Everyone Has A “Point Of View”; That Doesn’t Mean They Have A “Point”

One of the worst aspects of “both sides do it” brand journalism is that it gives credence to bullshit. BSDI says that it’s not for a journalist to judge whether or not someone is lying to them — that lie is just the liar’s point of view. They, the journalist, are obligated (they say) to present that point of view without editorializing. But, that assumes the point of view has legitimacy beyond just one person’s way of seeing things. A car thief — sitting in your car, outside your house, honking the horn because he wants you to see what he’s done — has a thief’s point of view. The thief’s victim — you — also have a point of view.

The cops show up just in time. They catch the car thief inside the stolen object, steering wheel literally in hand.

You tell your story — your side. The cops look to the thief — who they saw stealing your car. What “side” does the thief have in this story? That you gave him your car and instantly forgot?

“Nuh-unh,” you say to the cops when they shoot you a look. Back to the thief. Unless he has a long, sad tale of why he’s a thief, he better keep his mouth shut. He doesn’t have a “side” here — meaning, no point justifying what he did exists. He has no point and never did; there is no justifiable explanation for why he stole your car.

Neither “I felt like it” nor “I dunno why” are acceptable or justifiable. A bully may not be able to articulate what compels him to bully but there’s something compelling him. Regardless, his emotional emptiness does not justify his actions. He may think he has a “side” equal to his victim’s, but he doesn’t. What “side” did Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?

What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party — and clearly is going to be? What “side” could current GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for NOT reporting their suspicions (stated out loud a month before the Republicans nominated Trump as their POTUS) that “Putin pays Rohrbacher and Trump”?

What “side” could anyone have for insisting upon The Big Lie?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What “side” did Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What “side” did any Republican have for backing the January 6 insurrection?

What “side” did any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?

What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.

“Both Sides Do It” Is Racist Claptrap, Not Journalism

Both sides “doing it”…

There are two sides to every political situation: power and resistance. One either HAS the power or one is resisting the guy who does. By definition, by purpose, both sides are not doing “it”. They’re not doing the same thing. They’re doing the opposite for very specific purposes. “Ah, yes!” says the “Both Sides Do It” practitioner, “But if the resistance were to GET power, THEN they’d ‘do the same thing’!” Which means… exercise power? Abuse power? Is that the accusation? WHEN both sides get power they DO the exact same thing? Sorry, American Journalism, but you’re going to have to back that up with receipts — which you absolutely do not have. In America, Black people have NEVER had power. They’ve ALWAYS been the resistance. We don’t know how they’d behave if or when they ever became “THE” power because it’s never happened before. There’s not precedent to use as a basis for “both sides do it”.

To say Republicans and Democrats behave the same is cynicism on steroids. It’s not intellectually lazy, it’s intellectually inert. It ascribes motives to human behaviors that don’t add up, that don’t describe reality. Republicans are far better at marching in lock step than Democrats. The press is always jumping on how “divided the Democrats are” as if that’s never been the case before. No, that’s how Democrats are (that’s modern Democrats, not the Democrats of the 1800’s which became the Dixiecrats which became the modern Republican Party – per Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party“). Modern Democrats began in the 1920’s. Will Rogers nailed our spirit: “I’m not the member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat”. That spirit endures. It’s kinda what happens when your tent really is open to anyone and everyone. Diversity is messy. It demands constant compromise as the group accommodates new immigrants. But the deal is, new immigrants into our system rejuvenates it with new energy, new aspirations and new ideas. It always, always, ALWAYS pays for itself.

Both sides do not use voter suppression of the other side’s voters as a campaign tactic. Democrats aren’t afraid of the marketplace of ideas because they have new ideas to solve old problems that the old ideas didn’t. A lot of those old problems were CAUSED by those old ideas. Both sides, for instance, do not and did not approve of slavery. Slavery isn’t a dead issue here in America. It’s still painfully alive. There are two parts to this monster. We see the racist part — of course we do! But there’s an economic part to the monster. It’s the economic part that birthed the monster in the first place — stolen labor. Slaves work for free.

