It’s Time For “Benefit Of The Doubt” Journalism To Be Put To Sleep

Dear American Main Stream Media:

I’m going to give you “the benefit of the doubt” here and assume that the REASON you employ “benefit of the doubt” journalism isn’t because you’re malicious assholes but because you suck at your jobs.  While I know that, on the surface, “benefit of the doubt” journalism is just you trying to be fair, you’ve confused “trying to be fair” with being a total moron.

If you walked into a room with no knowledge of the room itself or anything that’s gone on inside of it, you would be justified (and even applauded) for NOT drawing any conclusions about the room (or what’s happening in it) until you’ve learned enough TO justify whatever conclusion you reach.  In that instance, you SHOULD “give the benefit of the doubt” — because there is doubt.

However.  If you’d been in the room many times before… knew most of the people “in” the room and “why” they were in it (in order to do…), you wouldn’t have many doubts about the room; you’d have context for the room.  You’d know enough to NOT give the benefit of the doubt — cos you’d have no doubt.  I believe in journalism it’s called “background”.

It’s my understanding  (and I’m not a journalist by trade though I’ve become a “quasi-journalist” via Life Path (I’d heartily recommend my series BLUNT TRUTHS at Weedmaps — even if I wasn’t completely and totally biased) that background is supposed to “inform” the writer’s view — give it nuance, detail, flavor — and context. The kind of context that would make giving someone like, say, Donald Trump, the “benefit of the doubt” foolish.  Or stupid.  Or naive..

Or complicit?

The “benefit of the doubt” is what that frog blithely swimming in that slowly heating water gives to the guy in the chef’s hat.  A time will come however when that frog won’t give the chef the benefit of the doubt anymore — but only because the frog will be dead (boiled alive) and on its way to someone’s dinner plate.

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Revealed: The Secret 2020 GOP Health Care Plan: “TrumpCare PICK-AN-ORGAN”

It’s no secret. Republicans leak like a sieve. Or an old guy’s pecker.  So – without any further ado — here’s the GOP’s Top Secret Health Care Plan — Trump-Care ‘PICK-AN-ORGAN’: The Health Care ‘Plan’ designed for and by Trumpanistas.

Who wants to pay for health care YOU won’t ever get — or “might not” ever need?  Only a schmuck pays for other people, amiright?

Think of it THIS WAY:  You have lots of organs.  What are the chances any will ‘go south’ on you during your lifetime?  Your lungs?  Probably not — unless you smoke.  Your kidneys — You have two — you’re playing with house money.  Your heart?  Well, okay — that one could be a problem but if your heart’s going south on you — you’re pretty much toast anyway, right?

The point is, Trumpanistas, you’re too smart to INSURE organs you don’t need to — or are worth the risk NOT to insure.  And that’s why you’ll love ‘TrumpCare PICK-AN-ORGAN’ —

Pick An Organ Front Card

LUNGS

07_Organs_Lungs_Front.pdf_1600x

Odds are nothing will happen to either of em.  But you want to play it safe — so we offer options to allow YOU to decide:  Insure Neither Lung, One Lung or Both Lungs!

See?  Easy!  Now, of course, the trick is, if you insure just one?  Ya better hope like hell you insured the correct Lung — the one that’s gonna be needing insurance…

 

LET’S TALK INTESTINES!

human-intestines-sciepro

If you’re like the average Joe, you have LOTS of this stuff inside ya.  You have intestines to spare.  In fact, you have so much intestine you even have two kinds (I know — weird, huh?)   But do you really need to insure both?  Do you really need to insure ‘ALL’ of it?

And what about your APPENDIX?  You don’t even use it — hell you haven’t used it in millions of years.  Only an idiot insures something he can’t use — amiright?

 

I KNOW THAT’S MY LIVER BUT WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ‘GREEN’ THING?

cartoon-of-human-liver-and-gallbladder-vector-7563173The Truth is — Outside of your heart and lungs, your stomach and your anus, you haven’t a clue how any of your plumbing works.  You know you HAVE a Liver and you remember somebody lecturing you once about alcoholism while you were passed out in a drunken stupor but that was so long ago.

Be that as it may — This is probably you:  “What in hell’s name is that green thing — and please don’t say I have one…!”

Yeah, you have one all right — and it costs a BOMB to insure it — IF you insure it…

 

YOUR SPLEEN — 1-2-3-ANSWER QUICKLY:  ‘WHAT’S IT DO?‘

human-spleen-visceral-surface-synthesizes-antibodies-53319933

 

Not a goddamned clue, amiright (and “The spleen ‘spleens’ ain’t it”)?

Here – we’ll even show you a spleen and point out all its bits.  Does THAT help?  No?

And you want to insure this WHY?

