The Difference Between Bullshit & Horse Shit — And, Yes, There IS A Difference…

I think of “now” as A Golden Age Of Bullshit. And we are the mountaineers bravely climbing Bullshit’s highest peak — the Trump White House.

Humanity has invented and lived through countless Ages of Nonsense, Lies, Rubbish & Self-Delusion. Pick a religion. Add a little dogma. Bam! You have bullshit on your hands now. The Golden Ages are when religionistas take up arms against each other — killing on a grand scale in order to prove that their imaginary friend can kick the other guy’s imaginary friend’s ass.

Bullshit can kill people. Climate deniers use bullshit to justify doing nothing as if “doing nothing” would prove climate change isn’t real. But climate change will happen and destroy human lives regardless of what humans think. Only what humans “DO” can effect or even, hopefully, slow what we humans have done to our own freaking habitat.

We all know bullshit when we see it, smell it, hear it, right? It’s like they used to define pornography. We can’t say quite what it is (it covers so much territory), but we know it when we “experience” it. It’s that distinctive.

Horse shit, by comparison, is milder stuff. Horse shit is your idiot RW uncle at Thanksgiving “Yeah, but”-ing every argument, because he still thinks blaming the Clintons works.

Horse shit is your kid missing curfew and swearing they were caught in traffic.

Horse shit is 60% of all Cable News talking head panels. It’s rubbish — mostly harmless, masturbatory navel gazing done by second tier talent who keep getting air time because there’s so little first tier talent. The other panels are 10% worthwhile conversations (mostly via Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline White House) and 20% outright bullshit.

There are certain regular guests on some of these shows who are especially good at pointing out the dividing line between horse shit & bullshit. Dr. Jason Johnson is always good at laser-lighting it. Elie Mystal is amazing. So’s Zina Maxwell and Anand Giridharadas. Dr. Eddie Glaude articulates the dividing line beautifully. So does Maria Hinojosa.

Hmmmmm… Do ya suppose it’s a coincidence that those most skilled at seeing the difference between horse shit and bullshit have been most beaten up by bullshit? Slavery was/is bullshit. Racism is bullshit. All bigotry is bullshit. All misogyny is bullshit. I’m biased. I’d say pretty much all conservative thinking is bullshit (whereas people thinking conservatives and progressives could ever work together again — that’s just horse shit).

There Is Only One Answer – Election 2016 Must Be Completely Voided

It’s taken almost 3 years for the Main Stream News Media to broadcast things that, when loons like me used to say them, got eye rolls so hard they nearly burst out of the heads rolling them.

Russia — or any other bad actor — COULD ABSOLUTELY hack into voting machines — in real time even — and CHANGE THEIR TALLIES. That’s even after voters (all Democrats, don’tcha know!) have survived being hacked out of the voter rolls to begin with. Let’s not skip past that very important point: a vote suppressed (where the voter could not vote or was not allowed to vote or was “provisional or was dissuaded from voting via lies sent directly to their FB pages) is a vote stolen. It means the other side’s votes count more; we don’t know for certain what the ratio is — of Republican votes to suppressed or obliterated Democratic votes.

Ya gotta figure — if all those votes Republicans work so hard to suppress were guaranteed Republican votes? We would not be having this conversation. Hell — each of those voters would be limo’d to their polling place, fed, entertained (probably including hand release if they want it) then limo’d home and eased into bed. Same goes for every single Central American refugee trying desperately to get into this country.

Let’s be very clear about WHY all of this is happening. We are experiencing a perfect storm of greed, graft, gall & treachery. The greed, graft & gall all flow from Republicans recognizing that America’s demographics spell eventual doom form them. They are (and always have been — in modern times — we ain’t talking about “The Party Of Lincoln” here) the party of White Christian Male Privilege. Guys like Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich and Mitch McConnell saw it and saw what they had to do to maintain that privilege for as long as possible if not forever: they had to break the system.

