Dear Pundit Class — You Don’t Get Why Bernie Is Succeeding Because You Still Think Everything’s “Politics”

Say what you will about Bernie Sanders, one thing he is — consistent. I think of myself as a socialist — well, a social democrat in the European sense. That’s what Bernie Sanders is, too. A social democrat who believes government’s biggest responsibility (outside of defending us from outside harm) is to level the playing field so that as many citizens as possible can realize their full potential — which will benefit us all in myriad ways.

Democratic socialism is very aspirational. It wants something better than what is. Will it cost more than what we’re doing now? It depends on how you total it all up.

The average middle class American — even with a half-way decent employee-provided health INSURANCE plan — still spends a small fortune out of pocket to get the actual health CARE they need. And nothing in their insurance will save them if they get really, REALLY sick and blow past the insurance coverage’s caps. Hello, bankruptcy. When that average middle class American’s kid gets out of college or university (they’ll need a degree still to compete both here and abroad), they’ve got a whole mountain range of debt to get past before their lives can really begin.

Those are two examples of what we currently think is “acceptable”. Funny thing? Most other modern, industrialized, democratic countries? They don’t agree.

One of the things that never gets mentioned in the apples to kumquats comparisons we get of democratic socialism vs what we have now is that although Europeans pay more in taxes than we do, they GET a whole lot of things that they WANT & NEED in return. Things they can point at. Things that they know make their lives better.

Reminder — no one in a country with that boogeyman “socialized medicine” ever goes bankrupt or loses their family home because they or someone they love dared to get sick.

My opposition to that isn’t “political”, it’s moral. Our system is flat out IMMORAL. Fight me on that — I double dog dare ya.

The idea of giving every one of our children either a (public) college education or technical training “for free” (it’s paid for by tax dollars) isn’t a political idea, it’s a philosophy: we educate our children because it makes US better & smarter as a society. Billing ourselves exorbitantly to accomplish that is stupid on steroids.

That’s why other countries don’t do it. That’s why other countries are competing better than we are. We think it’s all about money and politics.

For us, it is. For all those European Democratic Socialists? It’s a philosophy.

The notion of the “rugged individual” is a fabulous fiction. A very MALE fiction at that. Rugged individuals “alone can fix it”, right?

Bullshit. Even as a philosophy — that’s bullshit. But, ironically, in order to make that philosophy a reality “I alone can fix it” — you have to get political. Because THAT’S a philosophy no one believes and no one (with a brain) will buy. So you have to turn to politics — manipulation (that’s the goal of politics — to manipulate towards an end) — in order to have your way.

Our pundit class still thinks the House Democrats impeached Donald Trump because of politics. That was not the case. Though the Democrats are, indeed, a different political party — and were acting as a group — what motivated them was NOT politics. Yes, Democrats oppose Trump on political grounds, but the actions the Democrats were citing were violations of the law and the Constitution. They weren’t reacting politically, they were reacting patriotically. Not the same things.

Keep in mind — if it’s so that Russia impacted the OUTCOME of election 2016 in in any way (and we KNOW that Republicans not only accepted MILLIONS from Russia into their campaign accounts but handed Russia proprietary polling data on top of it all) then we have to ask — for real — whether we can accept the outcome of an election that was neither free nor fair. Worse — the election’s outcome was Russia’s desired outcome. They put their choice into the White House and have had full control of him ever since.

Between now and the election, Trump’s Russia problem will not go away — no matter what Bill Barr does or tries to do. There will never be a day when Trump gets good news on that front — unless it’s Bill Barr successfully obstructing justice. The PR horse is out of that barn and it’s not coming back.

Our pundit class — like the news media that feeds them — still can’t get the idea that Trump isn’t a normal POTUS out of their heads. They can’t get it INTO their heads that lies and truth don’t have equal weight. When a person lies to you, you IGNORE what they say. You don’t ask “But, what if that’s true…?” because it ISN’T true. It was NEVER true.

