Both impeachment cases have been presented, both the prosecution and defense. Now we will find out what the mood of the senate is towards the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) and his bullshit.
Prayer starts at 12:00 minutes into the video. First question is read at 15:45. Two hours in (the point where I started watching live) there is little doubt what the Texas Senators think. All of the Republican questions have been rather ham-handed gotcha questions that they can’t possibly think will advance the debate on the question before the Senate. The question of whether or not the charges brought against the president deserved to be given a proper hearing.
3:30 pm.Javelins and president Trump’s support of Ukraine. If the characterization by the president’s defense is accurate, then Donald Trump can’t be said to be working in the interest of Vladimir Putin. Putin would not want the OHM to sell the Ukrainians lethal weapons. That means that OHM and his defense are either dumb enough to think there was a server that Crowdstrike sent to be hidden in Ukraine, and that this was done somehow in relation to Vice President Biden and his son hunter. They are either that dumb, or they think that their audience is dumb enough to believe that fantasy could be true, and so sell that as a diversion. The depth of idiocy/ delusion this reveals almost beggars the imagination.
The OHM either believes the Q-anon conspiracy fantasy, or he likes pretending he believes it in order to cover his desire to throw mud at Joe Biden. Wow. Just wow.
6:30 pm. What we learn from people who call in to the C-SPAN line, generally, is that the supporters of Donald Trump have very little understanding of the facts in this case. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that the tuned away from FOX news long enough to listen to themselves talk on C-SPAN.
Clearly the talking point they’ve picked up is that the house failed to do a proper investigation. Anyone, ANYONE who is really paying attention knows that the OHM prevented a proper investigation. That is the truth about that specific point of inquiry. Every person who puts the blame on the House is either an idiot, is uninformed, or is lying. It has to be one of those three things. A minimal level of pushback by the talking head who listens and nods would reveal which one of the three mental states the callers are in. Too bad he doesn’t do that more often.
I didn’t even watch the second day of questions and answers. I meant to come back and catalog the first day of questions and answers, but by the time I had my phone working (that article is still in progress) and finished my World of Warcraft raids for the week (priorities) the Senate Republicans were too busy sucking Donald Trump’s cock (right there in public) to be able to do anything but pay attention to the job in front of them.
No witnesses. Nothing more on the subject of the most corrupt president in US history will be entertained by the Senate that is lead by his morally bankrupt Republican party. Closing arguments were heard this morning. I may or may not watch any of the continuing charade. Here, however, are the closing arguments of the House managers who have so valiantly lead the fight against the corruption embodied by the OHM.
So I moved this post up to Monday, February 3rd from Thursday, January 29th. The final vote will be on Wednesday. I’ve already started writing on that article. What has happened to this country since 2016 is unacceptable. It has to stop, and we have to stop it because no one else will.
Trump isn’t Nixon and he’s not going to be held to account by Republicans. He’s going to weasel out, as he always does. As the rich and privileged and powerful always do. You knew it. You said so, right here, on my Facebook page, in my Twitter timeline. You knew. So did I. So did we all. Of course, we foolishly let ourselves hope it would be different, sure we did. We got excited there for a minute. Maybe this time Susan Collins and Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski would actually stand up and … well, yeah, like I said, foolish.
When I posted this image to my Facebook wall, I hadn’t expected any real pushback. I mean, the facts of how dark skinned humans came to be slaves and lower class in America, and how they are still mostly poor in America, are incontrovertible. Nevertheless, my own family pushed back, people who should know better than to argue facts or history with me. They all know how much I read (or they should) and they all know that I have a tick that won’t allow me to simply ignore stupidity when I hear it.
…and still, the first comment I got was all lives matter, a stubborn refusal to see the world as it really is, a willfully ignorant insistence of falseness being truth that continued for the entire dialog under the image. The replies that I got were boilerplate. They were talking points that could be repeated (and have been repeated to me endlessly) by any FOX watching conservative; and so consequently this little exercise bears going through just this one time. Just to expose the talking points for what they are, so as to illustrate just how wrong they are.
All lives matter is a thought-ending phrase. It doesn’t actually mean anything in and of itself, which is why people repeat it after hearing that black people object to being targeted as they have been throughout US history.
The people who say all lives matter simply want the person they are speaking at to shut up. Here’s Felonious Monk from the Nightly Show (Larry Wilmore) explaining how this works,
I want the doctor to fix my leg.
Language is our evolutionary prerogative. It is the air I breathe. I will not be shut down, belittled or pushed aside; and the people who, rightly, want to stop being targeted by police officers where they live simply because of the color of their skin will not be shut down either. Insisting there is no problem to be corrected makes you the target, and Stormtrumpers should remember what happened when they made everyone else the target of their anger in 2016. That payback is coming. You can be sure of this if of nothing else.
Here’s the first long comment from that attempt at a Facebook dialog I want to quote,
Democrats enslaved the black man Republicans freed them (Lincoln being the first Republican President). Democrats are now trying to enslave the country. As long as there are ignorant people in this country to vote democrat, there will always be slavery. On another note. 90% of the killing of the black man is the black man killing there own. Your president has caused more chaos in this country and ya’ll still voted that piece of shit back in and want people to believe that it’s the Republicans fault. When people learn to work for there own and not sit at home and feed off the working man they might have a different view of whats happening in this country.
Now, this comment comes from a relative, an in-law. One who knows that I am disabled. This is the kind of love and understanding that is common across Texas, not just in the men who are married to one of your sisters. They are certain that people who don’t want to work are just lazy, as if laziness were not a survival trait. As if they aren’t equally as lazy on any given day, willing to let their wives and family do the housework while they get fat on their recliners drinking beer and watching football. Writing is about the only work I’m capable of doing these days, and I can only do that sporadically between bouts of vertigo. The people like this relative who tell me to get a job are speaking in code. Unluckily for these hateful types, I understand their code because I was one of them once. Get a job is code for crawling away somewhere and dying out of sight. Out of sight is out of mind. They, to borrow a phrase, simply want me to starve to death and decrease the surplus population. They are Scrooges, manufacturing the chains they will wear for the rest of eternity, if you believe in that sort of thing.
Also note the logical disconnect in saying that Democrats, led by a black man, favor enslaving that same black man and everyone else in the U.S., a black man who we elevated to the office of the president. A president that he loving calls a piece of shit even though Barack Obama was demonstrably the best president of our lifetimes (more on this in a bit) This insistence that Democrats favor slavery is a non-sequitur, it doesn’t follow any logical reasoning, and yet nearly all conservatives and Republicans in general believe this kind of crap without even asking why they believe it. It is essential to their mental makeup that they project their own hatreds onto others, in a pretty typical psychological fashion.
White men enslaved the black man long before there was such a thing as the Democratic party. Slavery itself predates every record that has ever been kept by any society, and it was more frequently the next tribe over from yours who were enslaved rather than a group that was distinctly different looking. It was far more likely to be your neighbors than it was that your tribe had the chance to conquer peoples in a far away place and enslave them. Only expansive civilizations like the city-states of old could muster that kind of might. Rome took slaves from every part of the known world, most of them not being of any different color skin than their own. No, it took enterprising Europeans to hit upon enslaving a specific group of people who looked different than everyone around them, making those people easy to spot as slaves without having to think about the problem too hard.
Black slavery worked well in the early American colonies and across most of Europe because black people could be seen as slaves at a glance. The otherness of appearance made it easy to keep those people in their lessor place of status. You didn’t have to keep records of whether or not this or that black person was a slave (although they did anyway) because if you looked different, you were property and not a person. This disconnect, this racism, continues to the present day in the structures and beliefs of the people in the formerly slave holding states, and in the major cities all across the U.S. Most people simply don’t make the connection that darkness, even darkness of skin, is routinely chalked up to something malign.
Have you never noticed the prevalent fear of the dark? I’ve had many people insist that this is not the same as racism, but it is based on exactly the same mental structures. Just like sinister means left-handed as well as being threatening, darkness implies threat or differentness, and this is across all peoples everywhere. And it manifests in people looking down on those around them whose skin is darker than theirs is. It manifests in trying to force left-handed people to become right-handed, or killing the left-handed outright for their threatening nature. Killing those who look or act different because they scare you. Xenophobia, as someone with more education would refer to it. Xenophobia is rampant in the world today.
