everyone — ourselves included — because we focus on process over emotion. Reacting to one’s emotions is far easier of course because all one has to do is react. Governing can’t work that way. It just can’t. Administering justice in a fair, equal way — completely sans politics — takes a lot longer to administer than the criminal acts being prosecuted took to commit. And, as in our faces as Trump and the GOP’s criminal behavior is, the prosecution of same can’t be in anyone’s face because it has to play by strict rules. And, often, strategically, one wouldn’t want to give away one’s battle plan especially when dealing with criminals.

Stone cold fact: The Republicans are now operating — with two exceptions (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) — as a criminal enterprise in the midst of a treasonous, soft coup d’etat. What began as a culture war bent on attaining permanent minority rule became treasonous when the GOP (grudgingly at first) hitched their power-grab to Donald Trump while KNOWING that he was owned outright by Russia. The hold Trump has always had over the GOP’s leadership is less the GOP’s fear of its ravenous base than their own, personal knowledge that Trump was a traitor — and their willingness to overlook his treachery in order to seize and hold onto power. When certain Republicans say they don’t like Trump but like his policies, what they mean is “treason’s okie-dokie with ’em cause it’s making em rich!”

Democrats can never be Republicans because we simply do not think the same way. Democrats often seem like a disorganized rabble because, to a large degree, that’s what we are. We are what E Pluribus Unum looks like. It’s messy with many, many individuals marching to their own drums. That’s why we seem to be exactly as Will Rogers described us a hundred years ago when he said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. Republicans, OTOH, come from a more homogenous place — whiteness and the need to maintain whiteness as the ruling culture (everyone else and their cultures be damned!) That’s why Republicans are good at marching together, in lock-step. Their purpose is very common.

Despite our “American Dream” ideals, the playing field in America has never been level. Rich white guys like Donald Trump and George W. Bush really do think they put themselves on third base. They dread the thought of competing with the “Pluribus” because the Pluribus is what makes America exceptional. But the Pluribus — America’s diversity — will be our democracy’s saving grace. In places like Germany, fascism was facilitated by homogeneity. Even “good Germans” who remained anti-fascist, did so on the quiet; that wasn’t so much cowardice (though it was) as Germans succumbing to an organic compulsion to “follow orders” because order is culturally important. America doesn’t have that tradition as a larger cultural marker. That’s a product of diversity, of course. Though white culture has dominated America historically, that’s not because white culture is superior (despite what it thinks); white culture was clever enough to articulate the idea that “All men are created equal” but not clever enough to actually get it right in practice.

That’s not failure of the idea that “All men are created equal”, it’s the failure of the idea’s terribly flawed execution.

Because Democrats don’t think in power-grabbing terms, we don’t think about what you’d have to do to power-grab. But, because Republicans had a clear mission in mind — permanent minority rule — they deliberately went after power at the most local level first (like running for school boards) then built upward from there. Control of local politics gave Republicans the ability to gerrymander voting districts so as to more or less foreclose on political victory before any election. Texas Republicans got away with writing and passing absurd, outlandish, offensively anti-democratic legislation because they could. Whether or not it stands up at the SCOTUS — ah, there’s another benefit to working at ground level.

No Democrat would ever (or could ever) conceive of seizing the judiciary or denying a sitting POTUS a SCOTUS seat he was entitled to BECAUSE HE’S PRESIDENT. But Republicans would — as they did. C’mon, WHY did Mitch McConnell (walking point for the Right Wing money’s deliberate assault on the judiciary) deny Obama all those lifetime judgeships and Merrick Garland so much as a hearing? Why did it suddenly become not just “okay” to nominate and confirm a SCOTUS judge with a presidential election on the horizon but imperative? That’s a loaded question of course. Mitch has always operated with the assumption that, no matter what, he will skate through this because of who he is and what he is. Money + power, Mitch believes, will absolutely = permanent minority rule.

Even as it was happening in real time, serious journalists were asking pointed questions about the strange timing of Kennedy’s retirement from the SCOTUS, his son’s job at Deutsche Bank (where he dealt directly with Trump’s account — the one suspected of money laundering), Brett Kavanaugh’s debts being paid off, the bogus background the FBI did on Kavanaugh and his obvious perjury during the confirmation hearings). Because they controlled everything including the Department of Justice, the Republicans were able to contain any and all threats that real investigations would pose. And though we wish Merrick Garland would message more aggressively (hell, we’d be thrilled if he’d message PERIOD!), there are plenty of indications that the DOJ is investigating various things that do matter to plenty of Americans. It’s just soooooooooo slowly that it looks utterly inert.

Republicans regularly accuse Democrats of being traitors but they never do anything about it because they have zero receipts to back it up. Democrats, by contrast, are reluctant to call Republicans traitors — even with a shitload of hard evidence in front of them. Democrats have been seduced into thinking they must be “bi-partisan” even if most Republicans spit at the word”.