Colonial America relied heavily on cotton, sugar cane and rice to cash flow its economy. All three crops are labor intensive. If one had to pay all the labor required a fair wage, one might not make any money growing and selling those crops. Or one might not make enough (whatever that is). But, if one could get all the labor required for free? Suddenly slavery’s on the table. The expenses of housing, clothing and feeding the slaves needs to be figured into the accounting, but you have to figure it penciled out positively for slavery. The free labor made all the expenses of slavery worthwhile.

Now, ask yourself — how do we feel about people who work for free? Who have no choice in the matter? If we’re the power, we like them. We’d like more of them. If we’re the resistance…

Though we made literal slavery illegal, we’ve done nothing to make theoretical slavery a part of our architecture. Even when Black people have been paid for their work — and allowed to accumulate earned wealth — white people found ways to take it from them. Jim Crow laws, for instance. Poll taxes that made voting extremely difficult. Sometimes, as with Black Wall Street, the Black section of Tulsa, teeming with luxury shops, restaurants, movie theaters, a library, pool halls and nightclubs that a white mob burned to the ground in a race riot that started on May 31, 1921, the “taking” was as literal as literal can be.

Both sides do not do that. Both sides don’t even think that way. Only one side does — and they’ve left behind copious receipts that any journalist can eyeball.

Of course, the trick is, you have to WANT to eyeball those racist receipts. You have to WANT to find them if they’re there. But, first, you have acknowledge that they could be there! And once you open your mind to that fact? Suddenly, that racism appears everywhere. It’s not the racism that suddenly appeared, it’s your capacity to SEE the racism — that it indeed IS there. And once your mind opens to that fact, you can’t help asking “how’d it get there?” And the answer to that is — it didn’t have to “get there” because it always WAS THERE.

“Both sides do it” is the grossest kind of generalization. It assumes that the slave and the slave master are equally culpable for the slave’s situation. It asserts that because the slave master HAS a point of view that therefore that point of view (just because it exists) must be valid — equally valid, in fact, to the slave’s point of view. Ummmmmmm, no. The slave master may have a point of view but they most definitely do not have a “point” — justification for their vile point of view.

Oh, right — I forgot — they have “economics” to back them up. If they don’t pay their labor nothing (or a ludicrous “minimum wage”), they won’t make enough money for their stockholders. And if the stockholders don’t get the return on their investment they want, they’ll take their investment dollars elsewhere — so, whatever we do, let’s not raise the minimum wage! No one can live on the current federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour!) and no one will be able to live on the $12 an hour Republicans and dishonest Democrats like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin insist is “all we can afford”. Horse shit. We can’t afford NOT to pay people a fair, sustainable wage.

One side in this debate wants as many Americans as possible to have the best lives they possibly can, to be as healthy as they can be, to educate their children without bankrupting their futures, to have every opportunity every other American has, to vote because it’s their right. The other side — plenty of receipts to pick through — DOES NOT!

Can We Please, PLEASE Agree: “Cheating To Win” Does NOT Equal “Winning”

This shouldn’t need to be stated: Cheating to win is NOT “winning”. It’s “CHEATING”. The moment we make cheating one “way” to win, we’ve made cheating the ONLY way to win because only an idiot would play by rules while his opponent laughs at the rules — and wins every election. It’d be like playing Monopoly by the rules while the other guy starts the game with all the bank’s money and all the good properties already “hoteled up”. Free and fair elections demand genuinely level playing fields. If the playing field isn’t level because someone is cheating, we need to stop the game right there and at the very least call a red card foul.