Slavery runs rampant in the Bible and was widespread throughout the world prior to the enlightenment, and it was those enlightened liberal thinkers that ushered in the end of slavery as well as many other laudable achievements of the time (things like the germ theory of medicine) and conservatives of the time (today’s Republicans) fought tooth and nail against the notion that slavery was bad. Because conservatives favor tradition, and slavery was a cherished institution.
So slavery predates the modern Republican hatred for Democrats. The Democrats in the 1800’s were pro-slavery, that much is true. Democrats were a predominantly conservative party at that time; conservative being the generic label for people who favor the status quo, people who don’t want to change.
The party that opposed the Democrats in 1852 was referred to as the Whigs. The Whig party disintegrated in 1854 over the question of slavery in the form of the Kansas-Nebraska act. I’m sure you all remember that from your Kansas history. No? Well, that’s okay. The Kansas-Nebraska act made it possible for states to decide if they wanted to be slave or free states at their time of admission, making the broad expansion of slavery across the American continent a thing to be feared by abolitionists everywhere. The Whigs really didn’t have a purpose for existing in the first place other than to be opposed to the policies of Andrew Jackson, and he’d been dead for quite awhile at that point. The Democratic party as it existed then had been formed by Andrew Jackson and his supporters. The party of slavery is a fitting label to hang on his legacy of murder and genocide.
Progressives of the time were abolitionist and they joined forces with Northerners who didn’t want the South to be able to bring their slaves into non-slaveholding states. This further injury to the sensibilities of abolitionists was the net result of the Dred Scott decision; this Supreme Court decision made it possible for slave-owning Southerners to live wherever they liked and keep their slaves in whatever state they lived in whether that state was a free state or a slave state. If the repeal of the Missouri compromise wasn’t enough to solidify an anti-slavery movement, then having to compete with slaves for work in your own free state was a thought far too loathsome to contemplate.
The formerly progressive Whigs and the progressives from the other political factions in 1856 joined together to create what became known as the Republican party. This is important, so take note of this fact. Republicans were the progressives and liberals of the time. Republicans were progressives and liberals when they were formed in 1856. They were the people who favored change, and they nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1860, a presidential candidate who successfully stood astride the two warring factions (pro-slavery/anti-slavery) and managed to pull a victory out of the contested election of 1860 by promising to leave historically slave states alone and promising to preserve the union. Northern conservatives, people who wanted to preserve their non-black, non-slaveholding states, also sided with the progressives in handing the Republicans and Lincoln this victory.
Progressives freed the slaves. Not conservatives. Conservatives were pro-slavery in 1860. The progressive Republican party elected Abraham Lincoln. Just as progressive Republicans lead by Teddy Roosevelt broke up the monopolies and cleaned up the corporate mess that the country was mired in back in 1900.
Parties are not static creatures. They live and breath and change. The Democrats eventually changed, although it took time for the conservative/liberal polls to shift. The Democrats aligned themselves, one might even suggest anchored themselves, in the unquestionable white supremacy of the Andrew Jackson years. They stuck with white supremacy through the Civil War and reconstruction. Stuck with it through Jim Crow. They clung to their white majorities and their white working-class voter base through World War I and looked the other way during the red summer. But they weren’t the only ones who looked the other way. There was mass denial of the racism of that year, across the political landscape.
The Democrats held their white majorities through the Depression and World War II. It helped that Republicans had been bought by that time. Bought by the corporations that they had fought in the 1900’s. So the anti-monopolists were tamed. Republicans looked the other way as the poor starved through the depression, or shrugged their shoulders and pretended there was nothing to be done. So the progressives started to shift from the Republican party. They started to put their allegiance with the Democrats and their support of unions. Unions that just happened to be in alignment with the concerns of the white, working-class voter that dominated the landscape of the time. Aligned themselves with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his hair-brained scheme to short-circuit the malfunctioning international gold standard and end the Great Depression.
After LBJ’s betrayal of White Southerners by pushing through the Civil Rights Act, the majority of white voters in the South migrated to the Republican party, a party that they had hated until explicitly invited to join the party by Richard Nixon. At the same time minorities made a political shift and started supporting their historic enemies, the Democrats. It was at this point that the parties functionally changed political orientations, the Republicans harkening back to the past, becoming predominantly conservative, and the Democrats became liberal. These trends remain in place today.
Look around any Republican gathering, Trump’s never-ending Hitler-esque political rallies for example, and notice that the audience is predominantly white. Now look at Democratic gatherings, a the offices recently filled with women and people of color, and you should notice a pretty stark contrast. This is what Reince Priebus tried to warn Republicans about when he chaired the Republican National Committee. That future he warned ya’ll about? That future is now.
The last point to refute in the long (previously quoted) comment is this one,
90% of the killing of the black man is the black man killing there own.
Murder is always predominantly committed by people who look like the victim, not just black murder. This is because murder is generally committed by people the victim knows, and those people will generally be people who look like them. Their own family members are quite frequently the perpetrators, for the exact same reason. Look it up. White on white crime far exceeds any other created racial grouping. So this pointing out of black on black crime as being indicative of something sinister? That is just more racism being exposed by someone who can’t seem to figure out he’s a racist.
Here’s the next comment that I want to refute.
The black man sold the black man to the white man. You can not deny that there are more poor people now then before obama became the dictator of this country. You can not deny the democrats crashed the housing market. You can not deny that what is really wrong is only wrong for Republicans not democrats. You can not deny that hilary clinton killed 4 good men in Bengozie. You can deny obama has devided this country. You can not deny obama has spent 10 trillion dollars while saying Bush spent 4 and should never have done that. Liberals (democrats) are moochers and free loaders, you can not deny that. I know plenty of democrats that are in denial because they are secretly ashamed of them selves because they are so used to the way they are they can’t change. A person can look at history and see what ever makes them selves feel good but that doesn’t mean they are right. If there were no Republicans to work and support liberals (democrats)? How would liberals (democrats) live then.
Assuming that my antagonist was serious and not attempting to be humorous. That’s a large assumption, I know. But, assuming he’s serious, I’ll take these points one at a time.
The black man sold the black man to the white man.
White men sell white men to black men. Probably yesterday, even. Slavery still goes on, especially sex slavery. Ask your president about sex slavery. He met a few sex slaves while hanging out with his buddy Jeffrey Epstein. You’ll be finding out the truth of this in the near future. In any case, the simple fact that people sell people proves about as much as selling your time to someone else for money proves. Everyone is a mercenary, some of us are just better paid than others. Knowing that selling people crosses a line that will get you killed for your trouble, that alters the calculation from “how much can I get for selling my child” to “how much does that third job pay?” the latter being the preferable moral decision we are looking for as a society.
You can not deny that there are more poor people now then before obama became the dictator of this country.
Obama wasn’t a dictator. He wasn’t even an aggressive president like W. or Bill or Bush the first or Reagan. He was definitely better than Tricky Dick, who was probably the most aggressive person to hold the Office of President in my lifetime before Trump cheated his way into office. Trump wants to be a dictator, just like his heroes are dictators. Trump puts all other presidents to shame being single-handedly the worst president ever to hold office on the first day that he was in office, and has gotten worse every day since that day. I find it hard to imagine how he could be worse, until the next time I wake up and read the news and think well, that’s how he could be worse. Tomorrow will be no different than it was today.
As I said previously, Barack Obama was demonstrably the best president of our lifetimes. The only reason to propose that he was not is that his skin is black or because he was a Democrat. Being a black Democrat makes hatred for him a double feature. Not only were his policies the policies of Republicans watered down, just like Bill Clinton’s were, but he had the unmitigated gall not to march to the military drumbeat that every president since Reagan has adopted.
But poverty? Poverty has gotten markedly worse under every president since Ronald Reagan. Obama was no exception to this fact, largely because he didn’t change the trickle-down bullshit that Reagan forced through congress in the 80’s. The economic bullshit that has been adopted by every president after Reagan just like the focus on the military was adopted by every president after Reagan. Trickle-down economics was rightly termed voodoo economics by Bush the first, but he was just as willing to practice that voodoo if it got him elected. When he dared raise taxes to balance the budget, he was forced out of office by the wealthy elites who wanted to punish him for raising their taxes to pay for services that they didn’t solely benefit from.
