The News Media’s Failure Of Imagination Is Killing Our Democracy

We live in a news world where a big slice of the news audience is better informed about what’s happening than the news people reporting the news. Maybe that’s because, unlike the news media, those of us in the cheap seats — untouched by the whorish need for access — can see all the players for who and what they are rather than what they can do for our careers. You’d think a crisis like this would force every person calling themselves “a journalist” to set aside the old rules of engagement. You’d think a man relentlessly lying to their faces for four plus years would eventually cause some sort of dynamic response. Aside from scratching their heads harder and longer? Most journalists have learned exactly nothing from their experience with Donald Trump.

Eventually, we’ll understand why most of our news media couldn’t aggregate the Donald Trump story which would have had them reporting on Trump as a stone cold criminal even before he was sworn in — just like Fusion GPS sorta kinda did. Fusion, the commercial research/political intelligence firm founded by former Wall Street Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, was hired in 2016 by the publishers of Jeb Bush-backing Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. As Glenn Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 27, 2017, before beginning their formal work, Fusion did its due diligence: they got their hands on every piece of publicly available material they could on Donald Trump. They got and read magazine pieces, newspaper articles, they listened to radio interviews, watched TV shows and movie appearances. They spent a fortune on Amazon, visited actual book stores and even went to the public library to find what they needed. What Fusion found there — in publicly available material that ANY reporter could find (had they the motivation) — convinced them so completely that Donald Trump was a money laundering criminal in league with the Russian mob that they went and hired an English company called Orbis because its owner used to work for the British MI6 and had the best contacts bar none inside Russia.

Fusion demonstrated imagination — and did something about it. So did Christ Steele. When HE looked inside Russia to answer Fusion’s questions, he was deeply troubled by the answers coming back. He was even more troubled when the American government failed to heed his red flag warning that Russian intelligence was coming at us, cyber war style and we were doing nothing to stop them.

Because HE had imagination — and could extrapolate not only what Russia was doing but what our non-response to it was doing consequently — Chris Steele did everything in his power to put his work product (raw intelligence!) into the right American hands that could process it correctly and react accordingly and do it now.

Failure of imagination has haunted the American press especially where the threat of right wing terrorism is concerned. How easily do American journalists prick up their ears every time a Republican shouts “socialism” compared to when a Republican behaves like an authoritarian shit? They’ll jump right into a discussion about single payer universal health care with “But, isn’t that socialism?” but never even think to question Republicans and the legality and morality of their actively engaging in voter suppression. That, too, is failure of imagination.

When our news media failed to remind its news audience every day of the 2020 campaign that, for the first time in American history, a president was running for re-election having been IMPEACHED for CHEATING in the very same election in which he was running, that was a failure of imagination. When they relentlessly wondered aloud why Trump so relentless sucked up to Vlad Putin — their inability to answer their own question was a failure of imagination. That the news media even now can say that what Trump is doing is treasonous — and yet still ask aloud “Will he run again in 2024” is proof that they are utterly incapable of imagining a functional and functioning Department of Justice.

You’d think the possibility of making one’s bones on the greatest story anyone will ever get to cover would inspire more journalists to journalistic greatness. But to see oneself winning a Peabody or a Pulitzer takes incredible imagination (if one really has a shot at one).

No wonder achieving that kind of journalistic greatness can only ever be a dream for them — requiring imagination. Some circles are just plain vicious.

Dear News Media: If You See Trump As A Normal POTUS, He Makes No Sense; If You See Him As A CRIMINAL — Voila! He Makes PERFECT Sense

To this day, our news media — supposedly our MOST informed people — cannot fathom Donald Trump. They still wonder what his “strategy” is, what master plan he’s following, being after all a master negotiator. Why does he only ever appeal to his base, they wonder. Why does he kowtow to Vladimir Putin? Why does he lie so relentlessly? Why won’t he concede? I agree — if viewed through a normal lens (as if Trump was a normal person)? It’s baffling. But, pull another lens out of the kit — the “Trump’s A Criminal” lens — and attach it to the camera. Now what do you see? Suddenly, Donald J, Trump makes complete and total sense, doesn’t he?