You’ve just wasted your time — and our time — running down a rabbit hole you should have avoided. Because it was complete bullshit. A person (a reporter even) who calls out a lie in real time, isn’t acting politically. They’re calling a lie a lie.

Can Bernie accomplish everything he says he wants for America? Probably not. But aspirationally, it’s a far better direction than where Donald Trump and the Republican Party want to take us — permanent minority rule. At least Bernie’s version of America doesn’t divide the way Trump’s America does.

At the end of the day, what Bernie’s really selling — it’s what Obama sold — is HOPE. Hope for something better than what is (and aiming for the middle of the road is aiming for a slightly better version of what is). Bernie’s not selling “Hope Adjacent”, he’s selling full on Hope — while Trump sells the diametric opposite.

Ya see, Pundits — it ain’t about politics. It IS about philosophy, And it is about darkness vs light.

If you don’t think even the dumbest Democrat on the planet can sell that? You’re blinded by politics.

Dear American News Media: This Is NOT A Time For Neutrality; YOU Are One Of Trump’s Main Targets

I think of 95% of our news media as being like the inhabitants of Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941 — about a half hour before the Japanese Imperial Fleet kicked their Sunday morning out of bed. The Japanese didn’t just “fall from the sky” though, of course, that’s what they did. To get to that patch of Hawaiian sky, the Japanese had to plan extensively going back months and years (as a contingency). They had to assemble all that equipment, the manpower, the supply chains to back it all up and then pull the trigger on it.

The Japanese Navy took weeks to get from port to where it could assemble for attack (having moved cautiously to avoid giving away the surprise). In a very real sense, a

The point — in a very real sense, a state of war existed in Japan’s mind long before it existed in ours. We were going to be victimized. Americans were going to die. Yet, had we known (and there are debates as to whether we did or not), and had we been able to “do” something (show enough force sailing toward Japan to dissuade them from their adventure), who knows where the world would be now.

But we did get attacked. We did get surprised — in large part because we took the world for granted. We took it for granted that Japan would never attack us. We took for granted that, if they did, the consequences would be negligible. We took for granted that we were safe in a very dangerous world.

Our news media take an awful lot for granted too. They’ve normalized things that should never EVER have been normalized. The moment they stop squawking about “Mexicans are rapists” and “Pussy-grabbing”, they normalized it. In the aftermath, if whatever Trump said didn’t top that? Who cared. He’s said worse. And if he DID top it — welcome to the NEW “normal”.

Our press still don’t realize yet how much they’ve done that.

We’ll remind them repeatedly when this is done.

One of the “journalists” who staggers me the most is NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell. This award-winning journalist (that staggers me even more!) brings not an iota of perspective to her “reporting”. She will faithfully repeat whatever Trump or his spokespeople say — without contextualizing it ever. If the president said it, Kelly O’s thinking goes, it’s my job to repeat it accurately.

Ah, but what if we live in Trump World — you know, the world we actually live in — where the president in question has been verifiably accused of lying over 13,000 times. What if the context instead was: “This president — who’s fealty to the truth is dubious at best — just said this…”? Granted the language is a little fancy-assed but the point is good. A man notorious for lying repeatedly wants you to believe something he’s saying — because he needs you to.

Trump needs the Kelly O’s to repeat back what he says without them pointing out it’s bullshit. Every time Kelly O does exactly that, Donald Trump has gotten away with more lies and lying. I wonder… if, one day, Trump came out to the White House lawn and told the assembled reporters — Kelly O’Donnell included — that Kelly O eats puppies for breakfast, would Kelly O blithely repeat it — because that’s what Trump said and her job is to report it without “getting involved” in the story?

Would Kelly O make an exception — knowing for a fact that she DOESN’T eat puppies for breakfast and, personally, finds the idea disgusting? Would she muster the nerve to hold up her hand and say to Trump “Now, hold on here, Mister President, I know for a fact that I do not eat puppies for breakfast, having given up he habit years ago. Either you are mis-informed or you’re a liar, take your pick.”