Poverty has gotten worse under Trump, just as it did under Obama. (40% of Americans are poor) His rewards to the wealthy have stoked a fire that will shortly have the economy overheating and tanking (yield curve inversion) and who knows what the effects of his writing his own personal loopholes into the tax code will be. Everyone should be channelling every dime they have through a series of shell companies now, just like President Trump does (He’s smart. Just ask him) That’s how you get to keep all of your money and then sue people because they didn’t give you more money.
The poor are still the economic slaves of the wealthy. That inequity has yet to be addressed. That is what the current liberal/progressive movement wishes to fix, one goal among many.
I’m not going to make this long, long article longer still longer by belaboring the last few misconceptions that were voiced in that quote. The image and the article were and are about the Black Lives Matter movement, and slavery. I’ll just run through a few more refutation links for clarity’s sake (and I might need them later myself)
There have always been conservatives and liberals, even though they didn’t always use the same names. There have always been adherents to tradition and people unafraid of experimentation, people ready to adopt new rules to cover new realities. Conservatives are the former, liberals are the latter.
Since the vast majority of young people are liberal by definition (they themselves representing change to the status quo, the status quo being their parents) and since the vast majority of young people are not lazy shirkers, his broad dismissal of liberals as worthless lacks even the basic merit that I try to give every argument offered. He’s condemning his own children and their children with one fell sweep of his opinion. They will probably discard him when he becomes a burden in old age, just as easily as they will discard his dismissal when they hear it now.
Every. Single. Point. Every point that was offered has now been shown to be wrong. All of them. If I wasn’t related to the commeter that I was quoting from by marriage, I wouldn’t have bothered to write this novelette. I substantiate my arguments with checkable facts and links to articles that reinforce my arguments. Facts which are irrefutable. Follow those links and understand the arguments, then if you, dear reader, still disagree with me feel free to offer a verifiable argument of your own.
Editor’s note.This one has sat on the edit pile since I copied the comments to the blog in expectation of writing this now completed article. That was back in the summer of 2016 as the Facebook link to the original meme posting on my Facebook wall should illustrate. I went ahead and advanced this article in time to it’s publish date (January 31, 2020 why 4:04?) so that it will at least briefly appear on the front page of the blog. I agonized over outing my in-laws for their blatant racism for all the years in-between 2016 and now. Now, with the Trump impeachment soon to be history and Trump (probably) crowing about victory on Tuesday at the SOTU, I wanted this article out. If there is a civil war, this is it. Here. Now. At the polls in November. We will fight and we will win, or we will die trying.
If you are depressed stop wallowing in the outrage culture. Think happy thoughts, you’ll feel better.
That was the gist of the suggestion offered to a friend who posted the image featured in yesterday’s article Depression. As if depression is something you can turn off, like a switch. It isn’t like that.
I do follow the news closely these days, as does my friend. I was a news hound for decades before Meniere’s took my joie de vivre. I was active in the Travis County Libertarian Party, taking a hands-on role in as much local politics as I could handle while still holding down a full-time architecture job. I listened to news and radio talk shows constantly while working on whatever architecture project was in front of me that day so as to keep informed of whatever the current trends were. It was crucial to know what was happening if you wanted to have a hand in changing it. I switched to podcasts for my news well before most other people even knew that podcasts existed. I read newspapers and news sites. I immersed myself in the political realities of Austin, of Texas, of the United States, and did my best to be the positive change that I thought the world needed. Just as every good citizen of the world should do.
But then I got sick, and I didn’t get better. I didn’t have a livelihood any longer and I couldn’t look forward to finding one again, probably ever. The constant stream of information about what was going on in the world became a distraction from what it was that I needed to deal with. The barrage of things that I couldn’t change externally just drove home how helpless I was to even be able to alter what was happening in my own body.
I quit listening in 2006-ish. I just quit, cold turkey. I’m not saying that I didn’t know what was happening in the world, I simply quit seeking out that information. There is no way to stay completely uninformed (a perfect idiot) so long as there are people who tell you things they think you want to hear. But I put science, medical and skeptical podcasts at the top of my queue starting at about that time and stopped even listening to news feeds that didn’t include other information that I might personally find useful.
I only started back listening to the news directly, for news content, when all the hatred for Barack Obama made me decide to find out what all the fuss was about. That was when I realized that the news culture had split into two camps that couldn’t even agree on basic facts. While I hadn’t been paying attention, FOX had lead conservatives and Republicans down a dark alley that lead to a thousand foot cliff and then expected all those lemmings following them to walk off the cliff in blind subservience.
However, It’s going to take an American version of the Extinction Rebellion protests that have been taking place in London and New York to also take place in everytown, USA to wake the average FOX news watcher up to the requirement that we do something about climate change. I’m not even certain that anything short of re-education will make them understand just how scandalous their behavior and the behavior of their leaders are.
I’m reserving judgement until after the power hand-off that should occur in 2020-2021, impeachment or no impeachment. We’ll see just how bad things really are at that point. To draw this circular argument to a close and tie it in with the title, I quit listening to the news precisely because I felt that my health was suffering from spending so much time obsessing about what was going on in the world and what the proper solution to the problems were. I’m glad I stopped paying attention then. The solutions that I would have embraced back then are completely different than the ones I would embrace today. 180 degrees different.
So I improved my health by breaking the news addiction. I’ll break it again if I feel that following the news is negatively impacting my health. So long as the authoritarians that back the Orange Hate-Monkey lose power, I’m pretty sanguine with whatever else happens along with it. Which means, my depression isn’t based on my news consumption. But I do appreciate the suggestion.
I blocked a stealth Stormtrumper on the Stonekettle Station Facebook group today. I’m pretty sure he was airlocked pretty quickly after he posted the following,
Jesus man, the mother in law is listening to Fox news, and since she can’t hear it’s loud. It’s all boxes of ballots being found and counted, the election was over Tuesday, why are these crooked Democrats that would steal an election any way they could still counting votes, Hillary this and Hillary that, poor Matt Whitaker, a man with integrity the liberals are vilifying because of the Steele dossier and how the FISA courts got duped not once, but 4 times by information Hillary colluded with the Russians to get! Oh yeah, and hammering a female MSNBC anchor ( didn’t hear who) that hates Trump and blah, blah, blaaaah…
It’s no big news that I blocked a Stormtrumper. I do that pretty much every day these days. But this one snuck into Jim’s group, which was no easy thing to do. I wasn’t even sure that he was a Stormtrumper at first. There are several ways that statement could be read. I mean, is he quoting his mother-in-law? Are those his words? Hard to say. So I replied to him.
“FOX should be shut down and fined. It’s owners indicted. There should be laws against what FOX and conservative outlets are actively doing. Deceiving the public. Committing fraud. Propagandizing. How to craft rules about this, though. That is the problem. How to write laws that can’t be used to silence valid opinion pieces while stopping the deception. It’s not as easy as you might think.”
The Stormtrumper outed themselves, at this point. They immediately followed up with objections about freedom of speech, to which I replied, “There is no first amendment protection for fraud. There is no first amendment protection for speech which endangers life or property. There is no first amendment protection for lying, misinforming or otherwise distracting the public with more noise and smoke than anyone can see or hear through. This is what is being done to us. This is what was done to the people of the Ukraine. This is a tried and true playbook we are seeing here. How to regulate it out of existence is the only question remaining.”
“I don’t like Trump, but he IS President…do you want him and his minions to have the power to brand their opponents as “fake news” and use the power of the govt to silence them?”
I never said anything about giving the power to inhibit freedom of speech to the president. I never even argued that this is a power that should be exercised solely by the government. This is the exact same argument as the gun argument as framed by gunnuts. No limitations or there is no freedom. This is transparently false. There can be and are limitations on your ability to lay down destruction among your neighbors. You can’t own nukes. You can’t own tanks or fighter planes. There are a lot of limitations on firepower out there, and there can be sensible limitations on speech (a point I later embroidered on here) Does Trump tell you that you can’t drive a car, just because licensing is required?” Obviously not. There are other, more subtle ways of creating outgroups to persecute. One of those ways is fabricating evidence and then citing it as proof. Dick Cheney and his “yellow cake” propaganda, as one example.
