The New York Times came under fire for asking, “Who is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?” A lot of outlets already knew.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 7:21 PM
The Russia-publicans (2018Jul18)
I’m disappointed that no one publicly asks why the agendas of Russia and the Republicans were so conveniently aligned during the 2016 election. Personally, I believe it has to do with Russia becoming a gangster-state with a mob boss for a leader, concerned with nothing but money and power. The Republicans are of the same mind, but feel hindered by having to pose as public servants.
The Republicans can’t overtly threaten their voters—they have to settle for disinformation campaigns that only do violence to the national consciousness. The Russian people have been at this longer—they know their leaders lie to them. They know this because it is against the law to question what they are told.
It’s not that Republicans are inherently bad (though that’s true enough for most of the elected Republicans) it is only that Republicans are the party of the rich. Cutting taxes and blocking regulations has always been their battle cry. (Ah, remember the days—Republicans used to tie themselves in knots to deny their link to wealth.)
Recent studies suggest a link between personality-type and political party. Thus, when I call Republicans the party of the rich, that would include those who are rich, those who are approaching rich, and those who dream of becoming rich—but use magical thinking to get there. The Republican party also attracts those who dislike change and those who avoid making waves.
As near as I can see, that makes about half the country. Elections, until recently, were not forgone conclusions in any race. However, if you have a charismatic candidate with a spoiled, pervy, quasi-criminal life-style, the Republican’s 50% drops down to 30-40%—which, sadly due to the Electoral College, is enough to win by.
I digress, but with a purpose—there is a syntactical quandary here. Whenever I lambast the Republicans, I can expect some Republican voter to take offense at my aspersions—as if I specifically meant him or her. Likewise, when I reach out to Republican voters, I cede undeserved humanity, even humanitarianism, to Republican politicians who have left their consciences far, far behind.
In the past, Democrats and Republicans went head-to-head—arguing the issues, not the candidate that represented their point of view. What could be said of the candidate (barring scandal—which used to matter) could be said of his or her voters.
But today we have Republican politicians and Republican voters—two entirely separate groups. If we try to damn the politicians, the voters take offense. If we try to tell the voters that they’re being duped (and, admittedly, it is bizarre) by both the Republican Party and the Russians—they get on their high horse and tell us that they are just as smart as we are. And contradicting them, at that point, is a waste of breath.
The fact is the Republican party, by being the party of the rich, has become the instrument of the rich—huge corporations and fabulously wealthy donors govern Republicans far more than Republicans govern the country. Money is all that matters to that power base—just as it is with Putin’s empire. So, the lack of connection to The People, and the obsessive greed, make Republicans and Russian Oligarchs a natural alliance.
And this is where the panic sets in—our very way of life is threatened, yet the threat stems from the dull wits of the next-door neighbor who hated Obama. We can’t make ourselves intelligent—and we have not made any provisions for the hurt feelings of slow people in a world under constant acceleration. Our Free Speech becomes a weapon on the Internet—and Trump has knee-capped America’s digital counter-intelligence forces (while waving the Space Cadet Force at us with his other hand).
This disgusting turncoat should have been impeached already. Continuing to give him the respect due to a serious president has gone past the point of farcical hypocrisy, into the area of ‘clear and present danger’. Thus, Trump and his family and goons are no longer the problem—he has given them ammunition for a hundred impeachments. The Republicans are the problem, here at the end, just as their unprincipled tactics created the opening for this era of mindless, hate-filled disgrace to our history.
The only thing more dangerous to our children’s futures than Climate Change—is being too stupid to worry about Climate Change, or the people it will kill. In a world where that is beside the point, you know something is terribly wrong.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:05 PM
Politics Free-Stylin (2018Jul17)
Usually I worry—I’m careful to be clear, calm, and correct in my statements. However, that puts me in a minority of one—so today I’m taking a day off. The following may not be journalism, but it is certainly how I feel.
Trump is a man without a country—an odd thing for our president to be. But money has no national allegiance, so the fact that Trump has no love for this country is understandable. He wasn’t interested in serving in the armed forces, he was frequently encouraged to enter politics, but always replied that he was too busy having fun and making money—basically, Trump never gave a shit about this government (or law and order) except for how he could circumvent the IRS, zoning boards, or charges of fraud.