Mmmmm, no, I can’t hear Kelly O rising to the occasion to defend herself. That would mean she inserted herself into the story — and Kelly O would never do that — not even to defend the truth. About herself.

The media keep framing Bernie Sanders through Trump’s lens — “he’s a socialist” (as if being a socialist was in fact a terrible thing — never mind corporate socialism). Do they ever — to level the playing field — frame Trump the way Democrats will likely frame him — as an authoritarian criminal? As a rapist? As corruption with legs?

No? How about as “Co-Conspirator Number One”? That IS supported by evidence.

I guess all those mediocre “journalists” figure they’ll survive the purges that are sure to follow Trump “winning” another election. They’re even more delusional than usual. Trump will want them to be all Kelly O all the time — a steno pool masquerading as an open mic. Poor them. They don’t grasp how terribly expendable they are.

I hope they get a good bunk at the gulag. I hope they’re not counting on it though.

Dear American News Media — If You’re Covering Jeffrey Dahmer, You’re Allowed To Call Him “A Cannibal”; If You’re Covering Donald J Trump…

Rules are funny things, aren’t they? Journalism has no “laws” guiding its practices, it has “rules”. Ideals of how journalism is best practiced, its ultimate goal the fair, unbiased reporting of what’s happened, what’s happening — and what’s likely to happen next.

Somewhere along the way, American journalism took that desire for “unbiased” reporting to mean “neutral no matter what”. As in “no matter what that reporting uncovers or reveals”. As in — even if we knew the worst about someone — as we reported their story — we’d still report on them as if they weren’t as horrible as we KNEW them to be.

That’s a strange approach for a storyteller to take. Stories work by building new information upon older information. Learning things is ideally what causes characters in a story to react — and drive the story forward. And yet, our news media — when reporting the story of Donald Trump — seems determined to never begin its reporting with what we know NOW. They keep starting the story with what we knew A WHILE AGO — back before we had hard evidence that took us to what we know NOW.

Trying to tell Trump’s story without STARTING from the very beginning (he’s a corrupt-to-his-core narcissist who’s been in bed with Russia from the beginning and whose criminality isn’t just conjecture, it’s verifiable) makes no sense. Yet that’s what our press does every day. They tell Trump’s story without telling it’s core truth. It’d be like telling the Jeffrey Dahmer story without mentioning “Hey, by the way — Jeff’s a cannibal”.

But, “strangely” (meaning NOT strangely), the press didn’t worry about not being able to “smoking gun” their evidence, without finding his victims’ DNA in Jeffrey Dahmer’s shit, the press was willing to go full cannibal in their reporting on Jeff — well before those were legally verifiable facts…

It wasn’t hard to figure out what was happening at Jeff’s house. The evidence was all over the place. Just like it’s not hard to figure out what’s happening at Donald’s house (formerly The Peoples’ House).

Would our press get squeamish suddenly and refuse to call Jeffrey a cannibal? Would they refer to his “unusual diet” instead — his “keto-on-steroids” choice of animal protein? No — the media went full cannibal the moment they had a whisper of cannibalism. They couldn’t get enough “cannibalism”. They got so obsessed with cannibalism you’d almost think IT was “eating” THEM.

You’d think they’d be equally hungry at the thought of treason. Treason FFS!

There’s a legal term: “the preponderance of the evidence”. It’s a smoking gun’s “get out of jail free” card. Even a smoking gun can get away without a smoking gun if it brings the preponderance of the evidence into play. Yet, our media has it in their heads that either 1) no such “preponderance of the evidence” standard exists (they’re wrong) or 2) their neutrality prohibits them from calling things what they are because calling them what they are would undermine their neutrality. Or something like that…

Jeffrey Dahmer was a cannibal as soon as the press could call him one. Donald Trump might never be a traitor, a money-launderer, a rapist, a con man, a liar, a thief or a traitor because no one the press gives credence to will call him any of those words directly. No smoking gun despite smoke so thick you can’t even see through it.