Republicans got that the executive branch was forever gone (take away the bullshittiest SCOTUS decision ever — Bush v Gore) and Al Gore is POTUS. Take away Russia and Hillary Clinton is POTUS. Take away the Electoral College and Republicans can’t even get within the DC City Limits.

They saw, the GOP did, that the House of Representatives was also likely a lost cause. Good thing the Senate is weighted so heavily toward rural states where all the white power lives. It doesn’t put the Senate out of reach for Democrats — it demands a whole other kind of politics however.

That left the judiciary — the one (theoretically co-equal) branch of government that Republicans could (using the Senate) seize, pervert & (using lifetime appointments) employ to circumvent the majority’s will (regarding birth control, climate change, voting rights, immigration). To that end and effect, Mitch McConnell refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing. He refused to process most of Obama’s other judicial nominees.

Can we all just agree, please — Mitch McConnell (Moscow Mitch as he’s trending now on Twitter) is among the vilest humans to ever walk the planet and – bonus points – one of the worst villains to ever turtle walk across the American political stage. Mitch — beholden to the Kochs & Mercers, beholden to millions of dollars of Russian patronage into his PACS, beholden to oligarchs and any number of other bad actors — deserves to be tried & punished for treason. That’s as factual as facts get.

Though the Republican Party may have resisted Trump at first, they got seduced easily. Having secrets (including emails stolen from the RNC, as yet unrevealed to the public but very much a fact) makes you vulnerable to blackmail. I present the pride of the Carolinas Senator Lindsey Graham who went from calling Trump a racist to proudly pointing to all the places on his uvula where Trump spattered his racist DNA. Once the GOP bought in to Trumpism, they bought in all the way.

The Mueller Report — in print and in Mueller’s unwilling oral presentation — made concrete points: Russia cyber attacked us, our election, our whole Democratic process — and Donald Trump and the Republican party knew it, accepted it and participated in it. When they feared being discovered, they lied about it and obstructed justice in every single way they could.

They’re still at it — just like Robert Mueller said. He was referring strictly to Russia but — he’d already suggested that Trump and those around him were complicit. I’m sure Robert Mueller knew — as he stared back at Republicans like sexual-assault enabler Jim Jordan, DUI-guy Matt Gaetz and scumbag-di-tutti-scumbags Devin Nunes — that each and every one was a flat-out traitor.

The Republican Party approached Election 2016 like a thief approaching the score of his life. He had lots of help but still wondered if they could all pull it off. Keep in mind what we’re talking about here. This isn’t some drunken fraternity prank — this is criminal. It’s aiding and abetting a foreign enemy hellbent on 1) undermining our whole system & 2) profiting from it via the lifting of sanctions. Russia’s efforts — active measures all — aren’t “war-like”, they’re WAR. Cyber War. Information War.

Anyone who thinks wars require bombs and bullets will lose every war they ever fight going forwards. The Russians (or Iran or North Korea or any number of others) could shut down our power grid — you better believe that’s do-able — and we’d sue for peace. Cyber War IS War. We’re under attack. Think of us like Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 — 20 minutes BEFORE the Japanese Imperial Navy arrives and starts bombing, The war has already started, the Americans at Pearl Harbor simply didn’t know it yet.

That’s us, not recognizing an empirical fact — that the man occupying the White House was PUT there by a hostile foreign power as part of an act of outright WAR. That means the crimes being committed in concert with Russia are crimes being committed in war time. THAT makes them picture-definition treason.

Let’s be clear again. What the Republican Party did & keeps doing is treasonous. That’s not hyperbole. What Mitch McConnell is doing — refusing to beef up our election security IN ANY WAY is treason on the hoof and in plain sight. THAT is absolutely what the Republicans are up to now and what they were up to back when we all went to vote in 2016.

What happened on November 7, 2016 was neither free nor fair. The Republican Party collaborated with Russia to steal the election and pull off a soft coup d’etat meant to undermine The Rule Of Law and install permanent minority rule. THAT was the actual result of election 2016 — the Republican Party deliberately circumvented the Will of the American People.

Well how the hell can THAT possibly stand?

