The Media Drops The Ball-Again

Our friend Jeff introduces us to Eric Boehlert, a journalist who calls a spade a spade, unlike far too many today! Take a minute to read and ponder, if you will. Thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

For over three years now, our national media continues to try and normalize this president. Nobody points this out better than media critic Eric Boehlert. You’ve maybe seen Eric on MSNBC, as he’s regularly on AM Joy on most weekends. For years he wrote for Media Matters, a progressive non-profit organization that specializes in monitoring and analyzing conservative media lies and misinformation. In addition, he has a regular segment on progressive talk-show host Stephanie Miller every Monday on SiriusXM Channel 127. Now, he has his new website: Press Run. I hope you enjoy Eric’s take. As usual, he’s spot on. There are links below if you’d like to subscribe to his site. It’s free.

How Ap, NPR, and NYT help whitewash Trump’s virus madness

Normalizing carries a high price

By Eric Boehlert

After three years we start to lose the words and the right language to describe Trump’s often demented…

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Day One of Inquiry-Media Already Drops the Ball

Since I couldn’t bring myself to write about yesterday’s televised hearings, I will share with you Jeff’s take on the media’s response which was, to say the least, largely lackluster. Thanks, Jeff, for a great assessment … you are spot on!

On The Fence Voters

So day one of the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump is now in the books. Ambassador William Taylor and Under Secretary of State George Kent gave testimony for over five hours. Day two is tomorrow, with former Ukrainian Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch set to take the stand. I thought day one went well for the Democrats, and I planned on giving my overall opinion on some of what I observed–until I saw the following tweets:

Unfortunately, my mood changed quickly. Really NBC News and Jeff Mason of Reuters? Is this is the best you can do? A “lack of pizzazz,” “boring,” and “hearings begin…

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Public Impeachment Inquiry Begins-Will America Care?

Tomorrow begins the public phase of the impeachment process and it will be widely televised. But, will anybody be watching? Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders this, and his words are astute and well worth sharing. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Starting this Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the public portion of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump will begin. Will the American people care?

It’s an open question.

For a while, I wondered whether the major networks were going to cover the hearings. Much to my surprise, they indeed will be covering the event. Scheduled to appear Wednesday are Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant for European Affairs George Kent. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS will preempt regularly scheduled programming for live coverage. It was music to my ears.

I knew for sure that the major cable news networks and CSPAN would be covering the hearings, but now that the major networks are in the fray, there are no excuses for the American people. If you want to watch the proceedings, you can do so in multiple ways. If you can’t watch them live, you can undoubtedly tape them, or watch…

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Still waiting for Republican spine

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has been eavesdropping on my conversations between Me, Myself and I … only he has somehow made it sound humorous, whereas my own sound dark and foreboding. Good post, Jeff … you managed to combine humour and despair, light and dark, and did it well. Ever think about doing standup comedy? Seriously, though … thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Mark Twain once said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” The failure of Congressional Republicans to show the kind of courage America so desperately needs, while the leader of their party runs roughshod over our democracy, is one of the most challenging dilemmas of our time.

So perplexing in fact, that I’ve found myself talking … to myself. That’s right, after nearly four years since Donald Trump entered the political arena, I’ve now become a blithering fool. I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this. But, I guess the subconscious of my soul could only take so much.

I’m about to share some of these conversations—with myself—that occurred over the last couple of days as I walked and jogged with my two four-legged canine buddies in our Great Pacific Northwest backyard. They say admitting to one’s insanity is a significant first step. So, here it…

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Ignoring Trump

More than once I have said we need to look behind the curtain to see what the ‘man’ in the Oval Office is doing that we are missing. He spews hateful rhetoric, tweets his ignominious prattle while on the potty each morning, and we spend all our time reacting to and dissecting his words. Meanwhile, behind the scenes …

Despite me saying it, I fall into the trap quite often, react to some horrendous, childish rant of his rather than dig deeper for truth. The smoke and mirrors, the shiny objects, are just too easy sometimes. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent piece reminding us all that we need to rise above the mudfest, need not to let ourselves be dragged into the fray, for that is precisely what Trump and his sycophants hope we will do.

Thank you, Jeff, for the timely reminder and for your generous permission to share your words with my readers!

On The Fence Voters

I’m done. Yes, I’m officially done with getting bent out of shape at every racist utterance that comes from this President’s mouth or Twitter feed. How much more evidence do we need that the man is a racist? How many more times will the media fall for this man’s continuing effort to dominate the narrative every single day and distract from the absolute mockery he’s making of our Constitution and democracy? Enough, please.