That incident remains a prosecutable fabrication and yet no one is willing to prosecute him for it. The Orange Hate-Monkey is simply doing what Cheney did (more haphazardly) and remains unpunished for doing. It is time to start enforcing limitations that exist. It’s time to start prosecuting the powerful for their excesses. It’s time to write libel laws that work in this country.
BTW, that last thing is what the OHM fears most. That’s why he spoke about it, to take that threat off the table. Who would presume to echo something he said and be serious about it? And yet he would be the first, most obvious target of libel laws. For him it would be slander law. You have to write to be prosecuted for libel. Come to think of it, a good portion of his tweets are demonstrably libelous. Who has he not slandered/libeled over the course of his life? Lying can be and is a crime, for normal, everyday people. It simply depends on the circumstance surrounding why you lie and to whom.
The laws are not enforced by the president, and the president should not be given the power to enforce laws. The Justice department prosecutes and the FBI investigates and neither of them is directly under the control of the president. This is how it should be. Believing the president is the sole enforcer of law in the country also discounts the thousands of police departments, prosecutors, etcetera, departments of law enforcement and prosecution all across the nation that do the real work of law enforcement.
Any fraud is a crime and fraud is not limited to lying under oath. The limitations exist, if you disagree with this observation you simply aren’t interested in seeing these limitations enforced. Imagine what might have happened if the first time the Orange Hate-Monkey lead the chant “lock her up!” he was arrested and fined for slander and incitement to riot? If Ted Cruz could be similarly charged for falsely accusing Beto O’Rourke of crimes? There is no such thing as an absolute freedom of speech. Speech which carries no consequences.
…and at that point I blocked him, because the argument had gotten circular as it does so frequently with Stormtrumpers and Christianists. I have little doubt left that Trump is a Russian stooge these days. He’s been using the same tactics to control the media and what they pay attention to as the tactics that are/were being used in Ukraine by Putin. He isn’t smart enough to come up with this tactic on his own.
It is the easiest thing in the world to belittle the weak, and the Texas Democratic party has been almost catatonic since J.J. Jake Pickle and Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Democratic force fell by the wayside. Texas Democrats had a brief resurgence in the 80’s and 90’s with Ann Richards as governor and with the Clinton’s in the White House; but truthfully, the Texas Democratic party of old died with Jake Pickle at about the turn of the century.
Which is probably a good thing, because the way the Democrats used to do business is mirrored in the way that the Texas Republicans currently do business. Gerrymandering. Stuffing ballot boxes. The outright purchase of votes and candidates by the wealthy class.
Media pundits know who holds the power now. It’s evident in every broadcast you listen to, every telecast you watch or any article you read. Oh, sure, they pay lip service to the notion that the Democrats are due for a comeback; but the corporate media, the corporation, that most feudal of all still existing human social structures, they make their money ass-kissing the powerful, just as their forebears did to kings and sultans, czars and sheiks. They ass-kiss the Republican party because the Republican party has shown their willingness to engage in a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence by letting a known money launderer and populist dictator wannabe take the reigns of power in the US.
As an example, here is the darling of the liberal press, NPR’s weekly politics podcast, talking about the first in the country primaries in Texas this Tuesday,
Even a casual listener of that podcast and the one that follows it can’t help but notice that the only voices heard aside from the hosts are conservative leaders. They even play the entire Ted Cruz ad, as if I haven’t heard it several times already on other liberal news organizations, as well as an interview with Ted Cruz! Free advertising and free airtime for the sitting Senator from Canada, er, Texas. Do we hear anything from his opponent in this race, Beto O’Rourke, aside from their making fun of his showing and his name, yucking it up right along with that son of a dominionist Cruz?
No, of course not. He’s never going to have any power, in their eyes. He’s just not pulling the interest of the news consumers, that skewed demographic that sits at home watching FOX news as if this was still the 1990’s or something. One might think the media would have learned a thing or two from the mess they made of the 2016 races, following the Orange Hate-Monkey(OHM)around like little puppies afraid they’ll miss the next tidbit of tasty gossip. All the while certain that their free advertising for this dangerously jingoist, nationalist, uninformed conspiracy fantasist wouldn’t help earn him the White House all on its own. Never consciously realizing that their dismissal of the favorite, a savvy, political insider who had been hounded by the press for nearly 40 years would end up creating a vacuum that something had to fill.
No, they just go on blithely doing the mindless reporting that they always do, looking to see what will get them the most viewer or listener numbers. Never really asking if these were the stories they should have spent their precious time talking and writing about. And so the numbers stack up in the conservative column, and the people follow the media who follow the assumed power, none of them ever asking if that leadership is a judas goat or not.
Let me break this down for you, the layman who doesn’t live and breath politics like I do. Republican primary turnout in Texas is high because in Texas you can only vote in one primary for one party. So if you are interested in selecting the leadership of your county or state (cities are generally non-partisan races by design) you will go and vote in the primary of the party you think will carry statewide offices. And that party in Texas has been the Republican party. Democrats last won statewide office in 1994, the longest dry spell in recent US history. Only a fool votes in a primary for a party that will not control the state after the next election, or so the average voter thinks.
Ted Cruz was essentially unchallenged in his primary race, so Ted Cruz got every vote of every Texan who voted in the Republican primary unless they took the time to not vote for him. And since most Texans voted Republican he got more votes than the Democratic candidates did. Does this mean anything in the grand scheme of things? Only that most people want to be on the winning side in an election and will change their stances on subjects after the fact just to prove how right they always were.
If Texas had jungle primaries like California does, you would see something you’ve never seen in Texas before, cross-party voting on the primary ballot. You would see a lot less racism and persecution of the transgendered and homosexuals, because there would no target demographic that would vote on issues that arcane without partisan primary grandstanding. If Texas had districts that weren’t gerrymandered to a fraction of a percentage point on average party turn-out (like Pennsylvania) but were instead drawn by a non-partisan commission, you might see people voting for the other party just to get a change of government in their district. But we don’t have those things, and so the self-fulfilling prophecy of Republican victory is underscored by pundits who aren’t interested in how the opposition is hobbled in Texas, they just want to congratulate the victors no matter how rigged the races are at the outset.
Back in LBJ’s day, the Democrats did all this stuff too. It’s hard for them to criticize the Republicans for doing things that they did, that they will do again if we let them. The trick is to inform your leadership that you want a level playing field before you send them to office. That you want maximal voter turnout, sensible districting, wide-open primaries and real discussion of issues. Good luck on getting the media to stop following the easy story, the quick click reward. In the meantime you could just stop believing that pundits know what the future holds anymore than you do yourself right now. Then you might at least stop fulfilling the prophecies that they keep making.
The Blue Wave was real, and then it wasn’t, in the course of about a week. Stranger still, the made-up national story arc seemed to influence in-state coverage as well. Even though Democratic turnout was better than in any midterm primary since 2002, and more than than double 2014, commentators have consistently described the night as at least a mild disappointment, where the Democrats “fell short” of a goal that had been imagined for them.
The thing is, the way the state goes on the electoral college map doesn’t mean very much at all for the way Texas is governed. And while it’s possible that the party jumps back to life with the shock of winning one or two statewide elections — that there will be a proof of concept, and then everyone suddenly gets serious — it’s more likely that things change slowly, over an extended period of time, and that small gains and positive signs feed bigger gambits. What’s most important in the long run is the overall composition and strength of the Texas Democratic Party at the local and state level.
In that light, the fact that Democratic turnout doubled in urban counties while Republican turnout stayed essentially flat is significant. There are quite a few winnable legislative districts around those cities. The whole ballgame for the party is getting people to vote and to make a habit of voting. Trump is helping them do that — the trick now is to get it to stick, which it most certainly did not after the elections of 2006 and 2008.
The interview with Christopher Hooks on the Texas Standard today spells out exactly what I’m talking about. The media, focused on national races and their outcomes, never even considers the fact that the truism all politics is local holds sway even in places as large as Texas.