It can’t. Of course it can’t. If one dollar of Russian money flowed into Republican campaign coffers, that’s a crime. It doesn’t matter if it stopped there (it didn’t); the Rule Of Law isn’t proportional, it’s absolute. If one voter was denied their right to vote then the election was NOT entirely free & fair. Again — the Rule Of Law is not proportional; it is absolute.

You cannot — in the abstract — break the law to become president of the US. You cannot break the law in reality either. And you cannot claim to have “won” an election when the only reason you “won” is because a hostile foreign power MADE YOU WIN.

That means Donald Trump never won anything. Having not actually WON, he didn’t earn the right to take the oath of office or do anything he did after that. He never had the right or the privilege to name judges — including two SCOTUS judges. The authority was NEVER vested in HIM. He did it WITHOUT actual authority.

That means those two judges — hell, EVERY judge nominated by Trump (never mind that the AEI and the Federalist Society who did the actual choosing) are as illegitimate as Trump is. Every bit of legislation. Every executive action. Every statement. Every tweet. Every racist, misogynistic, bigoted, ignorant statement — it was Trumpian but it wasn’t “official”.

So — what do we “do with” all these illegitimate judges and laws (like the tax giveaway)? I heard former Republican David Jolley on MSNBC this morning saying that maybe we just have to let 2016 go — as a “life lesson” for our Democracy.

Ummmm, no, David. Absolutely not. That’s telling the rape victim to get over it. We were raped. Our Democracy was raped. How else would you describe the Republican party shoving themselves on us regardless of how long and how loudly we protest. They’ve “inserted themselves” into us, like it or not. The bombing at Pearl Harbor has begun.

See that pile of bodies over there? See the flames? It’s all real.

It is incumbent on We The People to void every last bit of Election 2016. How do we do that exactly? I’m not sure. We’ve never had to do it before. But then, we’ve never had a president — and his whole political party — sell us out to an enemy before. None of this is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

We may have look & think outside the box (and the Constitution) for answers and solutions. Let’s start by throwing every single Republican in prison where they belong and by repealing every last bit of 2016.

If we don’t do that, we’ll be setting ourselves up for failure. It’ll be “Slavery: The Sequel”.

It’s Time To Play “BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT”

The “Benefit Of The Doubt” Theme Song

Hi there, ladies ‘n germs — I’m your host Chuck Todd (excuse me while I roll my eyes thoughtfully as if I was physically capable of having thoughts) —

— And welcome to another installment of “Benefit Of The Doubt — the game show where we give the benefit of the doubt to folks who we probably shouldn’t ought to give it to. But, hey — that’s what I think journalism is cos otherwise, I’d have to do research and prep for interviews! Did I say “Welcome to Benefit Of The Doubt yet? I can’t remember — I get so easily distracted.

Tonight’s panel are, first, my co-worker over at NBC News, Chris Matthews —

Chris — say something to the folks!

CHRIS: I miss Bobby Kennedy.

[While Chuck rolls his eyes thoughtfully] CHUCK: Do you think… What I mean is… What if… Is it possible that Sirhan Sirhan was aiming at someone else that night in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen?

CHRIS: No. Sirhan was Palestinian. He said he hated Bobby’s position regarding Israel. It wasn’t really a question of— Now, wait a minute, Chuck — were you playing the game without saying?

CHUCK: Guilty! I bet if I hadn’t spent the whole time rolling my eyes thoughtfully, you’d have never caught me.

CHRIS: It’s true… Umm… could ya stop now, Chuck — it’s starting to weird me out.

CHUCK: I’ll try, but — now I’m just trying to see if my bangs are straight… I wish they hadn’t left those pruning shears on my makeup table… Our other panelist tonight is CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

WOLF: Hi, everyone. I just want everyone to know that the look on my face isn’t because I’m thinking about anything, I’m doing math — I’m figuring out how long much longer I can hold onto the fart now in the chamber. Not much longer to judge from my expression, right?

CHUCK: Thanks for the heads up, Wolf. I’ll just move my chair way over here. [As Chuck moves his chair] Our first guest tonight is Climate Change.