For the record (or the scoresheet to beat the analogy to death), we’re not talking about the offenses to our sensibilities. Trump’s presidential bid should have ended at “Mexicans are rapists”. It should NEVER have made it as far as “pussy grabbing”. The onus is on us — on our news media since they’re the ones with the megaphone — for letting Trump get away with such egregiously unacceptable behavior from ANYONE in public life never mind a presidential candidate. All terrible, terrible behavior, but none of it criminal.

No, I’m talking about actual Class A Felonies. Geez, you’d think a few of the lawyers-turned-journalists would glom onto that and refuse to let go, visions of Pulitzers in their heads. I’ll reference here for what might have happened had our news media done the same due diligence on Donald Trump that Fusion GPS (founded by former Wall Street Journal reporters) did when they first got hired by the Republican-owned, Jeb-Bush-backing Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research. Fusion found so much evidence of Trump laundering money through his bankrupt Atlantic City casinos IN PUBLICLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL that they hired Chris Steele (former head of MI6’s vaunted Russia Desk) to check it all out.

As I’ve also screamed and shouted here, alas — if the American news media could aggregate the Donald Trump story, it would have ended eons ago. The starting point for their daily reporting would be (worst case scenario): “Hey, news audience, guess what the corrupt-to-his-gills traitor and his corrupt-to-its-gills political party did and said today”. We’d have busted a cap in “both sides do it” journalism and stopped equating bullshit with truth.

Let’s go back to the sports analogy. Let’s stop equating scoring a legitimate goal with literally — with your hands — throwing the ball into the net and calling it a goal (a game-winning goal no less!) It’s not. It never was.

Offside is offside (we even have the VAR now to nail it by a shoelace). A hand ball is a hand ball (that bloody VAR again!) It’s all painful when it goes against you but it’s proof that the rule was violated. Putting emotions aside, we follow the rule. In the end, it will serve everyone better that way. If we want to adjust the rule, fine tune it and its application — that’s always open to us. But, if we had been following the rules — the ones that dictate how we play and don’t play this “game” — how this game played out would have been different.

Donald Trump buying Stormy Daniels’ silence, for instance. That, right there, was a red card foul that should have been whistled. Michael Cohen went to prison for his role in that bit of blatant criminality. Donald Trump inviting Russia’s assistance — OPENLY — was a red card foul that should have been whistled. “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…” was an act of open TREASON. Especially when you consider what Russia literally did next: they DID SOMETHING. Russia ACTED ON Trump’s invitation — and Trump, rather than being appalled by Russia’s reaction, USED IT as part of his campaign.

Russia, mind you, was actively engaged in a CYBER WAR against us. Cyber. War.

Treason is treason is treason.

Cheating that’s also treasonous? We’d be insane to accept that in place of the results we actually voted for. I, for one, do not accept it. But then, I don’t accept cheating to win as winning — and neither should any other American.

Cheating to win is un-American. It’s immoral. It’s not winning.

The moment We The People make THAT our reaction to Trump’s cheating — to the entire Republican Party’s blatant abuse of the rules and the law — that anything accomplished via provable cheating will not stand — we will END the Republican Party’s reliance on cheating to win as their only means to win. Either they’ll adapt — and try selling their ideas instead — or they’ll die. Actually, if they adapt and try selling their ideas, they’ll die anyway — which they know — which is WHY they cheat.

Let’s stop indulging them. Let’s stop allowing their fatal flaw to be OUR fatal flaw. When they claim “We won!” the correct answer isn’t “Oh well, I guess they ‘won’ since they say they did”, it’s “NO, you didn’t”. And that’s it. The rules are quite clear. No, they did not win.

In our system of government, the authority to govern flows from US, We The People. If We The People know for a fact that our authority — it’s baked into our vote — has been not only questioned but attacked — then We The People have every right to respond accordingly (though within the law of course). Good thing the rule of law backs us here: demonstrable cheating to win is not winning.

All we have to do therefore is FOLLOW the rule of law and ENFORCE IT EQUALLY like we’re supposed to.