The time for seeing the world this way, for even thinking of it this way, is done. You can’t be bi-partisan with traitors and you can’t compromise with evil. The traitors and evil will never compromise. Instead, because you compromised, treason and/or evil gained a significant toehold inside you.

If Democrats acted like Republicans, the following things would already be happening:

1 Brett Kavanaugh would be impeached already for having perjured himself during his confirmation hearing. The same goes for EVERY SINGE JUDGE TRUMP NOMINATED. The Democrats would have already found and prosecuted every last instance of a Trump judicial nominee perjuring himself.

2 Every Republican Who Even “Might Have” Helped Plan The January 6 Insurrection Would Already Be Behind Bars which means insurrectionists like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene would no longer be members of Congress. Democrats would be pushing hard to identify everyone inside Congress and inside the White House who helped PLAN the insurrection in any way. Republicans would be very clear that January 6 could never have happened without the conspiracy to plan the insurrection that took place January, 3, 4 and 5 (and even earlier).

3 Matt Gaetz Would Be Doing Hard Time Already

4 Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, Wilbur Ross, Elaine Chao, Rod Rosenstein And Every Other Person Trump Hired Would Be Up To Their Necks In Criminal Investigations

5 Every Republican In Congress Would Have Already Been Placed Under Oath And Benghazi’d Mercilessly

6 Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy (among many others in the GOP’s leadership) would be doing hard time.

And, most importantly, 7) Donald Trump’s entire family would already have been prosecuted out the wazoo — and doing hard time for life — with a shitload of additional prosecutions yet to begin. The Trumps would already have lost every building they owned to seizure. Every financial crime would be exposed. Every ill-gotten gain would be lined up as evidence to be used at trial.

After a certain point, one must stop giving people undeserving of the benefit of the doubt any benefit of any doubt. One must start looking at them and the world with eyes wide open. It would be criminal to let those bent on destroying the rule of law use the rule of law to destroy it. Literally criminal. And it would be stupidly wrong-headed for Democrats to assume Republicans are anything other than criminals.

We don’t have to (and aren’t going to) behave like criminals. Both sides don’t do that. Both sides aren’t the same. And the America we want for ourselves and our children is the diametric opposite of the world Republicans want. We may need to “color outside the lines” to solve this problem; we may have to stretch the rule of law up to its breaking point but we must.

The Republicans aren’t playing a game here. They’re playing for keeps. If only our news media could see the difference.

Democrats Eat Their Own (Usually) Because They Deserve It; Republicans On The Other Hand…

To every rule, there’s an exception. Andrew Cuomo is turning into one of those. The last time a prominent Democrat not named Bill Clinton faced charges of sexual impropriety of any sort was Al Franken. If Franken’s transgression had surfaced today instead of when it did, I have to wonder if Franken would resign now because the context has changed so profoundly. While the main accusations deserve scrutiny because of who made them (and why — and there was most definitely a “why” unconnected to the acts themselves), there were other women who said Franken made them feel uncomfortable at various times. If Franken was still in office today, those accusations would all have to be heard and if Franken, assuming old school rules of conduct, did indeed cause anyone to feel uncomfortable then apologies would have to be made of course. And so would a commitment to not ever do it again and an even bigger commitment to use the power of his office to help that effort in any way he could. Democrats, for better or worse, are the party host who can’t help cleaning up before the party’s even over.

It simply is not in any Progressive’s nature to worship a person over policy. We’ll remain loyal to a public servant only so long as they truly serve the public. Democrats may produce charismatic leaders (like Clinton) but we never get lost in their thrall the way Republicans have done with Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. It’s simply not in any progressive Democrat’s character to think a person — even Bill Clinton — can transcend the public they’re elected to serve. But then, diversity all by itself makes anything remotely like Trump worship impossible among progressives or Democrats. Too many cooks in the kitchen with too many strong opinions. Democrats are still the rabble of whom Will Rogers said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. Exactly so. And that’s exactly why Democrats could never march in lock step with each other the way Republicans so happily do.

And yet, if there’s one thing that will get most (you can never say all) Democrats to line up, it’s moral issues. That’s not “moral issues” as Republicans refer to them (coldly and cynically), it’s actual morality — the foundational kind that you either have or don’t and Republicans don’t. Before New York AG Tish James was halfway through her very detailed, very disturbing report on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s consistently sexual behavior toward women, pretty much every Democrat worth anything was demanding that Cuomo resign. Cuomo’s pre-recorded defense did nothing to change that; if anything, Cuomo’s digging in his heels made it worse. He will be impeached if he doesn’t step down. It really isn’t a question.

The GOP is the White Entitlement & Grievance Party. If they could stop time and prevent the future from ever happening, they’d do it. The view the past — when white men were one hundred percent of American political power — with longing. If they could snap their fingers and bring it all back just like “that”, it would already be our new reality. The only bad behavior, in their eyes, is behavior that interferes with their ongoing coup d’etat.

