The More Perspective One Has, The More Criminal Trump & The GOP Look

Would you buy a used “anything” from these pirates — least of all a government? We’re going to have to have OUR government fumigated after these bastards…

I suppose if you suddenly sprang into being right next to Donald Trump — so his essence, his aura, his version of the world was all that you knew — HIS version of the world might seem possible. But step outside the treasonous bubble of Trumpism — and a 2 X 4 of realism goes upside your head. The man’s lying even when he mutters “Hello”.

No one who isn’t already corrupted by Donald Trump thinks Trump’s view of the world, of events — of his own horrible family — reflects reality. Look at the “defense” the GOP’s “brain trust” banged together for the first day of formal, public impeachment hearings. There was no attempt whatsoever to argue the merits. There was no attempt to say “No, he didn’t do that” because everything’s been admitted to already.

If we approach the GOP’s behavior yesterday with a close up lens — as our Main Stream News Media likes to do — you get Trump’s defenders strategizing how to defend the indefensible. If you step back a few paces — using a slightly wider lens — you get get… well — if you COULD step back a few paces, you’d have done that a long, long time ago.

And if you had stepped back a few paces long before yesterday — if you had as much perspective as possible, say — you wouldn’t still be scratching your head wondering why Trump defends Putin the way he does and why the Republicans continue to defend Trump the way they do. Our MSM is YET to due their due diligence on Trump. They’ve never, most of them, done a top-to-bottom study of who Trump REALLY is so that when they report on him, they’re reporting on HIM and not some bullshit version of him. They’re not the same thing.

Back when the Republicans were doing everything they could to undermine the “integrity” of the Steele Dossier, they hauled Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Fusion, Simpson testified, had first been hired by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website to do oppo research against Trump. Being pros, before they got going on the real assignment, they did their due diligence. They got their hands on piece of publicly available material on Donald Trump in existence. They combed Amazon and actual book stores. They got magazines and newspaper articles. They got tapes of radio shows and TV shows. They even went to the public library to find stuff.

What Fusion found while doing their due diligence — the scuttwork FFS — convinced them that Trump had been deeply involved with Russian mobsters for years. They saw clear indications that Trump had laundered untold millions of dollars of Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos (which kind of explained how/why they failed — and how/why that was the point). Simpson explained that, suspecting what these professional journalists now suspected, Fusion contacted Chris Steele, former head of MI6’s Russia desk, the Westerner with the best contacts inside Russia bar none.

Chris Steele then produced his “dossier” — the raw intelligence that he’d gathered.

Instead of telling any of THAT story, pretty much all of our MSM — not doing a lick of due diligence — slapped the word “unverified” on Steele’s work (losing all sight of WHY he was doing that work, answering WHAT question asked by WHOM). Imagine how much quicker we’d be to telling and understanding this story if all the “publicly available” perspective had been applied to the story from the beginning — the way Fusion GPS did…

Our media blocks itself from bringing perspective to any story because they start from the premise that “Both Sides Do It”. Regardless of what it is, bad or good, I suppose, “both sides do it”. Neither side has any particular reason — other than their tribal impulse toward one extreme or its diametric opposite. People do things “just because”. All information weighs exactly the same — because (in American journalistic parlance) “who’s to judge?” That’s why lies and empirical truth weigh the same in so much reporting. Too many American journalists think they’d be editorializing to assume the information they’re reporting is actually true.

If you report that Donald Trump is DEMONSTRABLY a racist one moment, he doesn’t stop being a racist the next when he claims NOT to be a racist.

Similarly, when Trump behaves like a traitor — when he does openly treasonous things (like betraying the Kurds where the Press could enumerate every single way Trump’s action served only one person: Putin) — he doesn’t stop being a traitor just because it’s time to report on election 2020. That’s why we’re now telling the Ukraine story, get it?

Trump thinks he’s gotten away with stealing election 2016 so why not finish gutting American Democracy by stealing election 2020 — and using IT to UNBLAME RUSSIA for stealing election 2016? If the American MSM had done its due diligence… ya see where I’m going?