For starters, we’ll automatically be far healthier as a society because we’ll actually be living up to our ideals (or trying to a lot harder to anyway). Restoring justice to its rightful place — that will help a lot, too. But then the rule of law will demand that we deal with the criminality that drove us to the brink of authoritarianism — against the majority’s will. The rule of law will demand that we address every last nuance of criminality — and every last criminal. Got the stank on ya, Republicans? There’ll be no getting it off.

Gonna be a lot of old, rich, Christian white guys shouting “Out, out, damned spot!”

Maybe it’s time for a new “Scarlet Letter”. Let’s put aside the “A” for Adultery that Hester Prynne was forced to wear and, instead, repurpose those stupid red hats Trump’s sold all his dumber-than-a-rube-on-angel-dust followers by sticking a giant Gold “C” on them. That’s “C” for Cheater. By then, it should be understood that the “C” is interchangeable with a “T” — for “Trump”.

And for “Treason”.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the word “CHEAT” begins with a “C” for cheating — but ends in a “T” for “TRUMP”.

Indeed — let’s make it “end” in a “T” for Trump. Better still, let’s make it all end in a sentence.

Perspective For Dummies (News Media Edition)

Imagine living inside a bubble and thinking that was all there was — while everything else there was existed outside your damned bubble. Most of America’s news media continue to stumble and bumble their inept way through the greatest news story most of them still don’t see. Apparently Donald Trump’s criminal behavior is too, too out in the open for them. His treason is too plainly stated — as treason — for them to accept. His corruption is too de rigeur and anyway, “both sides do it”.

That’s the nature of the bubble, you see. Both sides do it. Right there, by starting from that assumption, every acolyte of both sides do it journalism begins their reporting from a false narrative that originates entirely from inside their bubble. When a Republican actively suppresses Democratic voters — and, for the record, the reverse NEVER HAPPENS — they’re acting politically. They’re preventing Democratic voters from voting because they fear the political outcome. See? Pure politics.

But, when the suppressed voter raises their hand to complain that their right to vote has been suppressed? They are NOT acting politically, THEY are reporting a crime: their rights as a citizen are being violated.

Our news media however, sees BOTH as “political”. Right off the bat, all perspective is skewed which means there is no perspective.

Gaining and maintaining perspective is hard. For starters, you have to understand people. You have to appreciate what makes them tick — and that something does make them tick; no one ever does anything for no reason or “just because”. They may not be able to articulate what motivates them — even if it’s boredom — but something is motivating them to act. That core why explains them and if you haven’t got to the core why, you haven’t explained them.

If you haven’t even bothered to mine that core “why”, you have no perspective whatsoever and never were going to have any. Why are you in journalism?

Assuming you have a functional, working knowledge of human psycho-pathology, you have to dig deeply — ignoring all evasions, dodges and “hummina-hummina-please-don’t-ask-me-that’s”. You have to begin constructing the context in which every human lives — so you can appreciate that their perspective is not your perspective. For instance — a Donald Trump does not think the way, say, a Kelly O’Donnell thinks. When NBC News’ well meaning but truly awful O’Donnell characterizes Trump’s actions, she sees them the way SHE would see them not the way Trump clearly sees them. She doesn’t ask why Trump seems to behave in a criminal manner, she assumes that since SHE wouldn’t do things for criminal reasons, neither would Trump — so, therefore, whatever he did has a perfectly valid reason — she just doesn’t know what it is.

That, right there, is how abnormal behavior gets normalized. It’s how perspective gets sacrificed live on TV. Rather than seeing all the dots, Kelly O limits the dots she can see. Only normal dots can penetrate her bubble — and that’s how she reports Trump: as if he was “normal”.

The other thing our news media seems incapable of doing is aggregating the Donald Trump story. I know. It’s really complicated. There are a kajillion moving parts — and they can be very hard to keep track of. Welcome to Perspective.