By no means do I mean to minimize any of the horrific things he’s been saying about specific politicians and other people of note. Whether it’s calling Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district of Baltimore a rat-infested whatever, or telling four Congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from, these are purposeful and hateful comments that deserve condemnation and public ridicule.

But once the condemnation occurs, it’s time to move on. What I’d like to see…

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ASSAULT! … On Freedom of the Press

Donald Trump on Tuesday said he told White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings anymore.

“The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press. I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”

Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, decried the growing infrequency of press briefings in a statement Tuesday, warning that the trend could set a dangerous precedent …

“While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James A. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned.”

This headline from The Washington Post seems fairly accurate …

The White House has transitioned from daily press briefings to monthly press beratings

Here’s what happens, folks, when an autocrat moves in and tries to assume power.  Little things, like repeatedly calling the free press the “enemy of the people”.  Little things like pulling a reporter’s press credentials because he asked tough questions.  Little things like calling every legitimate news story “fake news”.  Pretty soon, it seems commonplace and before long nobody thinks much about it.  Oh, those daily press briefings only happen on rare occasions now?  Hmmm … hadn’t noticed.

The first step on the path to authoritarianism is to make sure the press never has the whole story to tell the people.  Make it hard for them to get information, maybe even toss out a few scraps of false information.  Close the blinds and paint over the windows … no need for transparency … nothing to see here, folks.

The New York Times, which is not, by the way, the “failing” New York Times, as Trump has claimed, published a list:  The 551 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List  

Let us take a look at just the things he has tweeted about the mainstream media in general (just skim the list, for it is mostly repetitive, but I wanted you to see the volume of his denigration)