 

 

 

AND THEN THERE’S THIS ORGAN…

cerebro-humano

Insuring brains is expensive.  In fact, it’s SO expensive, you’d have to be crazy to pay the freight.  So why bother.

TrumpCare ‘PICK-AN-ORGAN’: ‘Hey — look at all the money YOU just saved!’

 

Our News Media’s Big Problem – They Don’t Know How To Connect Dots

I have two kids.  When they were little, they both delighted in connect-the-dots books.  They thrilled to the concept that — as they drew (their pencil being guided by the numbers) — a picture would emerge.  And all THEY had to do: connect the dots.

Cute_Elephant_connect_dots

That same concept works in and for storytelling.  Half the fun of listening to a story is anticipating where we think it’s going to go.  Based on the dots already connected for us (by the storyteller), we can anticipate how the dots ahead of us might connect.  We’re also hoping for a plot twist that will completely screw with what we anticipated.  Then the dots will connect a different way.

But — the point is — they’ll still connect.

If the dots don’t connect — there’s no story.  So — in stories, as in life, the dots must (and do) connect.  Just like in the connect-the-dot books.

What can possibly explain our Main Stream Media’s inability to do that simple, basic thing?

We sit in the middle of the biggest connect-the-dots puzzle ever imagined.  It’s massive, stretching in all sorts of directions.  It’s a picture — we can see it already (those of us who can imagine a picture from more than a few hundred feet up) of Massive Corruption — here, in the United States, in Europe, in the Middle east and in Asia.  Even Australia’s contributed — contributing a racist murderer to New Zealand.  Only Antarctica seems free of political corruption; maybe the scientists who’ve worked there know differently.

What we’ve already eyewitnessed ourselves is staggering in its audacity and criminality. Those of us who see crime for what it is, have always seen crime.  Those who easily normalize crime (“He’s a different kind of president”) see normalcy.  The only reason they see normalcy is because they cannot connect dots.

There is nothing normal about these here times. Anyone who accepts this as normal has either surrendered (and needs to stop or just get the hell out of everyone else’s way) or is part of the criminal class — and they need to cut it the hell out — and get the hell out of everyone else’s way.  There has been a steady stream of clear-cut EVIDENCE that Donald Trump has an “unnatural” relationship with not only Vladimir Putin but a whole host of authoritarian monsters.

There are no coincidences — those are dots connecting.

Of course, it’s hard to see the picture the dots are forming when you obsess on the relationship between two dots.  Problem is — while THOSE TWO dots may not connect directly, they’re still part of the same picture.  If you don’t see THAT fact — you’re going to miss what the picture looks like.  Hell, you’ll probably think they’re TWO DIFFERENT PICTURES. And that, of course, is completely wrong.

Welcome to America’s Main Stream News Media.

Back when Fusion GPS first got hired by the REPUBLICAN Washington Free Beacon (Jeb Bush supporters) to compile oppo research on Donald Trump, they started by doing their “due diligence”.  When he testified before Congress on August 22, 2017, Fusion’s founding partner Glenn Simpson (formerly of the Wall Street Journal — not exactly a liberal rag) explained Fusion’s process.  They got ahold of every piece of PUBLICLY AVAILABLE material they could on Donald J Trump.

They got books.  They got magazine articles.  They listened to Trump on radio shows and watched him on TV shows. They bought stuff from Amazon and borrowed it from the public library.  Simpson testified that Fusion got its hands on every existing bit of info (available to anyone) that even hinted at Trump.  And what they found there, said Simpson, convinced them that Donald Trump had a long, clear criminal history — and that history had a long, clear relationship with Russian mobsters.

Simpson and Fusion GPS knew — Russian mobsters equals the Russian government.  You don’t get to be a Russian oligarch (a mobster) without having one particular friend in Moscow: Vlad Putin.  Putin’s a spy by nature and training.  He thinks like a spy and acts like one. He’s always looking for an in — a way to control you and make you his.  If Donald Trump had secrets about Russian mobsters for whom he’d been laundering money — he had secrets about himself and Vladimir Putin.

Understand — the Donald dot does not connect directly to the Vladimir Putin dot. But they do most definitely connect.

They are very definitely part of the same picture.

Oh — before I forget — IF anyone in the Main Stream Media happens to read this — that picture at the top of the post?

It’s an elephant.

 

Having A “Normalcy Bias” Isn’t Abnormal; It Should Be…

If a presidential contender coming down an escalator announces to the world that he’s running for President because America needs a wall to keep out all the Mexican rapists — and everyone (after an initial burst of outrage) shrugs because they’re already consumed by that contender’s next outrage — somewhere inside that shrug was born their “Normalcy Bias”.  Calling Mexicans rapists went — within a sentence — from being an outrage to being… “normal”.