Maybe THAT’S the problem. Our press doesn’t know that it’s hair is on fire. They don’t know the whole house is aflame all around them either.

Shame… as assuredly as Jeff Dahmer chowed down on the people he lured into his apartment for comfort — to keep him company, Donald Trump will gobble up the news media (as he always does). The media won’t know it’s happened until well after Trump starts farting and shitting them out.

Our new media… they’re always the last to know anything.

Imagine If The News Could Go Bullshit-Free For 24 Hours…

A Thought Experiment — Imagine, if you can: The News Networks (that doesn’t include Fox of course) and all the country’s news sources agree that for one 24 hour period, they will refuse to broadcast, print or disseminate anything “bullshit”.

For one whole day, the news commits to putting out news and only news. If you can’t back it up, in other words, it’s bullshit. Bring receipts or don’t come.

What would that look like, I wonder? What would the newspapers, web sites and broadcasters do if they could ONLY put out verifiable truth. We’ll throw in a bit of “preponderance of the evidence” exceptions because the current WH is so frugal about answering subpoenas. Guilty behavior counts as guilty behavior.

For 24 hours, Donald Trump’s face would not appear on our TV’s. Imagine that. We wouldn’t hear his name either — except as the subject of news stories — investigating his corruption or reporting the terrible things he’s done. No need to repeat what he said other than to tell us “Donald Trump did what he usually does: he lied”. We get it already. Boy, do we get it.

For 24 hours, we wouldn’t have “the other side” presented to us as if Republican lies had the same “weight” as actual Truth. They don’t, of course, it’s one of our news media’s manias — the “both sides do it” belief that every argument has two exactly equal sides. Climate change, for instance.

For 24 hours we wouldn’t have to put up with dimwitted analysis by dimwitted pundits who — if pressed — would have to admit that they hadn’t a clue what they were talking about. In other words, they’re making it up — they’re lying. They’re on hiatus for the day.

Given 24 hours of nothing but verifiable truth reported factually and analyzed with insight, I bet Americans could begin to connect any dots they haven’t yet connected. I bet Americans could even get used to hearing straight Truth.

For 24 hours, Trump would have to go elsewhere to spread his toxic, lying spew. He’d probably fart out a record-setting number of tweets out of sheer desperation. Trump’s come to rely on seeing his bloated orange face on TV all the time. Not seeing it there would freak him out.

One thing’s for sure — the moment those 24 hours ended and lies began to fill the spaces where only the Truth had been a little while before? Americans would find being lied to sickening. Hell, we might never stop throwing up.

Strange… I feel that way already.

The Reason “Both Sides Don’t Do It” Is Because Both Sides Are NOT The Same

The core conceit at play when a “journalist” like Chuck Todd (which means we’re using the term “journalist” as loosely as we can) insists that “both sides do it” is that both sides do what they do for entirely political reasons. That is empirically untrue.

To act politically is to attempt change. If you are acting politically, you are trying to change the current situation. You’re trying to motivate people to alter what’s happening now — how they’re doing what they’re doing — so that they’ll do what you want them to do in the way you want. You want them to vote against all forms of gun control, for instance. Because you’re desperately afraid that gun control nuts will literally take your weapons away, you resort to all sorts of “persuasion” to stop that from happening. All those acts of persuasion — that’s you being political.

By contrast, when parents mourn their dead children — shot to death in their school — they’re NOT acting politically. When they turn to their political leaders and say “This must stop” — that also is NOT a political act. To see their desires realized out in reality, that WILL demand political action (they’ll have to affect change. But the thing they want to see happen — their children returning from school at the end of the day, not bullet-riddled — that’s NOT political.