Republicans have zero interest in the rule of law since the rule of law says they can’t do what they’re doing (because it’s illegal). The advantage to acting like a criminal is that you never have to sweat getting the rules right since, in your mind, there are no rules. There’s just whatever you can get away with.

It would be bad enough if Republicans were just behaving like monsters. Alas, they’re so much more than monsters. And considering what Republicans have done and where they’ve been — would you want their corruption anywhere near your mouth?

At The End Of The Day, It’s ALL About TREASON

If only our news media could aggregate the story they’re reporting. If only our news media did its due diligence the way Fusion GPS did when they were hired (by Trump-fearing Republicans) to do oppo research on Donald Trump. If only Republicans hadn’t gutted campaign finance laws and made dark money the root of our politics — making it easy for Russia to put money wherever it wanted to. If only so many Republicans — including Mitch McConnell — hadn’t been filling their campaigns’ pockets with Russian cash (as if Russian cash didn’t have huge strings attached to it). If only conservatives weren’t so hell bent on conserving America circa 1850. If only Democrats acted like Republicans and behaved ruthlessly when in power (but then, if Democrats did that, they’d already BE Republicans, so never mind). The most frustrating thing about the mess that we’re in is how preventable it was! At so many points in the story, a rush of patriotism would have stopped what Trump and the GOP were/are doing dead in its tracks. Even a quick hit of journalistic integrity would have done the trick.

But, hey, a boy can dream, can’t he?

At the very center of our story are TWO THINGS: 1) Vladimir Putin’s desire to see a “Greater Russia” returned to its “glory days” (plus a desire to be even richer than he already is) and 2) the Republican Party’s appreciation for the demographic peril it faced and its deeply cynical, anti-democratic response.

Putin’s not some “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” as Winston Churchill described Russia. He’s a highly trained, highly skilled intelligence officer (who was smart enough to navigate and end up running the intelligence service which he used to leverage Boris Yeltsin OUT of the presidency and him INTO it). He’s corrupt to his bone marrow — if only because he has to be just to survive. Putin’s less a “head of state” than a crime boss with a government at his disposal. Aside from petroleum, Russia has ZERO to offer the world’s markets. And, in the pantheon of corruption, nothing corrupts quite like oil. Putin himself has two problems: 1) he needs to destabilize Western democracies because they pose a threat to his dream of a Greater Russia. Putin wants places like the Ukraine to be part of Greater Russia, not NATO. Problem 2) Putin can’t bank his enormous stash o’ cash in Russia because, as he knows, Russian banks are corrupt; that means he MUST “bank” his cash in the West where, if the West took its head out of its ass, it would realize Putin is incredibly vulnerable.

Evil doesn’t pay for itself. Someone has to cash flow it. Literally. Or the people perpetrating the evil will find something better to do with their time. That’s the thing, ya see — most evil is incredibly banal. At least, it starts that way.

Check out the “murderer’s row” of banality that is the current Republican Party (that’s BEEN the GOP for a generation at least). Kevin McCarthy? Matt Gaetz? Jim Jordan? Devin Nunes? Ron DeSantis? Marjorie Taylor Greene? These mediocrities all think white supremacy’s a “thing”.

But, more importantly, check out the Right Wing money and what IT has been up to. The Koch Brothers (back when there were two of them; now it’s only Charles carrying the libertarian flame) and the Mercers understood what was coming. They’re very smart people,. Deeply conservative, too. The thing they wanted most of all to CONSERVE was America how it WAS — back when nobody questioned the idea that white people should run everything (and be the only ones voting). Charles Koch saw demographic extinction in the GOP’s future. America as a white majority country is over with. Take away judicial interference a la Bush v Gore or outright theft (Donald Trump) and the Republicans can’t win the White House ever again. The House of Representatives is too mercurial to control but gerrymandering can greatly undermine the majority’s pro-Democratic will. That left the Senate and the judiciary.

The Senate’s structure mimics the Electoral College’s big nod to racism. Why exactly are there TWO Dakotas while Washington, DC and Puerto Rico can’t get statehood? Is it because there were sooooooo many Dakotans? Let’s be real. The reason there are as many western states as there is is to limit the influence urban areas have over our politics. The west was always deeply conservative. But things change; look at California. This is where Ronald Reagan started his rise. That could not happen today. Hell,, Reagan couldn’t even get elected by Republicans today never mind Democrats.

Though the GOP hated Trump and wanted anyone but him to be their candidate — they even KNEW that Russia owned him before they nominated him — when the moment of truth came, they went through with nominating Trump instead of calling the FBI on him. “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump, swear to God!” said current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy as he entered a room of GOP leaders back in 2016. No one seemed especially startled by McCarthy’s pronouncement. No one balked. No one called the FBI. Instead, the entire GOP leadership agreed with then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan. The subject of Donald Trump’s vulnerability to compromise by a hostile foreign government was not going to leave that room. “That’s how we know we’re family,” said Speaker Ryan.