[Polite applause as Climate Change enters and takes the seat next to Chuck’s.]

CHUCK: Welcome, Climate Change! You’re really in demand right now. I feel like we were lucky to get you as a guest.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Well, I am trying to get around — what with the book coming out and–

CHUCK: What– wait– what? You have a book coming out? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

CLIMATE CHANGE: Probably cos you can’t read.

[Chuck flashes angrily] CHUCK: What? I can read just fine. Don’t blame me cos I bore easily. Wait — are my bangs straight?

CHRIS: Please, Chuck, I’m begging ya — stop rolling your eyes! In two seconds I’m going to start hurling last year’s St. Patrick’s Day’s corned beef and cabbage. And that disagreed with me then.

WOLF: I bet the gas was intense.

CHRIS: You know it was.

CHUCK: So, Climate Change — We know… what I mean is…

CHRIS: Chuck — stop rolling your eyes–

CHUCK: I’m trying, Chris, I swear it but it’s gone a little autonomic on me. I’m not that in control of it–

CHRIS: Well, I’m not that in control of what I’m about to puke up either.

WOLF: Please stop saying “puke”, it gives me gas.

[Meanwhile, Chuck has continued rolling his eyes]. CHUCK: Are my bangs…? Is it… Would you say…What if the climate deniers are on to something?

[Everyone stops to stare at Chuck]. CHUCK: What?

WOLF: Are you saying climate change isn’t real?

And… SCENE!

America’s Love Affair With “Stupid”, Part III: When Democrats Get Stupid, There’s Nothing Stupider…

Not a revelation: smart people are as capable of profound stupidity as the profoundly stupid.

The instant even an Einstein-level genius begins to view the world with limited or diminished perspective, it’s just a matter of time before they turn as deeply, utterly, right-down-to-his-tighty-whities stupid as Texas’ Louie Gohmert — the (certifiably) Stupidest Man In Congress. When discussing “stupid”, it’s important to define one’s terms.

As a “baseline” for stupid — “stupid” we can all agree is 1) genuinely stupid and 2) quantifiably stupid — Louie Gohmert is (in my humble opinion) The Gold Standard. So — when I say Democrats are capable of profound stupidity, I’m saying Democrats have it in them to be stupider than Louie Gohmert — stupider than the stupidest man in Congress.

But, I’m not here just to call people stupid (as much fun as it is). I’m here to explain WHY they’re stupid. I want to help after all. Louie Gohmert is stupid because stupid is baked in to his genetics. In the human gene pool, Louie and his kin are all “floaters” in the shallow end — turds someone squeezed out because they regularly shit where they eat and sleep. Unfortunately for us, it’s now too late to clear out the pool, empty it of floaters, and give it a good scrub before refilling.

Louie epitomizes conservative stupidity. It has zero intellectual curiosity. Everything a Louie-Conservative knows (or needs to know, it says) comes from the bible. Never mind that had that works’ authors (the bible is a compendium of multiple texts written by multiple people then edited and assembled into the form we know now by other multiple people) operated from a very limited knowledge base. They thought everything in the cosmos revolved around the earth (they were wrong). They thought magic caused and cured disease (they were wrong). They thought the whole world and everything in it was right there where they lived — that no other “continents” existed filled with millions of humans with vastly different experiences from theirs (they were wrong about that, too). Louie-Conservatives holds up this religious text as the basis for all history, science and cosmology.

So — a Louie-Conservative will take the genetic stupidity he starts with and add heaps of experiential stupidity. Rather than open his eyes or, better yet, his mind, a Louie-Conservative will dig in his heels, insisting that these ancient texts, like their authors were “divinely inspired”. They were transmitting the literal “words o’ god”. That’s what every author things, stupid

Conservative stupid is because it will do everything in its power to live in the past — and living in the past (say it with me) IS STUPID.