That’s just how Trump speaks, the MSM told us.  Racism?  No.   Poor word choice — yes.  And, just like that, the MSM had built absolute racism into its Normalcy Bias.  Racism was — IS — now completely legit.  Pussy-grabbing worked the exact same way.  A few moments of outrage tempered by the “timely” release of a Wikileaks dump — which, too, got NORMALIZED.  Shall we toss LYING onto the bonfire?

How quickly did the MSM normalized the fact that a president of the United States lied more reliably than he told the truth?  Though they knew what Trump was saying was a lie, still they continued to report each lie as if it WASN’T a lie and therefore had to be considered as possibly the truth.

Sorry, but a turd is a turd is a turd. Call it a “perfumed package” if you like or a “surprise” or even just “poo”.  It’s a turd.  It stinks.  It has to be cleaned up.  Making it “palatable” while making it “do-able” also makes it “palatable”.  Maybe it shouldn’t be.

What our MSM can’t seem to grasp is how badly THEY are being fooled every day by their own Normalcy Bias.  When, say, you know going into a (rare) press conference that the Press Secretary is going to lie to you — and then you LET HER LIE & (worse) let her GET AWAY WITH IT, you are further solidifying HER Normalcy Bias that she CAN get away with just about every time.  What’s the cost of lying?  Nothing.

Normalcy Bias is no one’s friend.   It’s comfort with what is even if “what is” is utter bullshit. Normalcy Bias is how that frog slowly gets boiled to death without ever realizing it.

Movies I Adore: “Don’t Look Now”

Every now and then you have to quit bitching and moaning and shout your love for something. Being a filmmaker, movies have always “spoken to me”. I adore it as a form of storytelling. It’s so easy to get wrong. Soooooo easy.

But when a movie is right. It lives inside your head. It’s the storytelling and the look and the characters and the dialogue and the music and the casting and even the greens and set dec — it’s all sublime. There are lots of “directors” but only a handful of artists. I’ve had the pleasure of working with an artist — Bob Zemeckis.

In a way, Bob’s an “artist of the impossible”.

Bob was one of my Executive Producers when I did Tales From The Crypt for HBO. I wrote most of the episodes he directed. For starters, he is an incredible collaborator. He truly knows how to get the very best out of everyone he works with. Which is where the “impossible” comes in. At some point, in a Zemeckis piece, there’s going to be at least one shot that — if you’re looking and realize you’re watching it — is impossible. Meaning — yeah, the shot’s there in the movie but how the hell did they get it? It’s impossible!

When I was a young buck, a terrific documentary filmmaker I had the honor to know — Greg Shuker — turned me on to Nicolas Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now” — a psychological thriller starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland.

Don't Look NowI don’t want to give away a great ending but — that the ending works as effectively as it does, that it’s as memorable as it is — it’s a testament to the masterful work director Nic Roeg has done up till then.

Water plays heavily.  The color red, too.  Sutherland plays John, an art restorer preparing for a project he’s about to start in Venice, Italy.  He and Christie’s Laura own a farm out in the country where their two young children are playing on a rainy day.  Their young daughter drowns in the pond — something her father “senses”.  He rushes outside but too late.  He pulls her body — clad in its red mac — from the pond with a doleful wail.

It’s a few months later.  They’ve buried their child.  Their son is at boarding school as the restoration project in Venice begins.  On their first night, Laura and John make love (for the first time since their daughter died) then go out to dinner.  At the next table are two elderly English sisters.  One is blind.  They happen to be in the ladies’ room when Laura enters.

The blind sister is psychic.  She says she’s seen Laura and John’s daughter.  She was happy.  Laughing.  Laura is blown away.  She doesn’t know what to think.  But John — when Laura tells him — thinks it’s all nonsense and wishful thinking. 

And yet.  As the movie goes on, John begins to catch glimpses of a fleeing figure in red.  Is it the spirit of his daughter — or something else?

Roeg was a director of photography before sliding into the director’s chair.  His films look great.  He captures Venice’s wateriness — its dullness.  Its greyness and fog.  He captures the feeling one gets — being there — of wandering in circles — hopelessly lost.  But the Roeg’s real genius as a director was in how he cut.  He had a way of intercutting two scenes that no one else could touch.

An excellent example — the scene where John and Laura make love for that first time since their daughter’s death.  Roeg intercuts the sex — which is very intimate (there have always been stories that the sex between Christie and Sutherland was real) — with John and Laura, post-coital, get ready to go out for dinner.  You really get the feeling that they’re a couple — which makes the sex we keep intercutting back to feel more organic and real.