Then — bad to worse — the MSM scratches its head wondering why the Republicans (in the face of so much horrible truth) continue to defend Trump when (look at yesterday) there’s literally NO DEFENSE — for actions that scream from the rooftops “WE’RE CRIMINAL!” Because they live in a “Both Sides Do It” universe where lies and truth weigh exactly the same, this clear evidence of obstruction of justice (rather than seeking justice — it’s not seeking Justice when, like Lindsey Graham, you refuse to look at evidence cos it’s all a “hoax”) gets reported like… like it’s NOT an actual criminal behavior.

Boom — just like that, a CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR gets normalized. Legitimized.

When you have no perspective and you allow yourself to “see the world” through the criminal’s eyes as if the criminal wasn’t a criminal, you get corrupted yourself. If you had an ounce of perspective, of course, you wouldn’t have gone there to begin with. You’d have known that criminals were trying to bamboozle you.

We are zooming toward a bunch of big, big reveals. When this goes to the Senate — whenever that happens — and the Senate refuses to convict on charges so simple and so clear, we will arrive at the place this battle needs to arrive at. Who are we as a country?

Are we the lawless, authoritarian 1850 hellhole of ignorance, racism & old tyme religion the Republicans want us to be? Or are we America?

I guess it depends on where you’re standing.

Here’s What Happens When We “Pull Back The Lens” — And We NEED To Pull It Back NOW…

Lack of perspective kills.  A swimmer who sees only the immediate water around them – lovely and turquoise – but not the school of hungry sharks circling that lovely bit of turquoise?  That swimmer is chum. 

Religionistas will insist that their deity wants them to live according to the rules set down by ignorant (by our standards) iron age desert dwellers because everything anyone needed to know was “known” and set down in the texts those iron age desert dwellers produced.  But, what if those iron age desert dwellers, before they sat down to write, had had access to all the information we take for granted today? 

What if those scribes had known that microbes and pathogens cause most human diseases?  What if they knew what RNA and DNA are? What if they had a Hubble Space Telescope and every bit of its remarkable data flow to chew on?  Would they have written texts that killed people with magical plagues or put the earth at the center of everything?

If the men who wrote the OT had read Darwin or Stephen Hawking, if they had taken in a geology text book or a scientific paper on genetics, if they had ever gotten a chance to use the internet – would they have sat down and written the texts they wrote the exact same way?

Doubtful.

The people who wrote, edited and put together the canonical New Testament used significant portions of the old texts as the basis for their new texts.  The mythology Paul created leaned heavily on the Pentateuch.  The whole basis for original sin is Eve and the Garden of Eden.  If the men who wrote the originals never wrote those originals – because they were better informed about how the world really worked – the course of human history would have been radically different.

We may not have been any less self-destructive (homo sapiens are still homo sapiens) but at least we would have been denied that particular flavor of bullshit to use as an excuse. 

So – if the people who wrote the religious texts so many Americans say they rely on as the basis for their lives had been just a teensy bit more educated via access to modern technologies – had they been able to “pull the lens back” even a little — human history would have been spared the chaotic, illogical darkness that certain religions have repeatedly inflicted upon humanity.

By the same token — if our Main Stream News Media were able to find the widest possible lens they can find, they might finally be able to tell the story we’re all living through.  Nearly three years in to this nonsense, there are STILL reporters (like NBC News’ well-meaning but hopelessly feckless Kelly O’Donnell) who repeat back Donald Trump’s words as if he spoke gospel truth.  It never occurs to them to contextualize Trump by saying – before repeating his words – that nothing he says is reliable. 

They don’t.  They position their reporting lens inside Trump’s bubble – where bullshit is true just because Trump says so.  They report from inside the lie with the lie as their only apparent frame of reference.  Either they genuinely believe the lie is true or they lack the perspective to see and report the relationship between lie and truth.  Either way, they render themselves useless to We The People just when we need them most.