Literally EVERYTHING the Republican Party has done since that moment has been either in service of treason or an attempt to cover up that treason. Once you lap over into treason, everything you do — except confess — is in furtherance of your treason. And everyone who even SUSPECTS that you’re a traitor is obligated by law to DO something about it other than “fret”. Thoughts and prayers don’t count either. Telling someone. THAT is a citizen’s OBLIGATION.

What the Republican Party has done is truly monstrous. It’s unfathomably awful. It borders on the unthinkable. It’s not hard to grasp why most American journalists haven’t yet grasped the full, unfathomable monstrosity that it is. And yet, there it is! Having had their perspective sucked from them by “both sides do it” journalism, most journalists relentlessly insisted that other than a few details, Republicans and Democrats were exactly alike, both parties doing everything for entirely political reasons. That has NEVER been true. Modern Democrats (we now represent the values the Republican Party claimed when it launched in 1854) are the diverse, hard-to-organize crowd Will Rogers said “wasn’t an ‘organized’ political party” . That’s what diversity does — it’s harder to organize but produces far more exciting, resourceful and just-plain-BETTER problem-solving for our collective problems.

E Pluribus Unum is what makes America great. Conservatism, greed, corruption and racism don’t.

Diversity and progressivism do not threaten America’s future. Treason, on the other hand…

False Narratives, The GOP And The News Media: How Bullsh*t Goes Nuclear

How in the hell did America’s news media get it into their heads that “both sides do it”? Nothing has been more destructive both to journalism and journalists than this idiotic, deeply cynical, perspective-free point of view. Do both sides do it because they’re the same? Or is it just a freak of nature that “both sides do it” despite being nothing like each other? What’s the “it” both sides are “doing” anyway? For starters, no — both sides aren’t the same. If Democrats were “like” Republicans they’d BE Republicans. But Democrats (that’s modern Democrats, not the Democrats of the Democratic Party that opposed Lincoln and ultimately became the Dixiecrats which ultimately became the Southern Strategy oriented “modern” Republican Party) are utterly incapable of marching in lock step like Republicans. Republicans are capable of all believing one thing right down to the chorus and response. Democrats, on the other hand, suck at marching in lock step. They can’t even agree on what “lock step” actually is.

The modern Democratic Party is still every bit the group about which Will Roger famously said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. When you’re the party of diversity and inclusion, you don’t exclude anyone. You simply don’t think that way. Put ten Democrats in a room, you’re likely to get ten different opinions. The trick, as always, is negotiating a compromise that everyone can live with while quietly hating. Democrats are idealist but pragmatic. That’s the nature of progressivism: it lives in the real world of data points while never surrendering its aspirations. How do we get ‘there’ from ‘here’? That’s the question.

Also worth noting, the Democrats, being diverse, are not the doggedly dogmatic “Christian” party Republicans are. That’s why Republicans so good at goose-stepping together: they can all agree on the same dogma.

Democrats do not do things for the same reasons Republicans do. Democrats, by their nature, favor people over profits. Republicans, by their nature, do the exact opposite. They always favor profits over people. Modern Republicans are very much the Democrats who opposed Lincoln. They haven’t changed a bit; down deep, plenty of people who proudly stick that “R” next to their names would probably vote to bring back slavery if they could only find a way to get it onto a ballot. The only difference is, this time, they’d make a point of enslaving more of us.

As we stand here today, the Republican Party has declared open war on our democracy. Can’t blame them, really… what good is democracy to you if no one will vote for you? But then, who except for white, Christian men see the 1850’s as a “Golden Age”? The RW money grasped in the post Reagan years that the Republican Party faced demographic extinction. It was never a question of adaptation to changing circumstances. Change is anathema to conservatism. Instead of changing themselves, they set out to change the rules. That is not the same thing as “governing”.

But, “Both Sides Do It” refuses to “judge” anyone. It divorces itself from taking sides in any way — even when taking sides is necessary. “Both Sides Do It” assumes that everyone has a point of view. Fair enough — in fact, I agree. Everyone does have a “point of view”. But not everyone point of view has “a point”. I have a point of view about being molested twice by the religious director at the temple my family attended when I was a kid. So does the guy who molested me. If you sat us both down and asked us: “What happened?”, we could both tell you a different side of the story. BUT — just because my molester has a point of view here, that does not mean he has a point. That’s a completely different thing.

Not every point of view is justified. In other words, not every point of view has a “point”.