For my money, the sex scene in Don’t Look Now is one of the best 2 or 3 sex scenes in all of movie history (the caveat being that most sex scenes suck).  And — here’s the kicker — it’s between a married couple.  That’s a sex scene you never see — between married people.

Nic Roeg died a few months ago.  I still owe Greg Shuker — for introducing him to me.

Dear Christians: Stop Listening To Paul; Listen to JESUS Instead

It sucks that an atheist has to explain Christianity to Christians. But — the fact is — atheists have a perspective on Christianity that Christians intrinsically lack (and can never get). THIS atheist — having perspective — sees a distinct difference between Jesus (the supposed “inventor” of Christianity and “Christianity” (his supposed “invention”).

Oy. Where to begin…

Back in the 1985, Robert Funk (an American bible scholar) created The Jesus Seminar. Funk wanted to promote “biblical literacy” via a “historical-critical” approach that viewed Christian orthodoxy with extreme doubt. Funk wanted the Seminar (composed of about 50 critical-thinking biblical scholars and 100 lay people) to identify (if they could) and draw out a “historical Jesus” from the texts — a man apart from any mythos. While the Seminar was most active in the 1980’s and 1990’s, its work has continued up to today.

The Jesus Seminar concluded that (this is taken from Wikipedia’s page on the Seminar) —

The seminar also concluded that at best we can put a dozen to a dozen-and-a-half sayings into Jesus’ mouth — as things Jesus might have said (vs the self-referential things he almost certainly did not say because it would never have occurred to him).

That means that, effectively, most of what we think of as Christianity had nothing to do with Jesus — and everything to do with Paul who was the one person hard at work creating far-flung churches (among the goyim) made up of goyim. The overwhelming majority of the NT is Paul communicating with and building his church communities. And he’s mythologizing Jesus as he goes — converting “Historical Jesus” into Christian Church Jesus.

Real Jesus despised the “church” (in his world – the Temple authorities). Jesus’ whole message was “You don’t NEED a church to have a relationship with god”. Since that’s the case (according to the Jesus Seminar), then why on earth would Jesus advocate for the creation of a “church” to speak for him? It’s ludicrous on its surface.

Jesus preached a simple message — that’s why it’s endured. Simple & doable. Why, even a humble atheist can “do unto others” without contradicting themselves.

For “Christ’s sake” — following Jesus is incredibly simple (and rewarding). I bet following a church can’t hold a candle to it.

Sunday Sermon: The Inexplicable Power Of OOGA-BOOGA

I consider myself an aficionado of bullshit. I don’t “like” bullshit — but I do see how pervasive bullshit is. I see (having fallen for it myself to the point of nearly offing myself because of it) — how seductive bullshit is; I see how easily every last one of us can fall under its sway — and become its slaves.

Bullshit captures us and holds us because it appeals to the lazy, irrational, can’t-be-bothered-with-the-Truth lizard brain that epitomizes conservative mind-think. It sees a mystery — and, where the “gaps” are in its knowledge, it puts ooga-booga instead of a simple “I don’t know the answer to that yet”. It assumes magic must be the answer to what it doesn’t know. Ironically — if it waited five minutes (while someone curious went at the answer), they’d LEARN — it isn’t ooga-booga, it’s biology or chemistry or physics or some other natural explanation that simply needed to be stumbled over.

There’s a reason the religions of the world love to educate children — they can break a child’s capacity to think at the get-go and replace analytical thought with acceptance of mythology and ooga-booga. Did Life-As-We-Know-It begin in a singularity — or in the mind of a physically powerful but emotionally fragile deity?

If you don’t have microscopes or telescopes or celestial navigation or calculus or any of the other human innovations that gave us the TOOLS with which to replace ooga-booga explanations with REAL ones — you’ll give in to the ooga-booga because you don’t know any better. “KNOW” is the operative word here.

On this subject — quick side note here — I recommend this remarkable lecture by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Among other things he touches on naming rights (why do so many stars have Arabic names?)

The point of “naming rights” is that it reflects “discovery”. Being the “inventors” of celestial navigation — a human innovation that put a big chunk of ooga-booga to bed — Arabs (having no competition to consider) named the stars they identified — and fixed in the heavens & their mind — in the language they spoke: Arabic. It’s a great lecture — absolutely worth the time to watch. He touches on ooga-booga, too.

As Tyson articulately explains — even the greatest minds in science have given in to that old, (apparently) hard-wired-into-us urge to give in and fill in the gaps in our knowledge with ooga-booga and its bedmate Magical Thinking.

Those of us NOT beholden to ooga-booga must call out the ooga-booga for what it is whenever we see it. Maybe we should use the term “OOGA-BOOGA” to describe it — instead of “bullshit”.

Even calling it “bullshit” gives “ooga-booga” way too much credence.