America Is Divided But The MAJORITY Of Americans Were Not Divided About Donald Trump

Chicken Little — journalism degree in hand — dashes hither and thither squawking “the sky is falling!” or, as he now puts it, “America is hopelessly divided! What are we all to do?” Shhhh, calm down, Chicken Little. Stop believing your own hype. Stop believing that “both sides do it”. They don’t. That brand of “journalism” has destroyed your sense of perspective; it’s convinced you that you can’t possibly arbitrate between bullshit and truth for your audience; THEY’LL have to decide for themselves if bullshit can be truth and truth can be bullshit. Just for the record, no, it can’t and no, it can’t.

“Both sides to it” is bullshit. And bullshit can never be true. Cos it’s bullshit.

The gun-toting, Christo-fascist, liquored-to-their-bloodshot-eyeballs Trumpanistas do not care about representative democracy and never have. Let’s be generous and call them 30% of America. That’s the slice of America that still approved of Richard Nixon on the day he quit because of Watergate (actually it was 29% — I’m being even more generous!) The truth is, the hardcore-iest of the hardcore Trumpanistas are a thin slice of the larger half-baked tranche. When you stop and do the math — who they are vs who we are? It’s batshit crazy insane that “these people” hold the sway that they do.

I wonder if it’s because they’re all white (or white aspirational)?

The slow but steady attrition of gerrymandering, minority rule and elections stolen from the majority brought us to a place where that disempowered majority finally had enough. Donald Trump himself said the unspoken but true part out loud: when more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats. If too many Americans vote, Republicans would never win again.

Wow. Donald Trump got one right. He spoke a truth.

Why do you suppose Trump thinks that? If more Americans took part in the decision-making process, they would NOT struggle with their choice. They would choose a Democratic, PROGRESSIVE way forward over a Republican, REGRESSIVE way back to what we were: a country that compromised with SLAVERY. Seen as a trend line, a diversifying America is NOT divided on that subject and hasn’t been for a long, long time. That’s the MAJORITY I’m speaking of.

“Both sides do it” insists on giving equal weight to both sides of an argument regardless of any argument’s actual heft. That’s why climate science and climate denial got to share 50-50 screens on every single news network. Quick note to the news networks who apparently don’t understand how the visual medium works. Anything presented in a 50-50 screen is saying (even if unintentionally) “these two things are equal”. If it’s two people making diametrically opposite arguments? Those two arguments (climate science and climate denial) could BOTH be equally valid.

Just like that, NEWS NETWORKS gave credence to rubbish. They said, in the visual language, “this argument could be true”. Bullshit could be true.

Oy.

Once you’ve gone there, there’s not bottom. Mexicans “could be” rapists. Women might “like” being grabbed by their pussies. Children might prefer to grow up in cages, separated from their parents. Voters might not care if their president shoots them on Fifth Avenue — as a bizarre way to keep their vote. Once you chase a rabbit like this down its festering hole, you’re lost. That’s why our news media could never tell the Donald Trump story. It’s why they can’t today.

This story will happen IN SPITE OF our news media mostly and NOT because of it. The majority of heroic reporting on Trump has come from WITHOUT mainstream American journalism and not from within as it should have.

I watched MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhl report the other day how the spontaneous celebrations that broke out across America once Joe and Kamala’s election was a fully established fact that those celebrations weren’t about Donald Trump, they were about a hopeful return to normalcy. My response to Stephanie (through my TV — I don’t think she heard) was “What the HELL are you talking about? I was IN one of those spontaneous celebrations (masked and distanced — but needed see and feel the vibe). I know for a fact what and how WE were celebrating. I wasn’t an observer, ya see, I WAS A PARTICIPANT.

But Stephanie — an observer apparently who didn’t speak to ANY participants — adjudged our motives for us. We weren’t doing it for OUR reason, we were doing it for HERS.

She was “both sides doing it” it to us. The one time we WERE reacting politically, Stephanie (to whom the left is ALWAYS being political rather than reactive) had us being purely reactive.

Um, no, Ms. Ruhl. Everyone as far as I could see and hear at the street celebration I attended was there because of the relief we felt at RIDDING OURSELVES of Donald J. Trump. Please get that distinction. We had to do this OURSELVES because our news media couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

We have to look into this. We will. As badly as the news media has reported on Trump, they are reporting on us. They’re gravitating toward the most visible — the loudest, gun-totingest, bleary-eyed Trumpanistas — the ones with the most white, Christian male grievances to grieve over. Stories of angry white people are easier to tell than stories of everyone else — struggling to get into or stay in a game that remains entirely stacked against them and for the RICH, white, Christian men who are actually oppressing everyone.