Democrats get stupid in the exact opposite way. In a sense, Democrats get stupid because we so very much want to live in the future. While conservatives long to live in a past where their tribe dominates (everyone in power needs to look and sound just like them), Progressives (Democrats) want to live in a future where no tribe dominates. That’s a terrific ideal but might not be as doable as Progressives think. Certainly not now the way homo sapiens are “configured”.

Democrats want to think the best of people. Because they want the pool to be as diverse as possible, they allow a tremendous amount of variability in terms of who can join the pool. Progress can’t happen any other way. There are inherent risks because people aren’t uniformly good. Some of us are greedy. Some of us are really greedy.

Greed is a whole other kind of stupid. Everyone is capable of greed.

The moment greed-stupidity enters, all bets are off. Greed-stupidity trumps everything and all other stupidity becomes instantly irrelevant. Greed stupidity is the most willful. It will sacrifice everything at the altar of Greed right down to its own future — like Abraham sacrificing his beloved Isaac just because the voice in his head told him to. The Nature of Democrat-Stupid is we’re terrible at recognizing Greed-Stupid.

Democrats get stupid when they give the benefit of the doubt to Greed-Stupid because they can’t adjudge Greed-Stupid’s true motives. Then Democrats get nuts when Greed-Stupid changes the rules — or flat out ignores them — because all Greed-Stupid cares about is holding onto power (and money) — so they can maintain their Conservative-Stupid hold over everyone — the majority of people.

In bending over backwards to be fair, Democrats initiate the process of their own destruction. Stupid, right? The problem? It’s as baked in as a Conservative’s stupidity.

As the French would say, Voila la probleme.

Is there a cure for stupid? It’s a fair question. I’m afraid the answer’s unsatisfying: no. Homo sapiens are incredibly clever. Industrious. We’re great problem-solvers — maybe the best among sentient beings on earth (though we have no way of really knowing — lots of other sentient beings are good at solving problems). But we’re self-destructive in myriad ways — starting with our knack for over-production. There are far, far too many of us on the planet. We’ve destroyed 90% of all the other creatures we’ve encountered. Destroyed them or made their habitat unlivable, take your pick. They disappeared regardless.

We’re facing a massive, genuinely existential crisis caused by our own greed and short-sightedness. But, in part because there are so many of us and because we’re so diverse, it’s impossible for us to collectively help ourselves quickly if at all. And even if we could collectively help ourselves, because variation is baked in — and because so much of that variation is motivated by greed — we’re doomed from the start.

It’s a fact — homo sapiens will be no more durable on this planet than the dinosaurs. We’re just as doomed to distinction. The one big difference? Dinosaurs had no hand in their own destruction. The cosmos did that courtesy of a massive meteor strike.

In our case — we have only ourselves to blame.

Boy, is that stupid.

Lessons In How Media Works — FOR THE MEDIA

I sure hope someone at CNN or MSNBC reads this. I know I can help them. I’ve got real world bona fides in my pocket, too. Having run TV shows, written and produced feature films, written scripts for computer games, advertising, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, I know a thing or two about VISUAL storytelling. I know how the medium works.

That doesn’t mean you have to listen to me, CNN & MSNBC, it just means you wouldn’t be stupid to at least hear me out.

The “Biggie” — the mistake you make repeatedly as if you were absolute amateurs — understanding how FRAMING works. You don’t. That applies equally to visuals & storytelling. Framing eludes you.

Let’s start with visuals. A TV screen is like a canvas filled with information and visual vocabulary. Take THIS screen for instance…

This was Bill Nye debating climate science denier Marc Morano. I’m sure you know who Bill Nye is. Morano (to quote Wikipedia) is “a former Republican political aid who founded and runs the website ClimateDepot.com. ClimateDepot is a project of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow  (CFACT), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that denies the scientific consensus on climate change. Morano’s in the “deny all the science” business, got it?