Progressives are making inroads in Texas, and there isn’t a damn thing that Republicans and conservatives can do about it. For Democrats to win they have to offer real improvement on what the Republicans are doing now. Funding schools. Improving safety. Protecting the environment and moving Texas into the the next century. Listening to the OHM and his canuck croney Cruz talk, you would think that there aren’t fields of windmills in West Texas providing essential electricity to the grid. That solar wasn’t the future and that the emergence of electric cars in the cities isn’t a thing that is happening. You would think that Texas lives and dies by coal, which was never true, and that we’re still in the wildcat days of the oil boom in Texas, which we aren’t.
It’s time to put the conservatives where they belong, in the past with their fear of the transgendered and the homosexual. Their need for their religion to be front and center in everything they do. We cannot afford to be side-tracked into meaningless crusades against the different and the strange. There is real work being left undone because of their fear-mongering and immigrant hating. Time to roll up the sleeves and get back to work.
According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of Trump voters got their news about the election from Fox News (in distant second place was CNN at 8 percent, and the rest mainly from social media).
Clinton voters got 18 percent of their political news from CNN, 9 percent from MSNBC, 5 percent from the New York Times, and only 3 percent from Fox (the rest from an assortment of networks, local news, radio, and social media).
Fox News – especially Trump surrogate Sean Hannity – delivered a steady stream of pro-Trump infomercials. If America still has the “fairness rule” that used to require media to be truly fair and balanced, Fox would be out of business.
I think we need to destroy political machines wherever they are, whatever they are. Political machines are a barrier to democracy because they supplant the will of the people for their agendas, which the leadership of the machine thinks is important.
News reporting should simply be held to a truthful/useful standard (which FOX would also fail) because any other standard introduces a bias that is unnecessary. There are not just two sides to political arguments and this is true across the board. It is long past time we started dismantling the machines that have grown up around the framework that was established with the constitution; machines that no longer serve the purpose they were established for. Machines like party primaries. Party-favoriting rules in legislatures. Party-backed campaigns.
There are new ways and new machines that we need to build so that we can introduce the vast majority of the US population to actual governmental involvement. The old machines are only going to get in the way.
Journalism needs to be governed by a professional organization empowered to police their ranks in much the same way that the AMA licenses Doctors, the AIA governs the practice of Architecture. State bars govern the practice of law. This has been my opinion for a very, very long time. There is no organization which can establish truth standards in reporting that organizations can be held to if they want to qualify as legitimate news outlets, and there really needs to be. This has never been clearer in history than it is right now.
How journalists go about governing themselves is a question I’d like to see journalists discuss. What will work? What won’t work? What kind of standards would they be able to establish and enforce? Should be an interesting discussion.
Code Switch is one of those podcasts that I make a point to listen to even when the titles make me cringe. This is one of those episodes that I cringed through while at the same time having some relevant old white guy points I really felt were worth addressing.
The podcast hosts bring on Hari Kondabolu (whose podcast Politically Re-Active isn’t one I listen to) to talk about why he takes a break in the middle of a subject riff in order to explain the subject matter being discussed.
He refers to it as Hold Up, Wait a Minute which is amusing, the right move for a podcast that is humorous in nature. However the title of this podcast Explanatory Comma had me yelling explanatory pause at my headphones by the end of the episode.
In my opinion, the breaking point for when/when not to explain things is entirely subjective. If the audience member knows about the thing, they will think you are talking down to them. If the audience member doesn’t know, then they will be lost if you don’t explain it. I knew who Tupac was, so was not lost during the previous episode of Code Switch that dealt with him but didn’t explain who he was.
On the other hand Hari Kondabolu says Tribe Called Quest and stands on his outrage at having to explain that this was another music reference. I know it is a music reference now, because I went out and looked it up and realized that my ignorance on the subject is a product of not having any interest in Rap, Hip Hop, or any other form of music that wasn’t Rock or Classical or the Country music my mother made me listen to as a child.
All of us are products of our experiences. If our experiences don’t include your experiences, then any attempt to connect will be fruitless unless a common ground of conversation can be established. So you have to take time to explain to the audience so that you can bring them along with you if you want them to go where you are going by the end of your narrative. If you don’t do that, they get bored, stop reading/listening/watching and your attempt to communicate fails.
When you can’t see your audience, the curse of the A/V field, you have to attempt to gauge what your audience will understand without your providing an explanation. Which is largely what this entire episode of Code Switch is about.
But I didn’t start writing this entry to talk about why explanatory pauses are necessary.
What I wanted to address was making sure that you don’t take time to explain things that really shouldn’t have to be explained. All of us have our own lives, our own heuristics, our own foibles and our own prejudices. Most of us are smart enough not to air our dirty laundry or (as Hari Kondabolu quite pointedly says) force our white supremacy onto the rest of society.
There are exceptions, the entirety of the FOX news team springs immediately to mind, but generally we keep our thoughts to ourselves because, hey, everybody is busy and why burden a total stranger with the bullshit in your life? Right?
On the other end of the spectrum we have something like the TED talk below;
When I look at that couple I do not see the complex characters they want us all to accept them as. What I see is a perfectly average couple who clearly love each other. If I’m passing them on the street, serving them food, or any of the dozens of jobs of the people they will encounter every day, none of those people will have the time or the desire to understand and accept these two as what they see themselves as. There comes a point where you have to rely on your gender presentation (clothing, hair style, scents, makeup, whatever) to communicate all the myriad things you think are important as a first impression. You cannot go back and make a second first impression, and an angry explanation about why your presentation should have been understood will be accepted just as well as the FOX news junkie who goes around insisting that Santa is white.
This TED talk is an example of the dreaded internet oversharing. The needy posts on various social platforms that start with “Let’s see who reads this” or “if you really are my friend”. The entire TED talk is an explanatory pause; and frankly, I’ve contested a few of the belabored points in the talk. Contested them because, in the end, no one really should care that much about you unless they are having sex with you. You aren’t having sex with the entire internet and if you are you probably need therapy of a different kind.
A Queer Version of Love and Marriage goes over the line from explanatory pause into the realm of browbeating. If you are in an educational setting like a podcast or a TED talk, then you are going to get things explained to you that you probably already know. That is what the 30 second jump button is for (if your podcast app doesn’t have that, go get this one) if you don’t have the patience to hear something explained for the 97th time, skip ahead 30 seconds. But if you are getting a gallon of milk at three in the morning, don’t expect the cashier to know your preferred gender pronoun. Just pay the person behind the counter and say “thank you” and walk out. He’s got mopping to get back to and he really doesn’t care about your frustrations.
When I’m listening to a podcast about Code Switching I expect to have musical references, as well as many other references, explained to me. That is why it is called Code Switch. Because we are trying to Switch the Code; Race and Identity Remixed. Understand the other side. Broaden our understanding of the human animal. Can’t do that if we don’t understand the references. Hope I’m being crystal clear here.
I edited the first sentence in the second to last paragraph to be more clear as to where the line between explaining and over-explaining is, or where it is for me. Your Mileage May Vary, as the saying goes. Damned indefinite pronouns, the bugaboo of all attempts at clear writing.
Earlier on I changed the last paragraph to link the FAQ for Code Switch so that anyone who disagrees with what is being said can just go to the FAQ and educate themselves.
The most amusing thing about writing this piece, about my initial response to pushback against White Supremacy being attached to everything white people do, to the explanatory pause being denigrated as a distraction from the actual storytelling, is that the overwhelming number of negative attacks have come from White Knights who feel obliged to jump in and defend minorities from aggression. As if Old White Guy points are always going to be aggressive. Or White Supremacist. As if minorities aren’t capable of defending themselves in a battle of words and ideas.
May I always resist the urge to come to the defense of someone whom I consider to be my equal and does not appear to be losing a battle of words. All Social Justice Warriors should be compelled to adhere to that oath.
Gene Demby‘s sole response on Twitter was two characters.
Those two characters, and then he promptly blocked me on Twitter. I think the blocking was a bit overboard, but fans can be a bit oppressive. I practice prophylactic blocking of MAGA trolls on all venues myself, so I will take the fact that it is Twitter and what would I do in his shoes? and go with that.