Even Charles Koch now realizes how deeply he stepped in it. Charles isn’t being contrite as much as he’s being strategic. He’s seen the same handwriting on the wall that the 21st Century Fox Board of Directors did when they fired Bill O’Reilly on April 19, 2017. The handwriting was female. It belonged to America’s women. They make up most of the buying decisions in American households. If you lose them, you lose. And Bill O’Reilly — a sexual predator — had lost America’s women.

More precisely, Bill O’Reilly lost his advertisers. His show lost its advertisers because all of them saw they’d lose their clients — the companies that made the products being advertised. And those companies didn’t want to lose their customers — all those women making all those buying decisions. It was between Bill O’Reilly and staying in business. We all know who won. That victory should be shouting at us. It is — if only we’d listen to it.

I’ve written here about how I believe our view of the American electorate walks in the door skewed because of who owns most of the voting machine-making companies (and who’s on their boards and to whom they make healthy political campaign donations). Please don’t ask me or anyone to trust people with an aversion to transparency, a cash-paying love for an authoritarian fraud and vehement resistance to Americans using much more secure hand-marked paper ballots to vote. Something about them smells.

If I’m even half-right about Republicans padding their numbers, our perception of who we are and how we vote has been significantly perverted. They’re still as crazy as we think they are, but there are a lot fewer of them than we’ve been told.

That, ya see, is the point of the exercise. Republicans now are like an animal whose sole defense is to puff up its feathers. That “defense” is still just feathers. Republicans aren’t who they present themselves to be. They’re neither growers not show-ers.

We, on the other hand, are both growers AND show-ers. Our numbers grew (significantly) and we showed up — both on election day and after to celebrate.

Hey, Stephanie Ruhl — you’re a good reporter when you stick to matters financial. The moment you wander away from that beat, you lose your super powers. Completely. We’re in a forgiving mood though (with some people). We’ll blame your j-school education instead of you. We’ll assume you were sharp as a tack before “both sides do it” blunted your analytical skills. If you HAD wandered into one of those spontaneous celebrations BEFORE reporting on it and characterizing it, I feel certain your eyes and ears would not have betrayed you.

Four years ago, the MAJORITY of us (and had this many Americans voted, the disappointed majority would have been significantly larger) were shocked when the minority got to rule. We protested. We tore at our hair and ripped at our clothing. But we allowed Trump to take his place in the White House. We now know we were bamboozled. The whole country was — by a man who always favors”me” over “we”.

This past election day, We The People spoke clearly in the loudest, clearest, most steady voice a shitload of voter suppression allowed: “Ding dong, the witch is dead”.

Hear, bloody HEAR!

Telling Trump-Russia From Trump’s Point Of View Is As Dumb As Telling A James Bond Movie From Blofeld’s Point Of View

Every time a journalist on the TV frames the chaos we’re living through from Donald Trump’s point of view, I want to scream. And I often do.

If you ask a liar if he’s lying and the liar lies (says “no, I’m not lying”), are you doing anyone any favors by telling their story without framing the liar as a liar first? By not framing the story as a liar probably lying, you’re telling the story of an honest person doing honest things and speaking truthfully. If that’s not the truth, what the hell are you doing telling this story — if not deliberately retelling a lie?

James Bond movies are always written, produced & told from James Bond’s point of view — that is, that James Bond is the hero doing heroic things for our collective benefit. He’s saving the world from guys like Ernst Stavro Blofeld. But, if we told a James Bond story from every point of view, including Blofeld’s, we’d have to justify Blofeld if only to himself.

No one ever does anything for “no reason” or “just because’. Even if a person (or character) can’t articulate what motivates them to action, there’s something inside motivating them. Ironically, for all his appearances across multiple Bond movies, neither Ian Fleming (Bond’s creator) nor any of the filmmakers who’ve adapted Fleming’s work to the screen have bothered to dive deeply into what makes Blofeld tick.

It’s pure greed or megalomania, take your pick. No idea what his parents were like (was Ernst born this way or was his environment and upbringing to blame?) With Donald Trump, for instance, we can point to horrible genetics, clinical narcissism and deplorable parenting. With Blofeld? All we know is he woke up one day wanting to rule the world never mind all the headaches it might cause.