Trump kowtows to Putin because Putin owns him. When we have a rejuvenated Department of Justice, expect the counter-intelligence investigations that Rod Rosenstein killed to finally take flight. The reveals will be damning for everyone with an “R” next to their names. The power grab we’re experiencing isn’t a new idea or impulse for the Republicans. It’s their ultimate wet dream though. And, right now, they’re pulling their plonkers so hard their plonkers might come off (just not in the way they want em to).

The constant flow of reveals has gone all in one direction, revealing more details of just how corrupt Trump is. Just how shameless and soulless and fatuous he is, too. Figuring out a guy as blatantly corrupt as Trump is should not be this challenging to America’s news media. Hell, Fusion GPS were so blown away by Trump’s blatant money laundering via his bankrupted Atlantic City casinos that they hired Chris Steele (former head of the MI6’s vaunted Russia Desk) to investigate just how big a criminal Trump was.

If the news media were capable of aggregating all the details they themselves have reported about Trump, they’d be reporting on a criminal finally run to ground — not by law enforcement but by We The People. Alas, instead, to this day the majority of the news media reports on Trump as if he were as innocent of corruption and treason as you or me.

How one frames a story IS the story. If you tell the story of Al Capone as hagiography, he’ll appear as a saint. If you tell the story of Jean Valjean as just a guy who stole bread? You kinda miss his story. If you didn’t see that Donald Trump entered office a criminal, a cheat and a traitor, then whoever you were reporting on, it wasn’t Donald Trump.

If you tell the story of Trump running for re-election without mentioning each and every time that he was the FIRST person EVER to run for re-election having been IMPEACHED for cheating in that very election? You’re not telling the whole story and you’re certainly not reporting Donald Trump accurately.

If you never asked what THIS picture was about — you’ve never reported Donald Trump accurately.

If you see Trump as a traitor, by the way, he makes even MORE sense…

Dear American News Media: Stop Asking The Democrats To Compromise With Republicans; No One Should Compromise With Evil

“Evil” is a loaded word. It’s a little like “Nazi” or comparing people to Hitler. Back when Donald Trump was sworn in — and some of us noticed how evil and Nazi-like Trump was already behaving — “Godwin’s Law” was invoked (Godwin’s Law says that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”) to poo-poo any such comparisons. Donald Trump — per the news media — was just a “different kind of potus”. You know, the kind that doesn’t follow rules. Or the law. Or the Constitution.

Donald Trump is not a “different” kind of president, he’s a criminal. He’s a rapist and a thief and a money launderer and a traitor (not necessarily in that order). That’s all in the public record. It would be how we already think of Trump — except the news media keeps setting side all the details they learn about Trump in order to start each day’s reporting from that “he’s a different kind of potus” perch.

Oy.

If Donald Trump walked into the house of each of those journalists who can’t put the proper names to Trump’s criminal, corrupt, treasonous behavior and deliberately infected them and their whole families, I bet those brave journalists would call out Trump for being not just evil but Evil. I guess once their families are in the game, shit gets too real. But what about other families?

Evil is evil is Evil. Raping women is evil. Donald Trump is a rapist. Money laundering is evil. Trump has laundered copious amounts of Russian mob money. Separating children from their parents and putting them in cages is evil. Trump has done that. Committing treason is evil — as is stealing an election (then trying to steal your re-election) and lying about a pandemic because it hurts your electoral chances.

Mitch McConnell — he’s evil, too. Where to begin?

Mitch’s pandemic relief proposal is designed to be too little to do anyone any good. Remember: it’s Mitch’s game plan to kill off any possibility of “socialized” government. Pandemic relief — to the RW money behind Mitch — is the same as UBI (universal basic income). That’s even worse than socialized medicine to these crony capitalists. As horrified as Mitch is by Nancy Pelosi’s $2.2 billion dollar demand for relief, he was even more horrified by Trump spitting and spewing how he wants to shell out way more (he’s at that desperate “buy all the votes you can!” place).

The point: Mitch isn’t negotiating. His starting point was meant as his end point — and he was reluctant to be that generous. By design, Mitch’s proposal won’t pay anyone nearly enough to stay home and wait out the pandemic (like most other countries have done). Like Trump, he’s happy with everyone rushing into the pandemic’s maw — so long as he gets to stay safely at home.