I puzzled on the meaning of those two characters. Puzzled on them off and on for months. I puzzled on them until the next time they needed to explain something on the show and they said it’s time for an explanatory comma. After about the third repetition of the phrase, I realized that the NO meant that I had completely missed the point the show hosts were driving at. They were introducing a new segment to the show, and this was to be its cringe-inducing title. I also missed the point that I was not in the segment of the audience that the phrase was directed at. It was the people resenting having things explained to them that they already knew. A cute way of attempting to disarm them, I guess.
The last episode put a bug in my ear about the miscommunication of what Code Switch means to black people and why it might mean something different to white folks. I talk in code to old white people; old being my age and older (yes, there are older white people than I am) I will occasionally put on a filter for children that aren’t mine as well. I have found that being dead honest with the children of strangers can be more troublesome than being dead honest with old white folks.
However Code Switching takes on a whole new meaning when you take things like this into account.
The Green Book, or to give it its full title, “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” was first published in 1936. It was a revolutionary publication which listed restaurants, bars and service stations which would serve African-Americans.
Traveling during the Jim Crow era was difficult for African Americans. In the South, “black code” laws targeted them for loitering. In many towns, black travelers risked death if they stayed past sundown.
Travelers came up with their own ways to avoid violence and humiliation. One was called ‘The Green Book’ created by Harlem postal worker Victor Hugo Green. It was an invaluable tool to help black people plan a safe route across the country.
When you might be lynched or shot for simply driving into the wrong town, knowing what the code is takes on a whole new meaning. I know this. I knew this. But knowing isn’t being. While I know that I don’t speak freely (to not speak in code) around parents, children, people who aren’t into SF or video games or recreational drug use (legal. All my drugs are legal now. Have been for at least 25 years. I have the prescriptions to prove it) the downsides of slipping out of code for people like me are radically less life-ending than for people who face the possibility of death at the hands of people who hate them just for existing. Which is why a Code Switch takes on much more weight for minorities than for people like me.
My apologies for approaching the subject with less gravity than it probably deserved. I still see the refusal to explain as a missed opportunity to connect; but truthfully there is little use in telling me about one more artist whose rap I probably won’t be interested in either. The explanation for how I lost my music (and with it the appreciation for pretty much all music) is a story I haven’t tried to write down yet.
This was a thing again this year. FOX News declaring that Santa is white. Why is it important what color Santa is? Why does anyone care? The fact that this is still a thing makes it even weirder than it was way back in 2013 when Jon Stewart riffed on the subject in these segments from his show,
Gretchen Carlson issues a manger danger warning, and Megyn Kelly defends Santa Claus’s historically-based Caucasian bona fides.
Fox News debates Santa Claus’s ethnic background, and Jessica Williams concludes that Santa Claus could not possibly be black.
I really do miss Jon Stewart. News was a lot more fun with him around.
Listening to NPR’s Code Switchfor December 19th, 2017 turned me on to the inspiration for Megyn Kelly’s rant,
So let’s ditch Santa the old white man altogether, and embrace Penguin Claus—who will join the Easter Bunny in the pantheon of friendly, secular visitors from the animal kingdom who come to us as the representatives of ostensibly religious holidays. It’s time to hand over the reins to those deer and let the universally beloved waddling bird warm the hearts of children everywhere, regardless of the color of their skin.
I’ve arrived at that certain point in time; November 8th, 2016. I’ve been stalling the inevitable. I have now listened to all the podcasts that were queued up from prior to that date. I even went back through the archives of Hidden Brain in hopes of delaying this confrontation with reality, and I say in hopes of delaying this confrontation with reality, and I say even because I’ve heard most of them as part of the science queue from the NPR feeds. I listened to them again even though I really didn’t need to.
Call it denial, call it whatever you like, I haven’t been able to listen to a newscast for the last two weeks. I still can’t listen, watch or read while pundits attempt to normalize what has just happened. Every podcast for the last year and a half that has included any attempt to break down the Orange Hate-Monkey‘s (OHM) flung shit, the sounds that normal people consider words with meanings, have been and will continue to be culled from my news stream. I have no time to waste on attempts to rationalize what is 80% bullshit, scientifically determined.
Now that the OHM looks to be destined for the White House, these sickeningly obsequious pundits are still trying to make sense of the patterns that emerge from words that he has said, blithely ignoring the adage that covers this particular waste of time.
The electoral college still hasn’t spoken, won’t speak until after December 19th. If they elect him he then becomes President-Elect. He won’t be President until January 20th of 2017. Until then everything that a pundit might think about what will happen is just another attempt at creating a fantasy narrative, much like your average fantasy football player talking about their team as if it existed anywhere outside of their own heads.
Life must go on, but the way forward may not include much in the way of news content for me. I will not be wasting my time normalizing the behaviors of proto-fascists. Any article which includes phrases like Trump says will be beneath notice from the perspective of actual value for time spent, simply adding to the amount of garbage in that has to be sorted for relevant life-sustaining facts coming out. Arguments to the contrary directed at me will simply be met with OHM quotations which might or might not be relevant to the argument presented.
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
Who knows if these quotes will be relevant? I certainly don’t. No one can know, not even the OHM himself. He lost sight of what the truth was long, long ago, back in the days before his dad gave him the stake to start his business with.
The old anonymous quote (which I’ve used more than once recently) on the current problems with our country goes like this; “American fascism will arrive carrying a cross and wrapped in a flag” and it has. They aren’t fascists yet. Not yet. Speech is free, after all. You can say the things fascists say and still not be one. Talk is cheap. If they follow through on the OHM’s promises… When they seat their dictator with the express purpose of allowing him to do what he promised, they will no longer be proto-fascists but fascists in fact. [They are now defacto fascists, just FYI.]
The one thing that can be said about the structure of a Trump administration is that we have a good idea of who the people that will ultimately be named as co-defendants at the war crimes trials will be. These are still the same paltry few facts that we knew two weeks ago when I wrote this piece.
The OHM announced this week that he has selected Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, which means that gutting public schools nationally to line corporate schooling pockets will also occur along with misbegotten attempts to stimulate 18th century power production in the form of coal, denial of climate change and its effects, etc. It is worth noting that Devos’ husband Dick DeVos is the son of the Amway founder; consequently she and he are well versed in the nature of what has come to be known as the prosperity gospel, favored among pyramid scheme operators, conmen and hucksters across America. Favored by them because it clothes them in the robes of religiosity every time they cheat someone else out of a buck. God willed it to be that way.
There has been almost nothing that qualifies as news on the subject of the outcome of the election that is worth reporting beyond those few facts and the fact that Hillary Clinton has now racked up a whopping 2 million vote lead in the election held on November 8th (Electoral College Explained. Again.) Every other word out of the news organizations mouths on this subject for the last two weeks has been nothing but meaningless hot air.
These politicians aligning themselves with Trump, expressing willingness to work with Trump cannot understand some very basic facts relating to the OHM’s bid for the presidency, and those facts will come back to bite them in the end.
If his supporters intend to force the OHM to comply with the sales pitch he made to gain office, to rid the US of the immigrant menace, the Muslim menace, then there will be concentration camps full of brown people all across the US. That is how you isolate and dispose of 11 million people. It is a herculean task and requires harsh measures and steadfast resolve to carry out. What is never mentioned in any of these discussions is what the rest of the world will do while we publicly dispose of 11 million people. War with the rest of the world? It is what we deserve for allowing the OHM to take office. He is quite literally an American Hitler.
Let me guess. You don’t see it? I’ll spell it all out for you.
The NSDAP embraced the grassroots distrust of the other in their German midst as the way to victory. It was/is common for Jews to be viewed as other in Germany and across Europe and into parts of the US. This same language, this same course, is being used by the OHM, his appointees, his supporters, etc. They don’t even pretend that Jews aren’t on the hit list with the Hispanics and Muslims. Fear of the other in our midst is what drives most of the OHM’s supporters, and they aren’t going to be satisfied with half-measures. There will be round-ups. There will be mass incarceration. There will be blood. If the OHM allows any of these things to occur, he will be remembered as the president that brought fascism to America.