Hey, remember how our NEWS MEDIA used to entertain discussions about “the climate debate”? Remember when it WAS a “debate”? It shouldn’t have been, of course. Still, because of “both sides do it” and the compulsion to invent false narratives, our news media would put a climate scientist on one side of the screen and a science denier on the other — presented visually as a total “50-50”. Regardless of the information flowing, VISUALLY, the image says both sides have the same validity. Who’s telling the truth? Don’t know — it’s a 50-50.

That happened because our news media refused to “take sides” and call obvious bullshit what it was: BULLSHIT. Instead, our news media regularly gave bullshit credence.

When you automatically give every argument, sight unseen, the benefit of the doubt, you are setting yourself up for failure. Inevitably, some of those arguments benefitting from your largesse are total bullshit. When you ask the question — as too many American journalists do (in their own way) “Yeah, but what IF bullshit was true…?”, you automatically give bullshit credence it does not deserve. It didn’t give itself legitimacy, the journalist supposing it “could” have legitimacy did that.

Once you spray bullshit with the patina of legitimacy, it never goes away. That bit of bullshit might supersede reality. Next thing you know, bullshit rules everything. And everything is bullshit. Every time a journalist sticks a mic in a Republican’s face, they treat that Republican as an honest actor; it’s what they’re supposed to do. But when you stick your mic in a liar’s face — and they lie to you as expected — it doesn’t serve anyone to act as if the lie is true. Now, either the reporters giving Republican arguments credence know they’re being lied to — and allowing their Republican interview subjects to get away with it — or they’re ignorant that they’re being lied to in which case, they’re too ignorant to be working as journalists.

There is good news on the horizon. Slowly, more and more members of America’s Fifth Estate are opening their eyes not only to the actual story they’ve been mis-reporting now for five years but to the fact THAT they’ve been mis-reporting it because they repeatedly treated Republicans as honest actors when, clearly, they’ve been nothing of the sort.

“The sun sets in the west,” Lester Holt said while delivering the keynote address at the 45th Murrow Symposium while achieving the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, “Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention”. Abso-tutely, Lester! Your duty “is to be fair to the truth” first not every dumbass argument spewed by dumbasses.

Donald Trump is what happens when bullshit becomes not only pervasive but president. Our news media is what happens when bullshit becomes mistaken for journalism.

Racists, Rapists And Republicans All Have A “Point Of View”; None Of Them Have A “Point” However

A bully bullies someone. Both bully and bullied have a point of view of the bullying. The bully’s point of view: I bullied; the bullied’s: I was bullied. If pressed to defend what they did though, unless the bully can prove — with receipts — that he had a good reason for bullying someone (good luck with that) — odds are good the bully will use the closest excuse he can find as a justification. That’s because he doesn’t have a justification for hurting someone. He did it because he’s a bully. And doing things just because you’re a bully will not stand up either in court or in a court of public opinion.

Racists have a point of view. Don’t we know it? But racists can’t defend their racism. Same goes for rapists. The man who sexually molested me twice when I was fourteen — he had a point of view — an internal reason why he felt it was okay to do what he did to me. But, if, someone had walked in and stopped my molester mid molestation and asked him “What the hell are you doing to this 14 year old boy?”, for all his hemming and hawing, he would not have been able to defend what he did.

“Both Sides Do It” brand journalism bears a lot of responsibility. It assumes everyone does the same things and does them for the same reason. That’s bullshit, of course. Republicans and Democrats are not even remotely the same kind of people and don’t do things for the same reasons. Democrats simply cannot march in lockstep the way Republicans can. It’s simply not in our nature. We really are the same group of which Will Rogers famously said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”.

What possible “point” could Donald Trump have for anything he’s ever done other than because he’s a greedy prick? Or a racist or a rapist or a traitor?

What justified point could Trump have for trying to overthrow a free and fair election? What point could ANY Republican have for STILL refusing to acknowledge that Biden-Harris won, Trump-Pence lost?

What point could Donald Trump possibly have for being lifetime president of the Washington, DC chapter of the Vladimir Putin Fan Club?

What point could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?

What point could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What point could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What point could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What point could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What point could Mitch McConnell have had back in the day for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What point dis former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?

What point did any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office the first time? What point could they possibly have for not doing it now — when Trump’s no longer in office?

What point does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist, seditionist traitors. No one any of us would really want to know.

“Both Sides Do It” Journalism Is Immoral; It Needs To STOP

I just watched morning host Cris Jansing — while interviewing fellow host Joe Scarborough about his Harry Truman bio — ask if Joe DiGenova (one of Donald Trump’s LAWYERS!) suggesting execution for people with whom they disagree politically was just “some strategy”. The obvious answer is “No, of COURSE that’s not just “some strategy”. Wanting to execute people with whom you disagree is monstrous. It’s evil and indefensible. Yet Chris Jansing called it a “strategy”. What if executing political foes WAS a Trumpian strategy? What would Chris Jansing call it then? What would Chris call such an immoral strategy? Would she break down and call it “immoral”?