Quick reminder: In the leadup to election 2016, Mitch refused to let We The People in on the dirty secret that Russia was weighing in to the election, bent on making Trump president. It was Mitch who tossed aside the sanctions against Oleg Deripaska so he could score a $400 million Russian aluminum factory in Kentucky. Deripaska, remember, was sanctioned for his role in subverting the 2016 election.

Mitch McConnell is evil — with a turtle face.

The news media — and a few wavering Democrats — want Nancy Pelosi to compromise with Mitch and the Republicans. They want us to take Mitch’s bullshit proposal seriously. They want us to make a deal with bullshit. With evil bullshit.

While some very desperate people will get relief the desperately need, that very short term fix won’t solve their long term problem. In fact, it will exacerbate their long term problem. Evil will have gained greater leverage.

How might the Jews have compromised with the Holocaust hunting them? How might the Armenians have compromised with the Turks hell bent on slaughtering them? How about the Croats being snipered by the racist Serbs? I could go on.

The people urging compromise with evil have never been subjected to evil. Or, if they have, they’ve sold out as a response — hoping like hell that by selling out, they can avoid the slaughter. Like the Jewish capo’s who worked with the Germans in the Warsaw Ghetto — offering to fill the railroad cars bound for the camps themselves. These Judenrats — Jewish councils — did all of Hitler’s dirtiest work for him — and then got tossed onto the same pile of bodies anyway.

All compromise bought was a little time — at the expense of one’s soul.

That’s a terrible deal.

It’d be like compromising with Donald Trump — and letting him inside your house to harangue you (while infecting you and your entire family).

Only a fool — or, apparently, an American journalist — would do such a thing.

What If We Told Our Story Backwards, Starting With: “Donald Trump Is A Corrupt Traitor”?

If I had a ranch, I’d bet it: we will establish beyond all doubt that Donald Trump did not “win” the 2016 election. It was STOLEN for him in large part by Russia who OWN Trump to the tune of $422 million or so — a loan that’s about to come due. We know Trump owes someone — and whoever it is, it poses an existential threat to our democracy. But, our problem’s bigger than that — bigger than just Trump. We need to know who the whole Republican Party is indebted to. We need to know how they thought they could get away with pulling off a coup d’etat.

That’s where this story will land and IS landing: the Republican Party, recognizing they faced demographic and therefore political extinction, hitched their wagon to Donald Trump despite the fact that (they knew) he was compromised, owned flat out by Russian military intelligence. If we think of what we’re experiencing as a story rather than real life, there’s going to be an ending where questions get answered and most of the loose ends get neatly tied. The villains of the piece will get fingered. Most will get punished as they deserve. A few will seem to get away but a further tidying up as the credits roll will tell us that they, too, came to terrible ends.

On that day — when our story gets fully revealed — our news media will stand astride this monster like THEY brought it down. Don’t be fooled. We The People will have saved ourselves from doom. We’ll have done it despite our news media making it nearly impossible — because they never saw the ending coming.

Even with all we already know about how Russia “influenced” the 2016 — that’s according to the news media’s own reporting — our news media still persists in saying that Donald Trump “won” election. No, those are mutually exclusive propositions. A foreign country can’t legally “influence” ANY American election. The whole idea that Russia “influenced” our election should send shockwaves and flares rumbling and flying in every direction.

There’s a famous and apocryphal story from the 2016 GOP convention. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy walks into a meeting of Republican muckety-mucks and announces “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Kevin was so convinced, he threw in a “Swear to God”. “House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.”

“No leaks,” the Speaker famously replied, “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The correct response should have been “Whaaaaat? Kevin, dude — are you SURE about this?”

“Swear to God,” says Kevin.

“Somebody — quick — get the FBI on the phone,” Paul should have said, “We have a patriotic duty here as citizens and leaders”.

They didn’t.

We know why. Let me repeat that WE KNOW WHY. We KNOW THE ENDING.