At the end of the day, when the smoke can finally clear and we see this story with whatever perspective we can before our generation literally dies off (and real perspective finally has a chance to flower), I bet we’ll post mortem the press this way: they failed on two major counts.  First – Lack Of Perspective. Too often, our press has turned a laser focus on a piece of the larger story.  While their focus was admirable, the fact that they lost perspective while focusing in so intently was not.  For all the detail a guy like NBC’s Steve Kornacki can tell you about how voters vote, he never places them in the context of their times.

We have never lived through what we’re living through now.  We have never had elections stolen by foreign countries before (at least not that we’re aware of).  We have never experienced one party tossing out the Rule Of Law in a desperate grab for permanent minority rule.  When these things happen, it kinda changes things.  It’s like someone shitting in the pool.  Is swimming in it – with turds bobbing around – the same experience?

No, Steve Kornacki, it is not.  Steve epitomizes this sort of “intense focus” journalism.  He can tell you everything you want to know about a particular grain of sand.  Ask him where the grain of sand IS – on a beach?  In the middle of the Sahara?  In some kid’s sand box in a suburb somewhere?

Steve has no idea.  That’s a problem where storytelling is concerned.

Second – Failure Of Imagination.  It’s directly related to the first problem – lack of perspective.  It’s kinda the “ouch” to lack of perspective’s “pinch”.  If you can’t really see what the problem (or the story) is, you can’t possibly solve it (or report it accurately). 

What happens when we pull back the lens on most of our Main Stream News Media is we see that they’re failing us – failing their Constitutionally mandated role as final check on power.  I suggest we keep the lens back here.  Their close up is really, really ugly.

We Live In A “Golden Age Of Bullshit” – And Its Patron Saint — Donald Trump — Is Killing Us

If ever one word captured the age we live in — it’s “bullshit”. And could a man embody & epitomize bullshit any better than Donald Trump?

Shameless plug first — I just finished (and I’m agent-shopping) a book: How To Live Bullshit Free (And Other Showbiz Tales). It’s a painfully funny, brutally honest, name-dropping Hollywood memoir. I’ve had an unusual career (you can IMDb me here) that’s given me the chance to work with some of the most talented people in The Business. It’s also a “why you shouldn’t kill yourself” book (I came within inches of committing suicide three days before Christmas 2016 — or, as I like to think of it, I came within literal inches of bullshitting myself to death.

As I began to healthy in the aftermath (thanks to a great therapist, a mood stabilizer to cage the depression — it all flowed from a sexual assault at 14 I had buried — and loads of THC to mitigate my hypomania), I saw the myriad ways bullshit was still kicking my ass on a daily basis.

The first thing you have to do — to get bullshit out of your life — is to acknowledge all your own bullshit first (you have to deal with yours before you can even think of dealing with anyone else’s). And the first thing you’ll find, when you begin to deal with your bullshit, is how completely bullshit has destroyed your perspective. Bullshit, like depression, reduces your view of the world to an extreme telephoto lens — dialed in on one thing (how much you hate yourself, say) to the exclusion of everything else. Both destroy perspective until all you can see is your bullshit — and your bullshit is lying to you.

So — what can one do to become the alpha dog in one’s relationship with one’s ownb bullshit? Understand — calling out the bullshit in your life is not a one-n-done project.  Bullshit is like herpes.  It never really goes away.  You manage it at best.  But you have to manage it.  Every day – or it’ll metastasize from herpes into something a hell of a lot worse. 

HOW TO LIVE BULLSHIT FREE: THE DAILY 7 STEP ‘TO DO’ LIST

1 Get Perspective

2 Be Clear on What Is and What Isn’t

3 Keep Perspective

4 Refuse to Engage With Bullshit (It’s Pointless)

5 Own Your Own Bullshit First (Own It All Every Day)

6 Maintain Perspective

7 Wake Up Tomorrow and Repeat

If you look at how the list is structured, one thing kind of leads to another.  Nothing on it is intrinsically difficult – unless you try it in isolation.  The daily hunting and pecking at bullshit is a grind.  You see a lot of familiar faces: your bad habits for instance – they’re bullshit.  Bad habits you know you can break (and should) are bullshit on steroids.  Those are the ones that trip easily into Red Flag Warning territory.  There’s a reason they’re habits despite the fact that they’re bad. 