She should. But, the fact that we don’t know that she would? That’s as much a reflection on Chris as it is the school of journalism she practices: “Both Sides Do It”.

Journalists need skepticism in their tool belt. Too many think cynicism is just another brand of skepticism. It’s not. They’re two very different things. A skeptical journalist wants receipts for everything — or, hopefully, enough good circumstantial evidence that “equals” a receipt. A cynical journalist just flat out assumes the worst possible outcome because everyone’s a scumbag. End of story.

From that point of view, a thief is a thief is a thief no matter the scope of the thievery. Bernie Madoff stealing billions (albeit mostly from millionaires) is exactly the same as, say, Jean Valjean (the hero of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables) stealing bread to feed hungry people. A thief is a thief is a thief: both sides do it. Except, really, they don’t. Scale matters. Motivation matters. Patterns of behavior matter.

Yet something in “Both Sides Do It” can’t aggregate anything. While assuming the worst of people, it doesn’t aggregate the “worst” — the reasons for thinking the worst. So, if Donald Trump says “pussy grabbing” after insisting that “Mexicans are rapists”, “Both Sides Do It” journalism doesn’t add those two together. By the time Trump said “pussy grabbing”, most “Both Sides Do It” journalists had already forgotten “Mexicans are rapists” as if some “other” offensive candidate had said it.

That’s the normalization process at work. By the time Trump got to “pussy grabbing”, “Both Sides Do It” journalists had already normalized “Mexicans are rapists”. It was just something a “different kind of potus candidate” says. And, eventually — the kind of thing a different kind of potus says. To normalize evil is to be evil. That’s because evil never compromises with anyone. People always compromise with IT. And the moment you do? It’s “game over”. Evil just won.

Among “Both Sides Do It’s” worst offenders is NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell.

Kelly is an award-winning journalist. She’s respected by other journalists. That’s a problem. She’s not just terrible at her job, she’s immoral and every time she gets on camera, she spews immoral journalism at us. Kelly thinks her job is to faithfully report whatever Donald Trump or his administration says without editorializing. In “normal world”, reporting about a “normal administration”, that would be one thing. That has NEVER been the case here. Reporting lies you KNOW are lies without FIRST pointing out that they’re lies is journalistic malpractice at best.

Is there a line in the sand for Kelly? Is there something Trump might say that was so deliberately cruel and egregiously incorrect that even Kelly might hesitate before repeating it? For instance — what if Trump spewed “And, by the way — people tell me Kelly O’Donnell eats children for breakfast!”? Would Kelly O repeat the president’s words faithfully because, well, “they’re the president’s words”? Or would Kelly O FINALLY draw a line in the sand?

Would Kelly O think “Hey, wait a minute — I KNOW I don’t eat children for breakfast (too much cholesterol!)” Would she say to herself “If I repeat these words, people might think they’re true — that I really DO eat children for breakfast!”? Would she put her foot down finally and say “Mister President, NO! I refuse to repeat what you just said because it’s bullshit!”?

I wouldn’t hold my breath. I guess that makes me cynical where Kelly O is concerned.

Yeah, okay — ya got me. I have zero faith that reporters/hosts like Kelly O’Donnell or Chuck Todd or John King or Wolf Blitzer or Andrea Mitchell or Alex Witt or Kris Jansen will ever bring enough perspective with them to work each day to evolve. Even as the Chuck Todd’s shake their heads in consternation, unable to fathom why Trump or Republicans do the seemingly inexplicable things they do, they’re looking for ways Democrats do the exact same things.

Except Democrats don’t do the exact same things. If Democrats did the exact same things as Republicans, they’d BE Republicans. We don’t. We never have. We’re still every bit the same group of whom Will Rogers said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. Diversity doesn’t not march in lock step. It does the opposite; that’s its strength. “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one — preaches the opposite of “Both Sides Do It”. There are no “both sides”. There’s OUR side. The American side.

We are engaged in a Great Moral Struggle. The American People didn’t just “vote Trump out of office”, we repudiated him. More Americans voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris than have ever voted for any presidential ticket — and by a margin of over six million votes. As for Trump’s number, let’s stick a pin in it. As any journalist with an ounce of perspective would tell you, when Donald Trump complains about something, whining about it relentlessly, pay attention to it: he’s projecting his guilt. If Trump’s accusing Democrats of voter machine fraud, it’s because HE’S COMMITTING IT HIMSELF.

As I wrote here, when you “own” the machines, when you have full backdoor access to them, when you your political interests are tied in to one of the two parties whose elections you’re always tallying — and your business is completely unregulated — it offers opportunities to the less scrupulous. People avoiding transparency (could Diebold and ESS — who make the majority of American voting machines — have tried any harder to resist hand-marked paper ballots for security reasons?) shouldn’t be given a pass just because they’re white, Christian guys running a business. But “Both Sides Do It” journalism refuses to aggregate or judge a story. They get the pass every stinking time.