 “Fake News Media”“Fake News Media!”“Fake News”“Fake News Media”“Fake News”“FAKE”“Fake News”“tries so hard to paint the opposite picture”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Never in the history of our Country has the “press” been more dishonest than it is today”“Stories that should be good, are bad”“Stories that should be bad, are horrible”“bad!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“has it purposely wrong”“Please report news correctly”“Fake News”“Fake News Media”“totally out of its mind”“truly the Enemy of the People!”“Fake News Media”“FAKE NEWS”“THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”“Fake News”“disgusting Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake Media”“FAKE NEWS”“They never like to ask me for a quote b/c it would kill their story”“Fake News Media”“Fake News”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS”“the Enemy of the People!”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS MEDIA, crazy”“always seeking to make us look as bad as possible”“Very dishonest!”“Fake News!”“Nasty”“Hostile”“FAKE NEWS!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Disgraceful!”“Fake News”“keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the “Media is the Enemy of the People.””“Fake News”“Enemy of the People”“false information not good!”“Fake News”“Enemy of the People”“dishonest reporters”“Fake News”“Fake News, Fake & Dishonest reporting”“inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news”“Fake News Media”“the true Enemy of the People”“Fake News, Fake & Dishonest reporting”“purposely false and inaccurate reporting”“Fake News”“so bad and hateful that it is beyond description”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS!”“FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“hates to discuss the real facts!”“Fake News”“going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do”“going CRAZY!”“constant and intense Fake News”“totally dishonest”“Truth doesn’t matter to them”“they only have their hatred & agenda”“This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction”“Enemy of the People!”“Fake News”“They love to portray chaos in the White House when they know that chaos doesn’t exist”“Fake Reporting”“Fake News!”“fiction!”“Fake”“made up stories”“Fake News”“trying endlessly to make me look as bad and evil as possible”“Fake News”“worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say”“phony story”“Fake News Media!”“Fake News, of which there is soooo much”“Fake News”“the Enemy of the People”“So bad for America!”“Fake News”“don’t watch at all”“THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY”“very bad for our Great Country”“much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE”“purposely cause great division & distrust”“very dangerous & sick!”“Fake News”“refuses to report the lies and corruption having to do with the Rigged Witch Hunt”“FAKE NEWS!”“FAKE NEWS”“the enemy of the people!”“Fake News Media”“going CRAZY!”“totally unhinged”“In 7 years, when I am no longer in office, their ratings will dry up and they will be gone!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Enemy of the People”“driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome”“Very unpatriotic!”“anti-Trump haters”“dying”“they try to distract and cover it up”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Corrupt”“Fake News”“always anonymous sources”“Wrong”“Fake News, Hypocrites!”“Fake News”“going Crazy!, They make up stories without any backup, sources or proof”“total fiction”“Fake News”“wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia”“the real enemy of the people”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“going Crazy!”“Fake News”“it is FAKE NEWS!”“the enemy of the people”“Fake News”“doesn’t want to report the truth”“Fake News”“constantly likes to pore over my tweets looking for a mistake”“Fake News is working overtime!”“Fake Media”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Total corruption”“Fake News”“the enemy of the people”“Fake News”“they put their own spin on it – truth doesn’t matter to them!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“only shows the bad photos”“Fake News”“once again, WRONG!”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“Our Country’s biggest enemy”“Fake News”“easily promulgated by fools!”“Fake News”“so unfair, and vicious”“Fake”“Fake News is really bad!”“Fake News”“desperate to distract from the economy and record setting economic numbers”“Fake News”“corrupt”“working overtime not to mention the infiltration of people, Spies (Informants), into my campaign!”“Corrupt”“Fake”“run the most highly sophisticated & dishonest Disinformation Campaign in the history of politics”“No matter how well WE do, they find fault”“corrupt”“Fake News”“Fake News”“got it purposely wrong, as usual!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“got it purposely wrong, as usual!”“Fake News”“made up, unsourced stories”“Fake News”“Much of the Media may be corrupt”“Fake News”“Fake News”“a disgrace!”“The Fake News is working overtime”“Fake”“Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?”“FAKE NEWS”“Fake News”“going crazy making up false stories and using only unnamed sources (who don’t exist)”“totally unhinged”“the great success of this Administration is making them do and say things that even they can’t believe they are saying”“Truly bad people!”“Fake News”“going ‘bonkers!’”“so silent”“Fake & Disgusting News to create ill will!”“93% bad stories”“Fake News Media”“phony an dishonest press”“Fake News”“Fools”“Fake News Media”“Much of the media is a Scam!”“Fake News Media”“phony stories”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“dishonest and corrupt!”“Fake News”“among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with”“So much Fake News”“Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate”“Fake News Media”“crazed”“They are wrong!”“Fake News”“beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired”“Fake News Media”“they are lying”“Turn off the show – FAKE NEWS!”“being mocked all over the world”“They’ve gone CRAZY!”“Total Fake News!”“Fake News Media”“Fake News Media”“Fake News Media”“approval ratings are correctly at their lowest levels in history!”“untruthful”“Fake reporting”“FAKE NEWS”“very corrupt”“dishonest”“Fake News”“talks about anything negative or that can be turned into the negative”“contrived!”“So much Fake News is being reported”“They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong”“crazed that WE won the election!