In other words, Trump and Putin are two of a kind: xenophobic, bigoted demagogues with dual histories of corruption, aggression, and celebration of white supremacy repackaged as patriotic nationalism. Their radical American and Russian followers, now linked by the internet, share similar goals and are part of a larger revival of white-supremacist movements happening across the West.
More troublingly, he has harnessed the power of the evangelical christian right. DeVos was just his latest pick to illustrate this. Before that it was Governor Pence, one of the most militant enforcers of christian dogma to come along in quite some time. This was also the way to power for the NSDAP and their leader. Famously, the belt buckles of German soldiers bore the slogan Gott Mit Uns (God With Us) just one of the more outward signs of the use that religion was put to in support of Nazi designs on power. Also like Hitler, the OHM has little use for religion himself. It is a means to an end and nothing more.
There are some serious shadings of The Handmaid’s Tale in the OHM’s rhetoric, but that really isn’t anything new in conservative circles. If misogynists and their ilk, the dedicated anti-abortion lobby, were vulnerable to comparisons to Nazism they would have modified their talking points ages ago. Fascists and authoritarians throughout history have taken an unhealthy interest in securing increased reproduction for the right kind of people. This is hardly a feature of Nazism alone, but it is worth mentioning that banning abortion was just another thing that the GOP and the NSDAP have in common.
These are just the most visible parts of the equation.
Looking more deeply into the plans of the OHM, I would have you note that he refused to divulge his taxes or any of his financials. He refuses to divest himself of his businesses. We have no way of knowing who and what he owes to whom, or where his personal interests lie. What will make him a buck. What will keep him in the good graces of the criminals who counted on him to launder money for them (the real purpose of most real estate development) he has steadfastly refused to budge on this issue even though it will put him in violation of the constitution,
During a discussion on CNN this morning, former White House lawyer Richard Painter made the case that if it appears that Trump will be in violation of the emolument clause of the Constitution, then the Electoral College must decide to not vote for him next month.
After he and fellow guest Jan Baran agreed that there isn’t an actual law that prevents Trump from being involved in his businesses while in the White House but that it does present numerous ethical issues, Painter said that he informed Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway of concerns around the emolument clause.
This is most likely what Trump had in mind if he were so unlikely as to be successful in his bid for the White House. A real estate developer is only interested in how much money he can make in a particular deal, and let’s be clear about this point. Him making money has absolutely nothing to do with protecting America, or making it great again. His personal aggrandizement has netted him a lot of gold-plated furnishings in his long business life; but it has served to destroy many other businesses and many other people along the way. His standard of practice is theft of service. He doesn’t know how to pay for any of the things he takes. There is where the problem lies.
He will lie, cheat and steal from the American people on a level that we haven’t seen since the days of Boss Tweed. This is the kind of business he has always conducted and I have seen no inclination on his part (much less ability) to change his patterns. He will break the tie between Warren G. Harding and George W. Bush for worst president in the history of the US, easily being the most hated President in the history of the US even before taking office. In my estimation he stands an equal chance of also being the last president of the United States, if we allow him to take office.
“The President of the United States has the power to affect how our tax dollars are spent, who the federal government does business with, and the integrity of America’s standing in a global economy,” said Clark. “Every recent president in modern history has taken steps to ensure his financial interests do not conflict with the needs of the American people. The American people need to be able to trust that the President’s decisions are based on the best interests of families at home, and not the President’s financial interests.”
Previous American presidents including Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all used some form of blind trust or placed their assets in an investment vehicle over which they had no control.
I have faint hope, still, that the Electoral College will refuse to elect Donald J. Trump to the Presidency. That they will refuse to endorse the OHM and at least kick the can to the House of Representatives, make them embrace their own destruction directly.
If the Republicans had any credibility left last summer they would have refused to nominate Trump. They didn’t, they embraced him. They claimed he did not represent the party, then embraced him anyway. They had their lackey in the FBI interfere in the election by submitting a false letter to congress less than a week before the election, which the OHM then paraded about, pretending that the GOP was finally going to get the butcher of #Benghazi. Lock her up! his mindless supporters chanted. Too late we learned that it was just another fake story, one among hundreds that the Republicans and their nominee’s Russian friends had flooded the internet with.
The Republicans appear to think “any way to power is acceptable” making them well and truly the inheritors of the NSDAP. They will most likely be remembered that way, if there is anyone left to remember after the dust settles.
October 26, 2017 addendum. Obviously Trump holds the office of president. Wishful thinking about alternatives has long gone out the window. Today I got a few notifications in the inbox that brought this article back to mind. One of them was this article headline Who Knew Trump Would Be a Weak President? from an article over at the New Republic. While I didn’t know he’d be weak, the moment he didn’t orchestrate the creation of Mexican concentration camps for the disposal of his purported eleven million illegal people, I was happy to discover he was a weak president. Being deemed and proven weak beats that alternative by several miles.
The OHM wants so badly for us to let him be Hitler. He begs for that kind of power constantly. Daily if not hourly. He derides the free press, excoriates people who protest against him, etcetera, as I’ve mentioned in more recent articles. But this article isn’t about the OHM. This is about the enabler in this codependency tragedy. This article was and is about the party of Lincoln, the party of Eisenhower, and now the party of Trump. The Republican party.
Today I also get a notification that Steve Bannon is hell-bent to turn the GOP, the Republican party, into the de facto party of Trump, an organ that will rubber stamp anything that the OHM whimsically decides to do next. Javier Zarracina over at VOX penned an article titled The Republican purge has only just begun. Robert Reich poses his usual question at the end of the status he linked the article to. For those who haven’t been paying attention, Steve Bannon is the leader of the White Nationalist movement that backed Trump, and was recently ejected from the White House by more sensible members of the Trump administration for his openly racist and xenophobic proposals. That guy, the guy who was too crazy to be kept near the easily confused President Trump, now wants to turn the GOP into the German NSDAP in principle if not in fact.
…conversations with conservative activists, GOP operatives, and people close to Bannon and the White House suggest that the Breitbart executive chair is engaged in a bold, ambitious project that has a relatively clear vision. He doesn’t just want to destroy the old Republican establishment — he wants to build a new one.
To do that, he hopes to unite many factions of the right who have gripes against GOP leadership into a broad coalition. That would include immigration hardliners who fear “amnesty” deals. But it would also include social conservatives and anti-spending activists who feel their priorities are too often ignored or compromised away.
Overall, he wants Republican senators to care far less about what the Chamber of Commerce thinks, and far more about what Breitbart readers think.
There are a lot of people who read Breitbart. A lot. A scary amount of Americans believe the bullshit shoveled there and at FOX news without question. But is that a group large enough to win general elections? That really is the question here, not whether I like what Steve Bannon does to a party that I’ve never had any use for in the first place.
I think that if he wants to turn the GOP into an even less likeable version of the Libertarian inspired Tea Party (Now with More White Nationalism!™) so that the GOP loses seats in districts they gerrymandered to be unwinnable by any other group aside from mainstream GOP representatives, I’m cool with that. He can have the soiled corpse of the GOP to enact whatever disgusting acts he wants on it. Let the fate of the GOP be a lesson to any other group that thinks that power for its own sake is something you can pursue without risking your very soul. From Lincoln to the OHM in 150 years. That’s how fast a party founded on ending an injustice can turn into a party that promotes injustice. A cautionary tale for anyone who cares to tell it or read it.
It now falls to the Democrats to craft a message that will win hearts and minds and deliver the United States from the evil that would be American Fascism under a Trump government designed from the beginning to destroy everything that has been constructed in this country over the last two hundred years. Yes, the future really is that grim.
I started to write this post after Jim posted Unknown unknowns over at Stonekettle Station, which was a post in response to the tempest in a teapot that represented the 24 hour news cycle reporting on the clinic standoff and shooting incident in Colorado Springs. I shelved it for various reasons at first, none of them really earth-shattering. Of course, a week later and we have the inexplicable mass shooting in San Bernardino, which instantly eclipsed the previous story.