Donald Trump and the Republican Party have betrayed America, betrayed We The People and betrayed everything we stand for. They’ve betrayed our future and our children’s future. These are true now — as our news media finally feels secure enough to report them — as when the crimes were being freshly committed. Meaning — the Republicans in that room with Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan were as guilty THEN of committing criminal acts as they will be on the day the news media finally reports the fact.

The only problem — four years have elapsed between the act and the reporting of it as a crime. The fact was reported on in May 2017, nearly a year after it happened. That is, a year after it became a KNOWN fact. It was a FACT long before that. In other words — a crime was being committed long before anyone recognized that fact. It doesn’t change the fact that a crime was being committed. Our lack of knowledge of that crime doesn’t excuse the crime.

Harold Pinter’s play (and then feature film) “Betrayal” literally tells its story backwards — in reverse chronology. It’s about how an affair destroys a relationship. The story begins with the aftermath of the destroyed relationship. We see the wreckage. Then we march backward through time, scene by scene. Whereas normal storytelling relies on adding information learned in the previous scene, in “Betrayal”, we see instead where that information came from. At the end, we see the moment when the affair began — the spark that preceded the affair — and how that spark smoldered then suddenly ignited a blaze that burned through everything.

What if we told the Donald Trump Destroyed America story that same way? What if our news media began with all the facts laid out neatly then deconstructed the story, scene-by-scene, detail-by-detail back to the very moment (or moments) where this crisis really began. For one thing, we’d get to see the story in context — in its proper context. We’d understand from that context that Donald Trump is not (and never was, as the news media kept reporting) a “different kind of POTUS”. In fact, he’s always been a criminal, guilty of laundering Russian mob money in exchange for solvency.

He’s also guilty of tax fraud and election fraud and treason.

We don’t have our ending yet. It’s our saving grace. It’s still to be written. But our ending will include all those facts because they ARE facts. Donald Trump and, now, the entire Republican Party are guilty of treason. The sooner our news media starts reporting these facts AS FACTS — as established parts of the narrative — the sooner we’ll stop this charade of an election. The sooner we’ll start solving our problem instead of exacerbating it.

Failure Of Imagination Is A Very Real Thing; We Should Know — It’s KILLING Us

Some of us saw Donald Trump coming. Some of us didn’t. Those who did see it didn’t perform magic. We used our imaginations. We asked ourselves “Hey, what if Donald Trump actually became president — what (do I imagine) would actually happen?”

What we imagined was massive corruption — the merging of Trump’s business with our politics — with our government. That is exactly what happened. We imagined (because we were already mindful of Trump’s bizarre relationship with Russia) Trump betraying us more and more as Vladimir Putin gained more and more access to our Holiest of Holies — our secrets. We didn’t realize that a few other countries (Saudi Arabia especially) also had their hooks in Donald.

We imagined Trump’s corruption destroying the Republican Party — literally driving it into extinction. What happened is far worse. Turned out the GOP was already deeply corrupted by Russia who’d been gaming them for eons through lap dogs like Dana Rohrbacher.

Our news media have been particularly lacking in imagination. They can’t seem to get their Normalcy Bias Blinders off. Though “Mexicans are rapists” should have been the end of Trump’s campaign, our news media let it pass. “Pussy grabbing” had reared its head. Our news media let that pass too. There were “her emails” to worry about.

When those of us on the loony left first shouted “Russia!”, we were told how crazy we were. How “conspiracy theory” we were being regardless of our receipts. That’s the most frustrating thing. The Loony Left brings receipts. We don’t, as a rule, talk out our asses. We let facts, data, reality do the talking instead.

Remember back — before the Democrats re-took the House — when the Republicans ran everything and they were determined to undermine the integrity of the Steele Dossier at all costs? The Senate Judiciary Committee called Glenn Simpson before them in August 2017. Simpson, a former (respected) Wall Street Journal reporter co-founded a company called Fusion GPS. They did research on people. Oppo research. In 2016 Fusion got hired by the pro-Jeb Bush Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Donald J Trump.

Simpson testified that before they began their work, they did their “due diligence” — they got their hands on every single thing they could that had in any way been written about, said about or reported about concerning Donald Trump. They listened to Howard Stern episodes. They went to used book stores. They searched Amazon. They even went to the library. In short, they got their hands on just about everything that had ever been written, said or even thought about regarding Donald John Trump.