One could probably count the number of times on one hand that ANY American broadcast journalist or news show host reminded their audience before a segment that Donald Trump was the FIRST POTUS EVER to run for re-election HAVING BEEN IMPEACHED for CHEATING in the very election he was now running in. It’s never happened before. It’s truly extraordinary.

And yet — it never even made it INTO most news stories about the election. Both sides DON’T get impeached for cheating in elections. Both sides don’t get impeached over blow jobs either but that’s a whole other story.

I have to wonder. If we transported the bulk of American journalists from today back to Germany in 1931, how would they “represent”? Would they sniff out Hitler for the monster he was? Or would they “Both Sides Do It”? Would Hitler’s authoritarian violence just be the “Both Sides Do It” counter to those pesky communists protesting? People did see Hitler for who and what he was. Just not enough people in the right places.

That’s what makes “Both Sides Do It” journalism so dangerous to our democracy. Its lack of perspective isn’t just a character flaw, it’s a fatal one. It TURNS political behavior INTO innocuous behavior when Republicans suppress Democratic voters and turns a victim reporting a crime into political behavior when Democrats react to having their votes suppressed. When journalists refuse to judge these acts — and call them what they are up front — crime and crime victim become one and the same thing.

Both sides do NOT do it. They never have. They never will.

America Has To Reimagine Its Democracy — And How Its News Media Reports On It

When history looks back at the Trump era — asking how the hell it could have happened — after they compile a massive list of all the Republican Party’s corruption, they’ll compile a similarly massive list of all the ways our news media normalized, spread and profited from the GOP’s corruption. Journalism is the only non-governmental job enumerated in the Constitution. It shouldn’t be the collecting pool for egomaniacs who like to be on TV. It shouldn’t base its reporting on the demonstrably false assertion that “both sides do it”.

Because it’s bullshit.

Our system (unfortunately) forces us to make binary choices. This or that. The legislative process itself is supposed to be about compromise but the final choice of whether to do or not do is “yes” v “no”. It’s just the nature of binary choices that they increase polarization and reduce nuance. Both sides may do “something” but they’re not doing the same something — because they’re motivated by different things.

“Modern” Republicans (an oxymoron if ever there was one) are good at marching in lockstep. Modern Democrats not so much. Up until the 2020 election — where Democrats have unified like never before — we were still the exact same group about which Will Rogers said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. See, American News Media? NOT the same thing. Unorganized people CAN’T march in lockstep together.

Both sides don’t oppress the other sides voters. Both sides don’t think it’s normal to use the courts to stop counting votes. Both sides don’t embrace herd immunity as the way to solve our pandemic problem. Both sides don’t acknowledge on the down low that Donald Trump is the worst thing to ever hit America but, hey, “tax breaks”, ya know?

Both sides are not cynical. Only one side is — and that, unfortunately for us, is the side our news media keeps emulating. “Both sides do it” is a cynical sledge hammer where scalpel-like skepticism is called for. It’s malpractice atop bad writing atop brain dead, perspective-free analysis.

When we get to the other side of the Donald Trump Debacle — and we will because the overwhelming majority of Americans are done, done, DONE with Donald Trump and his Corruption Meets Treason Meets Fascism road show. We’re hip now to the stone cold fact that Trump did not “win” election in 2016, Russia won it FOR him (not the same thing). We’re hip to the fact that Trump just tried to pull the exact same illegal stunt THIS time (he thought the Hunter Biden computer would be this election season’s “but, her emails!”). That stunt, by the way, is what got Trump IMPEACHED!

Don’t forget: Trump is the first POTUS ever to run for re-election having been impeached for cheating in the very election HE’S RUNNING IN. That’s quite an accomplishment.

The last four year’s debasement of our political system has made clear: relying on norms over enforceable laws is foolhardy. Everything must be spelled out for some people — what’s illegal and what isn’t. Even so, they’ll still try to violate the spirit of the law while keeping to its letter. Perhaps if we baked a respect for the commonweal into our education system, we’d “indoctrinate” some of the greed and selfishness out of people.

Ours is a government OF the People, BY the People and FOR the people. That’s how self-government works. We do it for US. Anyone who stands outside of that larger purpose — and then tries to manifest their disrespect for our purpose in reality — to our detriment — needs to pay a price. Funny thing? When you hit greedy people in the pocketbook, the feel it even worse than if you had cut off a limb.

Makes punishing them easier.

While having to punish people sucks, real problems begin if we DON’T punish those deserving of our collective punishment. Bad behavior becomes more viable. Cheating to win becomes “one more way to win”. If we had punished Richard Nixon instead of pardoning him, the surviving Nixonites like Roger Stone and Paul Manafort would have been less inclined to act so subversively — because their subversion carried real risk.