When CNN puts these two people on-screen together, they present them in a simple 50-50. Each man gets half the frame. Now, here’s the part where you need to pay CAREFUL ATTENTION, CNN & MSNBC — in the visual vocabulary, a 50-50 frame says that both arguments have equal weight. One is as true or likely as the other. All of Bill Nye’s science has the exact same weight — in terms of its rightness or wrongness — as Marc Morano’s science-less, data-less, fact-less, EVERYTHING-LESS bullshit. It doesn’t matter what Morano says, in fact. The more ludicrous his pronouncements the better, in fact, from HIS corrupt point of view because the point of the exercise isn’t to “INFORM” anyone, it’s to dis-inform EVERYONE!

Get it? The more nonsense Morano spews, the more he diminishes all the facts on the other side of that 50-50 screen. The shot itself diminishes the value of the Truth within it? How’s that for twisted?

While that particularly framing happens less frequently now — because climate denial gets less air time — when it does get air time? It still gets to claim equal validity. Of course, CNN & MSNBC could “frame” climate denial first before putting it on their air — that, too, is a possibility. They could point out that one of the two arguments being presented is real while the other is complete horse shit — let the buyer beware! — but they won’t. The other way they could frame the discussion correctly would be to re-imagine the screen presentation of the two sides relative to their truthfullness.

Instead of a 50-50, the screen would be 99.9% Bill Nye and <1% Mark Morano. Like this —

See how that would more accurately represent — in visual language — the relative weight of each person’s argument? See how it feels like a giant talking to an ant? Or an adult speaking to a stupid child?

Let’s move on to my other “framing” bugaboo (I know those CNN & MSNBC eyeballs have a low tolerance for boredom and sitting still. How else do you let “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” stand?) This one begins with that unfortunate disease spreading like an STD through America’s Journalism Schools: “Both Sides Do It” and its brother-disease “False Equivalence Reporting”. The symptom is a reporter repeatedly giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who absolutely doesn’t deserve any such benefit (example — Trump. Why would any reporter give anything that spews from Donald Trump’s anus-shaped mouth a shot at being true when every bit of data says even “hello” & “good-bye” coming from Trump are most likely lies)?

So — if we accept the premise that Donald Trump is a liar — then any time you (CNN or MSNBC) begin your reporting with something Trump says — but without telling your audience Trump is a known liar who’s probably lying right now — your context-free steno-pooling of Trump’s lies have just given those lies the look, feel & legitimacy of Truth. But, it’s not.

When CNN & MSNBC report — as they did today — that Trump gave a good, solid D-Day Memorial speech, they make it sound like Donald Trump is a normal president. But that’s NOT the correct context, is it? In fact, Donald Trump’s presidency has been anything but normal — and, in fact — everything in Trump’s pretty speech (written FOR him by other people) is contradicted by virtually everything Trump’s ever done as president or said over the course of his entire life. Throw in the fact that he’s a goddamned TRAITOR and it gets truly absurd.

Sorry, CNN & MSNBC, but pretty words spoken by a TRAITOR are still just pretty words. SPOKEN BY A TRAITOR. See how that’s actually the headline?

One last criticism while/if I have CNN/MSNBC eyeballs: storytelling works by adding information and then using that new information as the BASIS for ongoing storytelling. Think of it as moving a football down the field toward a touchdown. Adding information to a story is like running a play. All added yardage moves us closer to our goal.

And yet… the stunning majority of on-air “talent” at CNN & MSNBC are utterly incapable of performing this simple party trick. They keep returning to a kind of mental “Square One” where they’ve never learned ANYTHING beyond the information they started with: Donald Trump is “president” which means everything is normal.

Too bad that was never the case. Never mind… those same merchants of mediocrity then take that flawed starting point and — here’s the nutty part — continue to deny knowing anything beyond it regardless of all the actual information raining down on them. They ask questions steeped in ignorance (the worst — tossing out the info as if it required a Rosetta Stone to decipher to their talking head group with a generic “What do YOU make of it?” as if the mere thought of thinking about it themselves was horrifying).

You are allowed, CNN & MSNBC, to use information as you receive it. Refusal to accept and contextualize new information is not the same thing as “being fair as a journalist”. It’s sticking your fool head in the sand.

Quit flattering yourselves.

Now you know what Lesson Two will be all about…