The getting, keeping and maintaining of perspective are all a matter of pulling ‘the camera’ back as far as you possibly can.  Are you seeing the biggest picture?  Sure you can’t pull it back just a little bit more?  Remember – bullshit eats perspective. 

If you can master that – seeing your circumstances in their fullest context – it may not make you happier, but you’ll know exactly what stands between you and happiness.  You will always know where the bullshit is in your life – and which bullshit you can live with and which you can’t.

Some Perspective On Perspective

As much as I might want to see the world through another person’s eyes, it’s a physical impossibility. The best I can ever really hope for is to imagine what the world literally looks like as they see it. It’s a fact — we all experience “experience” differently.

Imagine a cube sitting alone on a vast, featureless plain. From the cube’s point of view, all one can see — turning 360 degrees — is plain. From the plain’s perspective however, there’s endless plain — and a cube. Differing perspectives see differing things. But one of the two perspectives saw everything (or more of everything) while the other failed to see a key detail.

As a Nation, we stand at a moment of existential crisis because we have lost perspective — and our perspective was dubious to begin with.

How is it that a criminal and traitor occupies the White House and we are seemingly powerless to remove him from office? How is that all this information about Donald Trump’s criminality — including 488 pages of Mueller Report — and we STILL can’t even officially accuse the man of what he’s demonstrably done?

It’s like the Truth is that cube sitting in the middle of vast, featureless plain — and we, living inside the Truth, can’t see it because we’re so “close to it”. If we could just get some perspective, we’d get it. Our news media has a related problem. They want to get at the truth — but don’t seem to realize that the deep dives they take — while detailed — aren’t adding significantly to our overall knowledge because they’re too focused on detail. Or on the wrong details…

A story (like Trump’s with Russia, for instance) is a mosaic. Each tile is significant. The problem is, our Main Stream News Media — while awfully good at boring into any particular tile — have a tendency (while boring in on the particular tile that’s drawn their interest) to forget all the other tiles in the mosaic.

Some of them even forget that the thing they’re looking at is part of a mosaic. They convince themselves that the piece they’re looking at IS the whole picture while the Whole Picture actually looks a lot like this

On a related note — and a similar metaphor — there are the numbers crunchers like NBC’s Steve Kornacki. Kornacki can tell you a lot of fascinating detail about the numbers themselves — how a district voted historically, how a particular candidate has fared with a particular group of voters. But Kornacki’s assumption that the past is prologue doesn’t apply to now. We’ve never had an actual traitor as POTUS — and we’ve never had one of our two political parties committed to keeping that traitor in power.

The details on the ground matter more than the fact that there’s “ground”. Put another way, Number crunchers like Steve Kornacki can wax rhapsodic about a grain of sand (how small it is — or big compared to other grains of sand, what kind of rock it came from, how old it is, what its future probably is) …

Yeah — Kornacki can show you the beauty in a grain of sand. But beyond that things get sketchy…

Almost as important as knowing about the grain of sand is knowing where the grain of sand lives. And that’s something Kornacki can only guess at — because he’s lost perspective (and maybe never had it to begin with). For all Kornacki knows, the grain of sand he’s fixated on comes from here…

But, for all Steve knows, it could just as easily come from the surface of Mars…

It’s lack of perspective that first fed the ludicrous idea that “both sides do it”. “Both sides do it” always functions without any sense of scale — or perspective. To the “both sides do it” crowd, Bernie Madoff and Jean Valjean (from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables) are both thieves — never mind that one ripped off people to the tune of billions while the other stole bread to feed the hungry. The respective-less Both Sides Do It club says thievery is thievery is thievery (if poor people or people of color do it).

Storytellers need to be able to pull the camera back as far as it will go — and then further still. A storyteller with no perspective is a person to whom that story is being told.

They’re like a cube sitting on a wide open, featureless plain…