It takes politics to negotiate the varying and conflicting needs of different people. But, the common good — the goal everyone’s after — that’s NOT political. It has to be reached via political means. And that, right there, is the source of the confusion.

The dimwits like Chuck Todd see people reacting to politics impacting their lives and call those reactions political.

The Republicans have gerrymandered everywhere they could (as Democrats have also done) for entirely political reasons. When Democratic voters get deliberately under-served as a result, their anger at what’s been done to them isn’t a political reaction, it’s a reaction to dishonesty, corruption and possibly even a crime being perpetrated on them. An African American voter being denied their right to vote is being denied for a political reason — but their anger, resentment and insistence that justice be served — that’s NOT political.

What the Republican Party & Donald Trump are doing to America — dragging it backward in time to the 1850’s — is entirely political. It’s a power grab.

That’s the thing our Main Stream News Media cannot get through its thick head. The reason someone becomes a Democrat is very different from the reason someone becomes a Republican. The reason one goes to a Trump rally is very different from the reason one watches bits and pieces of it on TV instead — with bile and disgust rising in one’s throat. The bile isn’t political. Neither is the disgust.

The Democrats reacting to stolen elections (via voter suppression and Russian involvement) aren’t being “political”, they’re being CRIME VICTIMS. The Rule Of Law could feel equally aggrieved. Ditto the Constitution. They’re both crime victims — and any Democrat rushing to their aid -isn’t doing it for political reasons.

They’re doing it because they’re patriots.

Dear American News Media: Why Do You Always Mark Republicans On A Curve?

Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign took a hit when she was cornered into showing receipts for how she would pay for getting every American health CARE. The grinding irony — this is never a question Republican candidates ever have to grapple with. How we’re gonna pay for the next Republican tax cut is always obvious — it’s coming from what’s left of the Middle Class’s hide. It’s coming from the poorest of the poor.

Maybe I’ve answered my own question already. Why doesn’t America’s news media ever hold Republican candidates (or working politicians) to the same standards of proof as they do Democratic candidates? Perhaps it’s because our MSM knows going in that Republicans never have receipts. They want everyone to take what they say as gospel truth.

For instance — that America is a “center-right country”. Perhaps the people who’ve shown up at the polls until recently (around 55% of the total electorate in 2016) leaned center-right. Historically, older people vote in larger numbers than younger people (which is a terrible reflection on us — they should be motivated to maintain our Democracy, not made deeply cynical about it!) But there’s a reason why Republicans — historically — do everything they can to suppress as much of the vote as they can: they know that when more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats.

Beto O’Rourke’s near success in taking Ted Cruz’s senate seat was an object lesson in 1) how to beat Republicans in seemingly impossible places and 2) when you get more Americans out to vote, number 1) becomes a lot more possible. That’s because America (when it actually votes) is a center-left country. Beto didn’t go after the red necks and rich shitheads who always show up to vote, he went after those who don’t normally show up (in large part because they’ve felt disenfranchised — which they were). And they were disenfranchised with purpose — to wipe out their vote — to make their NOT showing up to vote as reliable as RWers showing up. Then — the icing — we told ourselves that THIS was written in stone: just how it is.

The American public has been bamboozled by bullshit.

What conservatives and right wingers are good at is “marketing” (aka “stoking fear” — “Be Afraid” is very much the Republican Brand). They’re good at selling messages: “Americans love their health insurance” (no — they love the doctors they love & going through the insurance company is the only way to get those doctors — not the same thing). “Mission Accomplished” (no, it wasn’t — not by a long shot).

Do Republicans ever have to pay for their bullshit — or even explain it? Have you watched any of the last three years? Donald Trump has gotten away with “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” and having his head so far up Vladimir Putin’s ass he could be Putin’s uvula. And yet — when the White House press corps gets their shot at Trump (and they get LOTS of shots), do they EVER challenge him on the obvious treachery?