You have to not only be aware of as much of the story as possible, you have to REMEMBER it. Maybe if you wrote it down…

That’s the most frustrating part of watching our news media fumble this story. All they had to do was keep track of their own reporting. It’s like how all those journalists still — to this day — say the Mueller Report cleared Donald Trump. Well, it does, maybe IF YOU DON’T READ IT. But, turns out? If you crack a copy? IT SAYS THE OPPOSITE.

We now know that Team Mueller was working under tight constraints impressed upon them by the duplicitous, treasonous Rod Rosenstein. Even so, the Mueller Report describes significant criminal behavior — and, it says, it would have described more had the criminals not been working so hard to OBSTRUCT JUSTICE.

Here’s the bottom line: not a single American journalist should have a doubt that Donald Trump likely walked in the door to American politics a criminal. Not a hyperbolic criminal, A CRIMINAL. Back before the 2018 election, when the Republicans still owned everything (including the House of Representatives) — and the investigations into Trump had only just become public knowledge — Republicans wanted to quash the Steele Dossier or paint it more dubiously. On August 22, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Glenn Simpson whose research company — Fusion GPS — had been hired to do oppo research on Trump and who’d subcontracted part of that work out to Christopher Steele.

Now — for perspective’s sake — remember: Simpson is a former Wall Street Journal reporter. Initially, Fusion was hired by the conservative Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. They backed Jeb Bush and wanted all the dirt they could find on Trump. Simpson testified that, being good journalists, a big part of what they considered their due diligence was to get their hands on every single piece of publicly available material on Trump FIRST. What could ANYBODY know about Donald Trump if they just “asked“?

As Simpson testified, Fusion combed bricks-n-mortar book stores and searched Amazon. They sought out every magazine article they could find. They listened to audio tapes, watched hours of video. Without actually investigating (yet), Simpson testified, Fusion GPS stumbled upon ample (publicly available) evidence that Trump had, at the very least, laundered considerable sums of money through his Atlantic City casinos; their bankruptcies were not a bug of Trump’s ownership, the bankruptcies were the point — the better to launder gobs of Russian mob money. To get at the details, in June 2016, Fusion reached out to Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intel firm run by Christopher Steele (who ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009).

By April 2016, the Washington Free Beacon had stepped back — Jeb Bush was out of the race — and an attorney for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC separately hired Fusion to investigate Trump in April 2016.

The overwhelming majority of Steele’s work product (raw intel which requires a whole lot of perspective all by itself to appreciate properly) has proven true. It’s not hard to do that leg work either — to read what Steele wrote and then to find reporting that supports it. It’s called journalism. It works the other way too — if one wanted to disprove the report, one could read it then find evidence to support that conclusion.

But, if you assume that everyone’s always guilty of the worst possible behavior, you’ll cut the corner — because why bother looking up what you already “know”? You’ll reach your conclusion because, really, it’s where you started. The problem is: your conclusion is bullshit.

Bullshit and perspective cannot co-exist. In fact, perspective is bullshit’s kryptonite. The moment anyone — especially the news media — begins consuming bullshit (especially its own “both sides do it” brand of bullshit) all perspective vanishes. It’s like you suddenly live in a bubble. The only dots you can connect are the ones immediately in front of you while all the others? You can’t even see them.

On the bright side? Christmas is coming! Books are always great gifts. If you know a journalist — consider gifting them with a copy. Even if you just watch a journalist who needs perspective, consider sending a copy as a loyal fan. They might turn up their noses — at first.

But if they’re courageous enough to start reading?

They’ll thank you when they accept their Pulitzer.

Of Rabbit Holes And Rubbish

American news media (with its failed imagination and maniacal insistence that “both sides do it”) continues to play the part of Donald Trump’s BFF and his co-dependent bitch — even as he abuses the hell out of them. Again. When he says jump — they’re already doubling the height so they can impress him. When he barks at them to “roll over” — they’re already halfway through their roll.