But racism gets Trump excited with hopes of gaining approval from his late, KKK-marching, emotionally-distant father. There’s a cruel streak to it (well, when is racism not cruel?) as when he advocated bringing back the death penalty for the young black men tagged ‘Central Park Five’ by the press. When those five were acquitted of wrongdoing, Trump refused to accept a verdict that contradicted his obsession.
President Huckster won’t play by the rules—the rules are for experienced politicians, not for our special little boy—he won’t be a politician. He’ll be king—yes, king has a much nicer ring to it—and it has that age-old advantage of offering cover to an incompetent egotist—“I’m not wrong—you’re wrong. Off with their heads!”
Trump is a grotesque monster. He has re-branded Intolerance as ‘zero tolerance’. His family backs him up because he has raised them in fear—in fear of being cast out of Trump’s good graces at his slightest whim—and taught to fear non-super-wealth as the grinding poverty Trump so gleefully enforces on any non-whites he comes across.
If you think you’re thinking for yourself, that the media isn’t cramming their presumptions down our throats—then why is the word ‘impeachment’ so seldom heard, during the term of our worst ever president? They talked about it non-stop whenever any other president put a foot wrong. And why do we assume that the Republicans in power in Congress will ignore that remedy, no matter how criminal their chief asshole’s behavior is?
We are being taught by the Russians, and the Republicans, that our votes don’t matter—and they promote this lie because votes are the only thing that do matter—votes are the only thing that can veto the plutocrats who sit atop this country, feeding like hogs on the decomposition of American ideals.
So please—next November, vote like your country depends on it.
Monday, July 16, 2018 11:02 AM
Half-Assing the Presidency (2018Jul16)
When Trump’s cheerleaders say he does things differently, I cannot argue—however, that seems to put an unwarranted shine upon doing things poorly, incompletely, and without any sense of responsibility. Today’s New York Times Arts-Section reports that Trump’s administration has failed to award Presidential Medals for the Arts (or Sciences) thus far, creating yet another gap in the traditions of the White House. This is the same First Family that would have spaced out on the Easter Egg Roll last year, if the Easter Egg manufacturer hadn’t chivied them about their missing pre-order for the special wooden eggs.
The same article points out that Trump has an ‘awkward relationship with the arts’. He can hardly be called a patron (though, if you’re talking over-sized portraits of himself, his fraudulent charity might be interested). Collectible art has become its own investment-sector among the wealthy, but even so, Trump’s base precludes any public support of culture on his part, even if he had the wit to appreciate it. Culture, like science, is way off-brand for this administration.
Trump has no use for diplomacy or, for that matter, any function of the State Department. Even after replacing the top brass, Trump still has no use for the FBI. He gets uncomfortable with all the intelligence services, because they have this theory about the election. Also, they expect him to read this special morning briefing, every morning—and Trump doesn’t like to read—so he doesn’t read it.
Let me preface my next comment with some personal history—when I was little, my dad was fresh from serving as a Marine in Korea. He and my mom had five children, little money, and few prospects. But they sure knew how to work—my parents worked so hard, they worked nearly as hard as their parents had to, during the Great Depression. My parents were good parents—some of my friends’ parents’ behavior made that quite clear (other people’s families are like other planets—and some of them are cold and deadly).
Having said that: when we were very young, my father had the draconian and megalomaniac tendencies of the man who would become a self-made millionaire. He mellowed with time, but back then he could be strict, unreasonable, quick to take offense, and even quicker to lose his temper—a violent prima donna.
Having come this far, I still hesitate to say that Trump reminds me of my dad—it’s not fair to my dad, who was capable of both feeling shame, and seeing reason (eventually). All I’m really saying is: I’m familiar with the psychosis that inhabits the Oval today—I’m familiar with those shell-shocked, bug-eyed kids of his, too. I know when a man is substituting bluster for confidence—and when a man is more comfortable lying than allowing for imperfection.
But I hate to suggest an equivalence—my dad was no coward, no spoiled brat, and several-times-less of a bigot—and he worked his ass off, not just bossing people, but real working. His early parenting style, poverty-stricken and straight from boot camp, traumatized me more than my siblings—and he got better as time went on, slowly but surely. Still, this left me with a horror of people who insist on Authority taking precedence, even over Reason.