Unfortunately, we keep cutting Republicans slack. We forget who they are and what they’ve done. Take Bill Barr. Lying about the Mueller Report wasn’t Barr’s first time at the “fix Republican criminality” rodeo. He covered up the Iran-Contra scandal so completely we don’t even remember it anymore. He covered up his cover-up so completely that a bunch of DEMOCRATS even approved Barr’s nomination — as if he hadn’t, in the past, taken a great, steaming dump all over them and the whole idea of “justice”.

To this day, most of our news media members have failed to do the same rudimentary due diligence on Donald Trump that Fusion GPS did when they got hired to do oppo research on Trump by the owners of the Washington Free Beacon back in 2016. The first thing Fusion did, co-founder Glenn Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017, was get ahold of every piece of PUBLICLY AVAILABLE information concerning Donald J. Trump. They got every book, magazine, newspaper, radio show, TV show, interview, snippet or blind item they could. What they found in PUBLICLY AVAILABLE material so convinced them that Trump was a Russian mob money laundering criminal that they hired Chris Steele to further investigate inside Russia.

Americans have already gone to the polls in record-breaking numbers because we want to preserve (and improve upon) our democracy. After we finish punishing the Republican Party for trying so hard to undermine that democracy, we will turn our gaze on the press.

I hope they’ll all be ready for their close up when the time comes…

Here’s The Question We Should All Be Asking: WHEN Did The GOP Collectively Decide To End Our Democratic Republic?

Yesterday, Lamar Alexander — Moscow Mitch McConnell’s Kentuckian partner in Senate Crime — gave the whole Republican game away. Yeah — the House proved its case beyond a shadow of a doubt. Donald Trump did everything he’s accused of. He did more — and we’re likely to learn about it. So what?

“So what?” is the Republican response to “But, the Constitution…” and “But, the Rule Of Law…” and “But, just basic logic says…”.

Let’s be clear — Mitch McConnell didn’t walk into that vote with any doubts how it would turn out. He has not a doubt how Wednesday’s vote will go. He can count — and he knows he can count ON every single other Republican there in Congress. Lamar Alexander put it plainly — “We all know that Trump 1) broke the law, 2) intends to KEEP breaking the law and 3) intends to break the law in order to UNDERMINE THE INTEGRITY of the election all the Republicans scream we should wait for.”

Our not-very-bright MSM keeps asking the same not-very-bright question: why, oh why does the Republican Party continue to back Donald Trump? WHY do they stay so loyal to him? How could they piss in the face of 70% – 80% of the country who wanted evidence and witnesses? It’s simple. Yes, on the one hand, the Senate is rigged to give real estate more say than human beings. Those Republican Senators don’t necessarily have to fear for their seats. But, don’t they have to fear for their souls?

“Juror” (sworn to impartiality) Mitch McConnell wasn’t the only Republican Senator to openly state how he intended to vote in this trial before it even began. Think of it — anyone with an “R” next to their name who took their oath seriously should have been horrified at the thought — because that meant their fellow jurors would be violating their oath — and perverting the solemn process they were now part of.

Please, say you’re laughing right now. Every Republican violated their oath during this trial. Every Republican knew they were doing it as they did it. Every Republican pretty much marches in lock step.

Hmmmmmm… Democrats never march in lock step — we’re too disorganized. What Will Rogers said early in the 20th century still holds true about us: “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. Republicans, by contrast, enjoy walking in lock step. They’re good at getting ORGANIZED like that.

Getting organized… you cannot march in lock step — even on a critical vote about a president everyone taking that vote KNOWS is guilty — without getting organized FIRST.

That means at some point in the past, a bunch of Republicans had to sit in a room together an GET organized — to march in lock step — to do the thing they’re not doing. Considering the extreme criminal nature of it — violating the Constitution in myriad ways — they had to CONSPIRE together.

No doubt, this criminal conspiracy started small. A handful of criminals — Mitch (representing the Money and the GOP’s deepest, darkest desires), Paul Ryan… Paul Ryan we know because when current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walked into a room of muckety-mucks during the 2016 GOP convention and said “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump“, Paul Ryan said “Let’s keep that ‘in the FAMILY’.”

Ya mean like ‘Crime Family’, Paul?

At some point this conspiracy to defraud Americans of a free & fair election spread as far & wide as the Russian money did to Republican campaign coffers. Not a single Republican raised their hand to say anything. Not a one called the FBI.

Quick Reminder: we KNOW that the Russians hacked into the Republicans same as they hacked into the Democrats. They spent all their Democratic hacking finds during 2016. The betting is they’ve been holding their Republican hacking all along — using it and lots of other material as kompromat. Once you’ve started down that road, there’s no going back shy of a confession.

The Republican Party knows exactly — E X A C T L Y — what it is doing here. It’s calculated. It’s planned.

You can’t really wing a coup d’etat after all and expect to get away with it.