Look, we all get how challenging it is to try and pin down a man with the moral consistency of warm jello. He filibusters every conversation. But, here’s where the collective group needs to put its collective head together and approach every news conference not as competitors but as American citizens charged with being the final check on governmental power.

They need to put aside the ludicrous notion that journalism can’t take sides. Political sides, no — they shouldn’t take them. But, if they’d stop drinking the “everyone’s acting politically” kool-aid, they might grasp that when Republicans suppress Democratic voters, the Republicans ARE acting politically while the suppressed Democratic voter is NOT. They’re just standing up for their rights — because a criminal act has deprived them of said rights. Both sides absolutely do not suppress the other sides voters. Only one side does that. For a reason.

Each time Donald Trump throws a blatant lie down on the table, our news media feels compelled to pick it up, smell it, taste it, listen to it — as if it “could” be true and therefore deserves their scrutiny. Instead of denying Trumpian bullshit the air it craves, our news media asks “But, what if bullshit ‘could be’ true?” Problem is, bullshit is never true. That’s why it’s bullshit.

The moment you give credence to bullshit, you make reporting the truth harder. Because bullshit “might could” be true.

Donald Trump doesn’t have a “strategy” (that’s another example of America’s news media giving Trump credence he does not deserve). He fully expects to bully his way through again. He expects all the corrupt markers he’s laid down to stand up for him. His whole approach to the SCOTUS (slightly different from Mitch’s) is to stay out of jail. Mitch’s approach centers on satisfying his RW Money overlords (the Koch organization, the Mercers). They need to put any possibility of a “socialized” America as far out of reach as possible (if they can’t destroy it outright).

Prior to the GOP’s power grab, a more socialized America was less a certainty than now. The words “socialist” and “socialism” don’t have nearly the traction that “authoritarian” and “fascist” do. The fact is, most Americans want socialist policies if you ask them about specifics. They want health CARE for themselves and their families. They want to know their children are covered. They want their children to stop entering the work force already overwhelmed by debt. They want the pandemic dealt with correctly instead of politically. They want institutional racism to stop. They want UBI to help them through troubled economic times. They want Russia out of our electoral system. They want corruption to stop. They want America to act responsibly and like a leader on climate change.

The irony is, the GOP’s soft coup d’etat power grab will get them the exact opposite of what they want. They will have exponentially sped up the process of America “socializing” via their blatant corruption. I’m not sure America will become a socialized wonderland filled with golden opportunity for all, but socialized medicine, a free (high quality) college education or technical training for all Americans and a woman’s permanent right to choose will all become realities far sooner than they might have — all thanks to the most sanctimonious and hypocritical bunch of pirates ever to stalk the planet: the Republican party.

This morning, Team Biden demonstrated the perfect way to deal with Trumpian rabbit holes. When Jake Tapper asked Joe Biden’s Wife Jill about Biden’s tendency to commit vocal gaffs, Jill Biden shut down the question: in the age of Trump — where his gaffes get virtually zero scrutiny from that same press — she refused to “go there”. Why would the press be worried about Joe Biden making vocal gaffes when the guy he’ll be debating regularly says things that would any other POTUS sacked on the spot.

What did Jill Biden say that so quickly shut down all this intense politicking? She said “NO”. No, I’m not going to answer if I think bullshit “could be” true because bullshit is never true. There’s no “But, what if…?”

If Trump has a “strategy”, it’s to get silly journalists to chase him down as many rabbit holes as possible on the way to creating as much chaos as possible. But the bulk of that chaos is nothing more than Trumpian voices deliberately creating chaos. If the news media stopped repeating that chaos — the whole point of bullshit is to get someone to spread it — then the chaos would remain isolated in the minds of Trumpanistas — where it already resides, having always resided there.

Who cares about them — we certainly shouldn’t. And, sorry Bob Woodward, we need to stop chasing them to see why they, racist-as-racist-can-be, are so angry. Eff em — and their anger. Their anger is just another rabbit hole — except this one’s festooned with swastikas.