Which brings us back to Trump. At first, I felt fortunate—if he was without the slightest experience or in-depth knowledge of government, Trump would definitely do less damage than a real politician could, to forward his fascist deformation of America. Sadly, it turns out, the real politicians won’t behave so outrageously—but they’ll be outrageously silent in the face of Trump doing it. It’s tragic to learn just how shallow their lip-service to public service really is.
Trump’s agenda is two-fold: spoil anything Obama, and pander to the rich, especially himself. He doesn’t know from President—he just wanted to win a contest and purge his racist temper-tantrum. The greatest danger we face now is his growing awareness of and addiction to the immense destructive power of his office. Most people would be embarrassed to be torturing thousands of children and babies—and admitting that they started those internments without any plans to undo their violence. That would give most people pause. Not this clown.
Finally, to anyone who might suggest that Trump’s recent meetings with Kim and Putin are his ‘diplomacy’, let’s make a list of all the things those ill-advised coffee-klatches accomplished:
Friday, July 13, 2018 12:30 PM
Ask Me Why (2018Jul13)
We never dwell on the root of the issue. Why did Putin want Trump to win and Hillary to lose? For the same reason I wanted the opposite: because Hillary would have been a strong, competent leader—and Trump would threaten our values and, ultimately, our way of life. Hillary would have been a strong adversary of Putin’s, whereas Trump makes a ‘useful idiot’.
But it goes deeper than that—it’s not just Trump. We saw yesterday, at Strzok’s Congressional Circus and Sideshow, the Republicans—unwilling to give up their presidential election ‘win’, unable to admit that everyone who voted for Trump was duped, and pretending they don’t own the immortal shame of having supported a foreign agent as America’s chief executive.
In pursuit of this misguided delirium, the Republicans remain silent as Trump pulls one boner after another—flouting the law to ban Muslims and to cancel DACA, flubbing Puerto Rican disaster relief—killing thousands, instituting ‘zero-tolerance’ (which sounds better than ‘full nazi’) as an excuse to torture thousands of children—and break their parents’ hearts (as if those poor folks don’t have enough troubles).
Being against immigration—which made our nation great. Being against science—which made our nation great. Being against free trade—which made our nation great. The Republicans are entirely in the thrall of big business and the super-wealthy—they wait upon the pleasure of the enemies of the People.
The cognitive dissonance yesterday, at that joke of a hearing, was deafening: the Republicans, censuring the FBI hero for his personal comments about what a horror-show a Trump presidency would be—as if it were a crime to see the approaching fiasco for what it was—a criminal encroachment upon the American political system. And, jeez, that mess was corrupt enough before these neo-traitors made their move.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 5:07 PM
Ethics have No Promotional Budget (2018Jul11)
Lies are funded—partisanship spends most of its time fund-raising—lobbyists get paid the big bucks—and sensationalism sells. If anything is coming at you from a screen right now, the odds are high that it’s trying to sell you something. The games and movies, too—but those things are their own product—they try to sell you more by showing you pieces of the whole entertainment experience, and reminding you where to go to pay the money.
The other shows include advertising– trying to sell you something—as ‘brief’ interruptions—and they try to appeal to us strongly enough that we’ll endure the interruptions. Here’s where it gets convoluted—a televised (or streamed) news-show with sponsors should be bending over backwards to convince the sponsors of the professional and journalistic ethics of their shows.
One might blithely assume that the sponsors would be afraid to be associated with a new organization that couldn’t be trusted. This, sadly, is not the case. More often, the sponsors are only concerned with the numbers of eyeballs—and, to that end, the shows tend to hunt for sensationalism, violence, and conflict.
Which reminds me: Initially, public broadcasts were required to be, at least in part, providing a community service. That’s why the first TV news broadcasts were scrupulously journalistic.
Edward R. Murrow once famously said, “The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” In his era, TV-news reporters seemed to be taking on the mantel of the printed press—becoming champions of the people’s right to know the facts. (I identify with Murrow—he died of chain-smoking—up there in Pawling, in 1965.)