On the one hand, I think a Bond movie told from Blofeld’s point of view is extremely appealing — but only because I really want to know what makes a character like Blofeld tick. Are Bloefeld’s born or made?

But that would be a Blofeld movie, not a Bond movie.

We live in a Bond movie, not a Blofeld movie. Telling us how Blofeld thinks is interesting but not if you’re telling us at the same time that how Blofeld thinks is valid. It’s not. It can’t be — because Blofeld having his way and Bond World surviving intact are mutually exclusive propositions.

A story told from Bloefeld’s point of view would justify Blofeld. It would explain him — not as the villain of the Bond Story but as the hero of the Blofeld story. From Blofeld’s point of view, he’s completely justified doing what he’s doing. Keep in mind — he never just shows up as the guy with all that Dark Power, he’s worked his way there.

He’s found the money to pay for his evil empire. No one’s working for free, right? Working in remote locations where no one can snoop on you? You still have to feed, house, clothe your work force. And they all have families, you know? What about them? Does Blofeld, Inc offer competitive salaries and benefit packages? What’s their healthcare plan like?

Every time a Stephanie Ruhl asks a “But, what if…” question that supposes Trump might not be lying this time, it stops framing the story from the point of view of reality and frames it instead from bullshit’s point of view — as if bullshit were true. It’s not. Never was, never will be. If the Trumpanistas believe the bullshit, they’re delusional — that’s the story. If the Trumpanistas don’t believe the bullshit but want to shove it down our throats anyway, they’re liars and rapists.

Why would any responsible journalist frame any story from an untrue point of view? Nothing good can come of it. Dialogue from a James Bond movie comes to mind. James Bond is tied down to a metal table. A laser is moving slowly toward his family jewels — the laser will sear them good and proper before burning a line all the way up to Bond’s forehead.

“I expect you want me to talk,” says Bond.

“No, Mister Bond,” laughs Goldfinger, “I expect you to die.”

If we saw the movie from Goldfinger’s point of view? We’d be cheering for the laser.

Dear Stephanie Ruhl: FFS, Hon – Stop Giving Our Lying Scumbag POTUS The Benefit Of The Doubt!

Hey, Steph – sorry to call you out like this but today you said & something so egregious that it demanded comment.  Frankly, this applies to lots of your fellow journalists; they need to listen up, too.

You’re a talented financial journalist, Stephanie.  Your bona fides there are top notch.  But when you wade into politics, you lose your way.

You say things that betray a troubling lack of perspective.  You seem to believe that in politics “both sides do it”.  Oy.

In a discussion this morning on your air with Rick Stengel re the implications of Trump’s extortionate actions toward the Ukraine, you stopped Rick mid-sentence to ask: “But, wasn’t Trump elected to let Trump be Trump?”  Oy again.  Do you not see the inherent problems in that question – hell, do you not see the inherent problems in that way of THINKING?

First of all – it dives right into the false narrative that Trump is the legitimate president who was legitimately voted into office in a free and fair election completely untouched by Russian influences (or the influence of other countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel).  It ignores the whole context in which election 2016 took place – a context we now know was steeped in Russian money and propaganda all designed to make Donald Trump president despite what the American People wanted.

The Mueller Report was NOT the uber-document on Trumpian corruption and treason.  It’s scope was limited from the get-go – except for the counter-intelligence part of the investigation (which started the whole thing).  Even so, the Mueller Report doesn’t say there “was no proof” that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia regarding Wikileaks, it said there was insufficient proof to convict (a different benchmark entirely) but that the investigators could not complete their investigation because of all the Obstruction Of Justice.

The Report suggested that the Congress remove Trump from office via impeachment so that he could be prosecuted for all the crimes he’d clearly committed.  Remember all those other criminal matters that got spun off?  Some of them are still percolating – the ones, that is, that Bill Barr didn’t squash.

Bill Barr is another apparent blind spot for you, Steph’.  You report on activities that CLEARLY indicate profound corruption in every which way.  You even speak that word yourself.  And yet – each time Barr or anyone else in the Trump White House pushes further into uncharted corrupt waters, your first impulse – even as you point to its outrageousness – is to accept it as the new normal.

Why do you persist in doing that?  Oh, right… because both sides do it.