No — they don’t. In fact, when they then talk to the hosts in the studio, they act as if treason, too, is just how it is now. They look at poll numbers — wondering if maybe a misinformed, disinformed & propagandized American public doesn’t care about “maintaining their Republic” anymore. Talk about shitty framing!

Our news media ask if Democrats are over-stepping — wanting to maintain The Rule Of Law and the Constitution. That’s because the news media insists that the Democrats standing up for The Rule Of Law and the Constitution is just “politics”. No. No, it isn’t. And that’s the news media’s problem. “Both Sides Do It” journalism insists on seeing everything as political. They insist that politics motivates everything.

Nothing could be further from the truth of course. Hey, look — I answered my own question again. The news media marks Republicans on a curve because they’ve bought the Republican lie — that just because Republicans do everything for calculated political reasons, the Democrats must be doing it for the same reasons too. The news media isn’t marking Republicans on a curve — they’re dropping Democrats two grades just for sitting down to take the test.

Then acting like everyone’s being graded the same.

The Reason So Many American Journalists Suck At Journalism Is Cos They Suck At STORYTELLING

Ever hear someone massacre a joke? They trip all over the set-up and blow the punch line then wonder why no one’s laughing. That’s America’s news media — except it’s not a joke they massacred, it’s the truth.

While everyone has a story, not every can tell a story — or tell their story. What most of America’s journalists don’t seem to get (it’s not evident in their reporting) is that Trump-Russia IS their story. They’re not just neutral observers in this dumpster fire, they’re both witnesses and active participants. Their very neutrality, in fact, has been turned against America.

Russia is attacking us as we speak. We are living through World War Three — a Cyber War, an Information War, an Intelligence War — no less threatening to our security and future as a bombs n bullets war. Instead of ammo, the Russians fire lies, propaganda & misinformation at us — and they use our own news media to do it. And our news media — unaware to see that THEY are indeed PART of the story — continue to go along with it. They continue to repeat Russia’s misinformation & disinformation.

Lies mingle with Truth to create a new-fangled concoction of half-truths — like a poisonous slurry that’s about to swamp us all.

Good storytelling demands that the storyteller have PERSPECTIVE. To gain perspective, you have to continually add to your story’s foundation. As you learn new info, you make it part of the story. When you learn that Trump lies more than he tells the truth, you make “Trump’s a liar” part of the story. You don’t start every day’s reporting by assuming he’s telling the Truth. That would take the story backwards.

By the same token — when you report breathlessly about all the ways Trump is betraying the country and then turn to the subject of election 2020? Trump doesn’t suddenly STOP being that traitor. He’s the TRAITOR who’s “running for office” again — by using Russia to guarantee his win — just as he did in 2016. Our MSM keeps saying “Russia meddled in 2016” as if “meddled” is some vague abstraction with results no one could possibly identify.

That’s our MSM normalizing what should never be normalized.

When Fusion GPS first got hired by the Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump, they did their “due diligence”. They got ahold of every bit of publicly available material on Trump: video, newspaper stories, magazine articles, radio interviews — everything. What they found there — in publicly available material — so concerned them about Trump’s obvious criminality (at the very least he laundered Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos) that they contracted with former MI6 intel pro Chris Steele whose contacts inside Russia were unequaled.

Fusion saw the story — and incorporated it into their narrative.

Our MSM, on the other hand, keeps (even now when so much of Steele’s raw intel has been proven correct) referring to Steele’s output as “unverified”. That might have been so two years ago. It’s not true today. To say it is to distort the story significantly.

The whole basis for storytelling is “add information”. Learn something new about the story? You add it to the story — and make it part of the storyTELLING.

And yet — on MSNBC & CNN, we still get reporters who refuse to add information to the story — or do so grudgingly then wonder why everyone else always scoops them.

Maybe our reporter class should go back to basics. Learn how to tell a joke. Get good at it THEN return to reporting. Otherwise they’ll continue turning our Democracy into a joke — and ain’t no one gonna laugh at that.