Then the nature of ‘show business’ soon brought that sort of idealism to a close. It’s lucky that journalism wasn’t named ‘the news business’, or papers would be just as worthless as the video-whores.
And, truth to tell, the papers are not the ethical ivory-towers they once purported to be, if they ever where—the printed word, having ceded the field to the digital, can no longer referee in squabbles of note. The papers, too, have shifted towards partisanship—or appeared to, where reason and common sense makes one side feel obligated to oppose the other side as an evil, rather than a difference of opinion.
My point is: greed, fear, and ignorance have limitless backing—everybody wants a piece of that pie. Fairness and justice go begging.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 12:40 AM
War On Our Enemies (2018Jul10)
There are armies of highly-paid lobbyists swarming all over Washington, D.C.—their only object: to subvert the will of the people in any way that will profit the industry that sent them there, be they Monsanto, Mobil, NRA, Pfizer, et. al. That makes them, QED, enemies of Democracy. We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.
There are a plethora of media outlets, radio, TV, in print, and online, which propagate misinformation in the guise of journalism or political opinion—these greedy rumor-mongers aren’t really ‘Big Evil’, they’re miserable grubs who see an easy buck—bilking the gullible. The Big Evil that results from their greasy scam is collateral damage, the toxic scum that this industry dumps into our clear water of discourse—the parasites that engage in it are only amoral pigs, not masterminds. In most cases, their ‘sponsors’ aren’t buying airtime for ads—they’re simply using these traitors as useful idiots. We must fight these enemies of Democracy: Limbaugh, Hannity, the entire Fox media, that asshat on InfoWars —for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.
There are entitled, self-obsessed billionaires who bypass the lobbies (or more likely supplement them) by dumping money on some craven pol who thinks he or she is ‘swimming with the sharks’ on the road to power and position. The pols must overlook the quasi-criminal nature of such as Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, and Foster Friess, before they can accept the backing of people who think money equals wisdom (what is it about being rich that makes people so stupid?). We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.
There are check-cashing businesses and loan cos. and banks and investment firms—all of whom long ago grew dissatisfied with merely using our money to invest in stable businesses, and splitting the interest earned—oh, no, no, don’t be ridiculous. No, a banker is a god—don’t you know? Some even see themselves as ‘masters of the universe’. The vertiginous mania of greed, as you can see, clearly makes them numb to the fact that such a label allows no plural. These people have computers now—their incessant drive, to separate us from our money, makes them dangerous in many new ways. The recent scandals at Wells Fargo, LIBOR, and Morgan-Chase show that customer-service has morphed into predatory behavior—joining advertising as a fellow ‘industry the world could easily live without’.
Our obsession with Capitalism has made it impossible for anyone to work in the banking industry and not suffer a psychotic delusion: that handling large amounts of money makes their skin glow and their shit stop stinking. We must fight these people—for they threaten our livelihoods and our Constitutional freedoms.
We all know who are enemies are. Even controlling the media doesn’t allow them to hide the simple truth—though it allows them to pile on so much bullshit that the truth is fairly obscured—still, if you look close, there it is. One Netflix comic has a line now: “They said, ‘the immigrants and single women are taking all the jobs’—yeah, right—the people with no money and no power are taking all the money.”
There is a group in America today that agrees with statements that are manifestly false—because they are couched in hate-mongering and finger-pointing. Those people, unfortunately, comprise a good 30%-35% of voters. The con-men will always get their votes, because they don’t listen to the words—they watch for the entitlement and the wink towards propriety. “Political correctness—bah!” There‘s their policy statement.
Somehow, the conservatives have conflated being tough with being dishonest (and that sounds like the reasoning of a criminal—not for nothing). I guess they got pushed into a corner—when we told them that petroleum-burning was going to kill us all. I mean, if I was filthy rich from gasoline, I’d have an argument or two, too. But I’d have to be a special kind of dick-head to keep doing it, even after the global flooding started, decades later.
Make no mistake—our own worst enemies are our apathy and inertia. I get it—the world may be in danger, but not today. Right? Sadly, our only ammunition is political involvement—running for office is like volunteering to be a political aircraft-carrier, volunteering is like the infantry—and votes, of course, are our bullets. Without the votes, we get slaughtered—and not just politically. Shit’s getting serious, dude.