No, love, they don’t. 

You pointed out a few minutes later to Rick Stengle that most Americans don’t know everything Rick Stengle knows.  You allowed that when Trumps base (with whom you are obsessed) hear Trump get up at the United Nations and lie about how America is burdened by having to pay for the bulk of defending the Ukraine from Russia – they’re gonna think, “Yeah – I agree!”

And then you said this:  “How are they supposed to know the truth?”

FFS, Steph – that’s where YOU come in, don’t you get it?  That’s where YOU – as the Fourth Estate, charged in the Constitution with being the final check on power – are supposed to step forward SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER]

You however insist on giving Power the Benefit Of The Doubt instead.  And therein lies your problem and consequently OUR problem.

Why would you give a liar the benefit of the doubt that he might not be lying this time?  Wouldn’t a more skeptical “journalistic” approach be to assume he might be lying – and demand he back up everything he says until he becomes trustworthy?

Would you, Stephanie, a talented financial journalist give the benefit of the doubt to a financial criminal who you see right through?  Would it not offend you – knowing the absolute truths you know – to give such a fraud “the benefit of the doubt” you KNOW he does not deserve?

Wouldn’t your time on air be better spent reporting on the evidentiary case against him?  What good can come of air time spent framing the story from a lying, corrupt point of view – as if it was valid?  That’s what giving the benefit of the doubt does – it validates because it asks “Okay, but what if this utter bullshit were true?”

It’s not true.  It was never true and never will be true.  It’s like taking flat earthers seriously.  But worse.

It is absurd that even as Donald Trump tries to commit the same crime in 2019 and 2020 that he committed in 2015 and 2016, the bulk of our press still doesn’t get it.  They see the far flung pieces of Trumpian corruption but refuse to connect the dots.

Please try to grasp this concept, Stephanie (it could, some day, make you as good a political reporter as you are a financial reporter): a crime committed right in your face is still a crime.

Stop giving it the benefit of the doubt. Please?

Thanks,

Signed: A Wanna-Be-Loyal Audience Member 

Why Our Main Stream News Media Sucks – “Benefit Of The Doubt” Edition

The most frustrating words to tumble from any reporter’s mouth is “Yeah, but what if…?” because what always follows is that reporter giving someone or something the benefit of the doubt it almost assuredly doesn’t deserve.

MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhl is a talented financial reporter. But her great still set constantly gets compromised by an incessant compulsion to ask “But,, what if…?” questions — the kind that ask “But, what if Hitler had liked Jews instead of hating them?” Great abstract question. Who gives a shit – it’s never going to happen! Ever. To even think of it would be a profound waste of time.

Every single day, Donald Trump does something that an American president should never do. He says something that a grown up should never say. He commits crimes, violates long-standing norms, openly betrays the country — hell, part of the running joke we’re all in on is the idea that Donald Trump does something bad, wrong or illegal every day. In a courtroom, this would be called “Preponderance Of Evidence”.

Think of it as a connect the dots picture like this one…

The preponderance of the available evidence says “It’s an elephant”. But, as the dots aren’t actually connected — and the elephant completely revealed — I guess one could think the picture could be something else but considering the preponderance of the evidence, you’d have to be a moron to go there. Seriously — a moron. It’s not a picture of anything else and was never going to be a picture of anything else. To ask “But, what if it’s a picture of a whale?” would be stupid. If we were to engage with you and your question, we’d have to point out how all the evidence points to the picture being an elephant.

Wasted time, wasted energy, wasted everything. That’s what happens when you give the benefit of the doubt to things that do not deserve any such benefit. And yet — every day, as you report on Donald Trump — you give him the benefit of the doubt. As if maybe he isn’t a racist… or a misogynist… or a corrupt criminal… or a traitor.

No, no, no, you surely think — “I’m just being objective”. Fair enough. Objectivity is essential to good journalism. Objectivity is perspective. But having perspective means you DON’T have to entertain things that your perspective deems unworthy. And having perspective means you KNOW there are plenty of things unworthy — of your time, your energy, your “but, what if…?” questions.

“But, what if…?” is not journalism. It’s you (or a journalist like you) being foolish and credulous. It’s you trading in your skepticism for a steno pad.

But, what if our country really isn’t facing an existential crisis because the president and his political party sold us out for money, power and permanent minority rule?

Connect the dots, damn it. Even simpler — Connect THE dot…