I could easily spin this into an screed against the gun lobby and their paid cronies in Washington DC who won’t let the CDC even study gun violence in an effort to figure out how to address it, considering that we have had more than one mass shooting every day of this year (2015) which has to be some kind of record that no society on the face of this earth is really interested in breaking…
…but that isn’t the article I want to write. This isn’t going to be the article I started out writing, either. The issue is much bigger than the specific subject of what we know or don’t know about a specific person set on doing wrong, or having been caught doing wrong. It is even bigger than the problem that Jim was trying to address, the 24 hour news cycle, which I agree probably represents the greatest threat to human civilization in the modern age. The need to fill time, to produce facts and counterfactuals when no hard facts are known about the specifics of the incident in question, can lead to greater and greater flights of fancy.
I turn the TV off when that feeding frenzy starts. It is hard enough to separate the wheat from the chaff on good days. On bad days like the two events above bring, listening to the news just feeds confirmation bias until you end up looking and sounding like an idiot.
I will include the specific arguments for the Colorado Springs incident in this post, but the point that I’m seeing come into focus now that the shooter has appeared in court and indicted himself is the argument about what we know vs. what we believe. How we can know what we think we know, and how is that different than belief?
That is the reason why the 24 hour news cycle is such a threat. Being not much more than the talking heads that sold soap in the early days of television, the current crop of news faces appear to have even less familiarity with what facts are and why fact-checking is important. They are, after all, just selling soap. Keeping the most number of eyes on the screen is how they sell soap and so the factual content of what they say isn’t the important part of the equation. That they tell you things that reinforce your beliefs on a subject so that you will keep watching, is.
Most of the white-looking people in the US trust the police intrinsically, for example. Most of us older types were raised on police dramas portraying the cops as the good guys who enforce the laws and keep the peace. It is very uncomfortable for most of us to be confronted with stories if entire police departments covering up the details of killings done at their hands. And yet, time after time over the last few years, we have been shown just how human police departments are everywhere in the US. Be it Chicago, Baltimore or Saint Louis, just about anywhere USA, there are examples of police who brazenly violate laws and procedures who are then protected by their brothers in uniform.
This really isn’t news. If you’ve been paying attention you would have run across stories by people like Radley Balko who have been documenting police excess for several decades now. The police are humans, they make mistakes just like the rest of us. If you were in their place you would act no differently than they would, because that is what humans do. But that doesn’t excuse the excess, it is a point of data that needs to be accounted for when deciding what you know or don’t know about any given subject.
For the black or brown people who are almost always the bad guys in police dramas, the revelation that cops are only human really isn’t news either. They’ve lived with the reality of constant police scrutiny for generations. So much so that stories abound of fathers and mothers cautioning their children not to become police statistics. So it is no wonder that the chant black lives matter resounds with them. The counter offered by clueless whites that all lives matter is heard by these same people as just another call for them to sit down and be quiet. How is this possible? How can realities and beliefs about these realities be so widely separated?
When it comes right down to it, what you know with certainty is a very small number of things. Whether it is night or day. Whether it is cold or hot. You know these things because you can test them directly with your senses. Solipsists will argue that you can’t even know those things because we are all just brains in jars at best, but I’d like us all to pretend that the shadows on the cave walls actually represent something real, and try to make sense of that. If that much can’t be granted, then there is little point in continuing to read this. Even less in my continuing to write.
Beyond what you can test yourself (fire burns) there are grades of factual knowledge which you can probably safely rely on. At each point where the facts exchange hands, the ownership of that data has to be documented to be trusted. This is why, when doing research, it is important to seek out source material and not just rely on wikipedia. The more obscure the subject matter the less reliable secondary sources are.
When watching the news on television or reading news stories on any other site than AP, Reuters or UPI you are already dealing with information that has been through at least three hands if not dozens. When you’ve gone beyond the point where the witness is being interviewed in person, you are dealing with evidence that wouldn’t be accepted in court. That doesn’t mean it is without value, it just means the news you are being offered could be just this side of fantasy.
It might even be pure fantasy. Case in point, the FOX/conservative/anti-abortion counter-narrative about the Colorado Springs shooter. When I logged on Blogger that night, the first thing I saw wasn’t the Stonekettle Station article. The first article that caught my eye was a piece over at Friendly Atheist in which Ted Cruz voices the notion that the shooter was some kind of leftist. No, I could not make something that stupid up myself.
Cruz is basing that characterization on a supposed voter registration form in which Dear was listed as a woman. Whether it’s a mistake, or Dear was just messing around, or simply not the right form, we don’t know, but no other evidence indicates that he was transgender.
There’s even less evidence that he was a “leftist.”
The problem that I had with Jim’s Unknown unknowns piece now surfaces. Jim mentions this story in opposition to the reports (which he attributes to Planned Parenthood) that the shooter was heard to say “no more baby parts” as he was being arrested. But the contrast between the veracity of these two stories is as marked as they are in opposition to each other.
The statement no more baby parts was repeated by an officer to a reporter directly on the scene, a reporter who dutifully passed the comment on to their viewing audience. While that is hearsay and not evidence admissible in court; the officer, if he were to appear in court, could repeat the statement and it would be admissible. It would also be accepted by an overwhelming number of juries who trust police officers to be truthful (see above) even in the face of so much evidence that police will lie to protect their own.
Since this case isn’t about one of their own, and since the police showed remarkable restraint in bringing a cop killer in alive, I was inclined to believe the statement of the arresting officer. That the shooter (not alleged, he plead guilty) repeated a version of the same statement at his hearing just confirms the motivation that lead him to commit the crimes he is guilty of.
On the other hand, the preferred story of conservatives/anti-abortionists is based on what? Essentially no evidence whatsoever, more wishful thinking than anything else. And yet it is repeated by a Republican Presidential candidate as if it was the unquestionable truth.
That is the nature of belief. It doesn’t require facts. Facts are counterproductive because they can be questioned. If facts are presented that counter a belief, it only takes the briefest scrutiny to discover or manufacture an anomaly which the believer will use to discard the entirety of the factual information presented. Ted Cruz wants to believe that the shooter couldn’t be one of his fellow anti-abortionists. Ted Cruz believes that leftists are dangerous people, and that LGBT people are a threat to his way of life. The story he repeats is ready-made to fit into his preconceived view of the world, and it matters not one bit that the story makes no sense on its face. That the average liberal and LGBT person would be in support of Planned Parenthood and consequently wouldn’t see a need to attack one of their clinics never enters into the mind of a conservative repeating this laughable story.
Given the history of attacks on Planned Parenthood, and the current cloud of controversy artificially created by anti-abortion activists faking videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling body parts, the story of a shooter in a clinic almost serves itself up ready-made as a vehicle to attack the religious right and conservatives in general. Of course they would want to craft a counter-narrative (however flimsy) to give themselves an out, a way to disavow accountability for their actions over the last twenty years and more.
A conservative could easily counter all of the above (most probably will) with the adult equivalent of I know you are but what am I? Since about the time that Reagan was elected, conservatives started to complain about the liberal media. Even I, for a time, fell for this notion that the media was somehow biased in general against conservatives. As the years have progressed, and conservatives have created their own outlets like FOX news, conservapedia, and uncounted news sites including the whacko fringe like prisonplanet and infowars, it has become clear that conservatives aren’t satisfied with simply presenting news from their point of view. No, what they want is their own set of facts which are unassailable. Unassailable because they aren’t based on anything real.
Another example is the softer, nicer language of pro-life and pro-choice adopted by the two sides of the endless argument over abortion. Having softened the language, pollsters can get majorities of citizens in the US to say they are pro-life. Who would be against life?I’m pro-life, I’m also pro-choice; militantly pro-choice. The fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans still believe that abortion should be legal gets lost in the conservative rush to declare the opposite, that the majority of Americans oppose abortion. This conservative view on the matter simply isn’t true as polling shows.
What has occurred since the creation of FOX news is the division of the US into two camps; one of those camps thinks they are right, and the rest of us are liberal. In their attempt to prove that the rest of the media is based on a liberal conspiracy, conservatives have consciously created a conspiracy of their own. A conspiracy where they tell lies which they know are lies, because the ends justify the means.
When you evade the truth, when you spin tales to hide your true goals, what you get are people who believe your lies so firmly that they will act on them as if they were truths. You get what transpired in Colorado Springs yesterday, to the embarrassment of every single person who identifies as pro-life. Remember that the next time you hear the phrase liberal media.