What Fusion found — in publicly available material (that is, material every last one of us can get access to and read if we’d only just put ourselves out a little) convinced them that Donald Trump had used his failed Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian Mob Money. That’s why Fusion sought out and then hired Christopher Steele. The former MI6 intelligence officer had run MI6’s Russia desk. It was understood that Steele’s contacts inside Russia were unmatched.

Want to know anything about Russia? Ask Chris Steele to run it down. That’s what Fusion and Glenn Simpson did. To not see Chris Steele in that simple context is to fail in imagination. To see him as nefarious in any way is to fail in imagination. Rather, it’s to have all the wrong kinds of imagination.

Problem solving demands imagination. It will take a staggering amount of imagination to get us out of what the coronavirus has done.

Ironically, it wasn’t “failure of imagination” on Donald Trump’s part that got us into this hyper-mess. It was greed. And treason. And culpability. Trump can’t ever stop being president. The moment he does — and he knows this — he stops being a potus protected from prosecution by the bizarre interpretation of a bizarre DoJ rule originally aimed at stopping Spiro Agnew from pardoning Richard Nixon and becomes “Joe Indictable Citizen”.

Hell — according to the SDNY, Trump’s already “Unindicted Individual #1”. He stops being POTUS? He’s now INDICTED individual #1.

I’m old enough to remember when using the word “treason” in any way to describe Trump or anyone in his White House was like calling them Nazis. Remember when THAT was poo-poo’d? Now we simply ASSUME that they’re all Nazis.

You can’t solve a problem without first admitting you have a problem. It takes no imagination to say “I’m not an alcoholic!” and lots to say “You know, if I think about it, I might have a problem.” It doesn’t mean you have a problem — but until you’re willing to entertain the idea, you can’t do anything about it.

Getting to the other side of the coronavirus will demand a shitload of imagination. Same thing — whole mountain ranges of outside-the-box-thinking will be vital to “fixing” what Donald Trump & his Republican co-conspirators have done to our democratic systems. When people violate the Rule Of Law to win an election, it means — according to the Rule Of Law — they didn’t win. Nothing they took as the “spoils” of victory was actually theirs — including money, legislation & especially judges.

You cannot legitimately nominate judges (to the SCOTUS say) if you do not have the authority to do so. You may think you have the authority. You may pretend you have it. But that authority is vested in We The People. We “give” that authority just like we give the authority to spend our tax dollars. Just as we “giveth”, we can “taketh”.

It was a failure of imagination that kept slavery alive in our Constitution. It’s been an on-going failure of imagination that has kept Donald Trump in power.

Donald Trump’s failure of imagination (he has none of course) to see what a pandemic could do to his political fortunes is now killing thousands of Americans every day.

That’s not hyperbole.

Donald J Trump Is EXACTLY What We Mean By “The Banality Of Evil”

††When we call someone “evil”, we usually imagine Bond Villains, the Manson Family, Nazis. The man who sold Fred Trump rubbers.

And while what Donald Trump is doing to this country every day absolutely rises to the level of Uber Villain, Donald Trump himself… how to put this… he simply isn’t all that “Uber”. Never mind being “Uber”, Trump can’t even swing being mediocre”. He’s too flat-out incompetent to even be a sub-par Bond Villain. He’s a Schmofeld instead of Blofeld, utterly incapable of running anything bigger than a Mom N Pop Money Laundering Shoppe.

There are evil people on the planet. Vladimir Putin is one of them. Bashir al Assad is another. Kim Jong-Un. Donald Trump however is a pretender to True Evil. Even amongst the truly evil, Trump’s just a piker.

The truth is even Hitler had to overcome his own core mediocrity to become “HITLER”. Wasn’t much of a soldier, not much of a painter. He thought highly of himself as a writer but without all those brown-shirted thugs standing behind him, Hitler doesn’t rise to power. Hitler came from a place of pure banality to become one of the most evil people in the history of people.

Donald Trump has a lot of the same qualities — except he’s not nearly the writer Hitler was. Trump’s never written a word in his life.