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“corrupt & biased”“losers”“lapdogs”“Fake News Mainstream Media”“screaming mental stability and intelligence”“Fake News”“Fake News”“DISHONEST”“CORRUPT”“Dishonesty & Bad Reporting”“Fake News”“very dishonest”“Fake News”“VERY dishonest”“unfair”“Fake News Media”“Phony and non-existent ‘sources’ are being used more often than ever”“Many stories & reports a pure fiction!”“Fake News”“loves to talk about my so-called low approval rating”“massive negative Trump coverage”“The Fake News”“refuses to talk about how Big and how Strong our BASE is”“They show Fake Polls just like they report Fake News”“only negative reporting”“Fake News”“Fake”“the Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews”“Fake News Media”“Fake News Hate Shows”“Fake News”“working overtime to follow the lead of their friends, the defeated Dems”“Fake News Media”“untrue stories”“has become a joke!”“Fake News”“purposely false and defamatory stories”“Fake News Media”“They are out of control”“correct reporting means nothing to them”“Major lies written”“a stain on America!”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS!”“dishonest”“corrupt”“distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me)”“They are all bad”“FAKE NEWS”“their ratings are terrible, nobody cares!”“Fake News”“#FakeNews”“They are wrong”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Disgraceful!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME”“FAKE NEWS”“Lost cred”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“going crazy”“Fake”“Fake News”“Fiction writers!”“Fake News”“has become so partisan, distorted and fake”“licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked”“going all out in order to demean and denigrate!”“Such hatred!”“Fake News”“story is totally made up”“dishonest”“Fake News”“one-sided coverage”“Fake News Networks”“just made up”“FAKE!”“Fake”“Fake News”“No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth”“Fake News”“out of control!”“Fake News”“Fake News”“working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R’s”“Shame!”“Fake News”“#FakeNews!”“Because of #FakeNews my people are not getting the credit they deserve”“FAKE NEWS”“anti-Trump”“Collusion?”“Fake News”“totally biased”“dishonest”“Fake News”“they know nothing about me & have zero access”“#FAKE NEWS!”“false reporting”“dying magazines”“Fake News”“Fake News”“a platform to hate groups”“turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets!”“Fake News”“very dishonest, Fake News”“worst”“dishonest”“Fake News reporting”“Fake News”“dishonest”“Fake News”“totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!”“Fake News”“truly bad people!”“Fake News Suppression Polls!”“Fake News”“refuses to report the success of the first 6 months”“phony”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“TOTALLY UNTRUE”“Fake News”“Fake News!”“Fake News”“Purposely phony reporting.”“Fake News”“Fake News”“LEAKS”“FAKE NEWS”“Fake News”“sick”“Fake News”“becoming more and more dishonest”“Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!”“Fake”“phony”“unnamed sources”“highly slanted”“fraudulent reporting”“#Fake”“DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!”“when you hear the words “sources say” from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist”“Fake News”“Fake News”“Fake News”“will never cover me accurately but who cares!”“dishonest”“FAKE”“FRAUDULENT”“working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media”“#FakeNews”“Fake News”“likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare”“Wrong”“Fake News”“Fake”“hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media”“made up a phony collusion with the Russians story”“has never been so wrong or so dirty”“Purposely incorrect stories”“phony sources”“agenda of hate”“Sad!”“at an all time high”“Where is their apology to me for all of the incorrect stories???”“#FakeNews”“report the great economic news since Election Day”“FAKE”“working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media”“They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out”“Fake”“Fake”“works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don’t want America to hear the real story!”“fabricated lies”“#FakeNews”“fake”“fake”“#FakeNews”“Fake”“Fake”“Fake”“fake”“fake”“#FakeNews!”“Fake”“FAKE”“Fake”“did everything in its power to make the Republican Healthcare victory look as bad as possible”“Fake”“rarely reports Ocare is on its last legs”“Fake”“officially out of control”“will do or say anything in order to get attention”“FAKE”“refuses to state our long list of achievements”“fake”“FAKE”“almost always negative”“FAKE”“BAD!”“Fake Media (not Real Media)”“has gotten even worse since the election”“Every story is badly slanted”“Fake News”“Fake News”“now pushing the phony Russia story”“vicious”“inaccurate”“Fake News”“FAKE NEWS”“rude”“FAKE NEWS”“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media”“FAKE NEWS”“knowingly doesn’t tell the truth”“A great danger to our country”“Sad!”“FAKE NEWS”“fake news”“Fake”“FAKE NEWS”“the enemy of the American People!”“FAKE”“Dishonest”“FAKE NEWS”“makes up stories and ‘sources,’”“fading fast!”“fake news”“going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred”“FAKE NEWS, Very dishonest!”“FAKE NEWS”“lies!”“lied”“Very dishonest”“dishonest”“Dishonest”“fake!”“Dishonest”“Terrible!”“dishonest”“lies”“dishonest”“More dishonest than anyone knows”“distorted and inaccurate”“Serious bias – big problem!”“crooked”“typically false”“Very unfair!”“Very dishonest”“We are winning and the press is refusing to report it”“Don’t let them fool you”“in the tank for Clinton”“refuses to talk about the three new national polls that have me in first place”“has deceived the public by putting women front and center with made-up stories and lies”“dishonest”“distorted”“rigging election!”“rigging election!”“pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies”“dishonest”“So dishonest!”“want me out of the race so badly”“totally one-sided “spin””“VERY dishonest”“just made up lies!”“never covered Hillary’s massive “hacking” or coughing attack”“It is being reported by virtually everyone, and is a fact, that the media pile on against me is the worst in American political history!”“dishonest”“corrupt”“dishonest”“My rallies are not covered properly”“never discuss the real message”“disgusting”“corrupt”“dishonest”“desperate to distract from Clinton’s anti-2A stance”“totally distort so many things on purpose”“Very dishonest!”“very dishonest”“totally biased”“distorted”“one-sided”“biased”“dishonest”“dishonest”“coverage this morning of the very average Clinton speech and Convention is a joke”“phony”“dishonest”“will find a good spinnnn!”“biased”“spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails”“so dishonest”“If I make a statement, they twist it and turn it to make it sound bad or foolish”“They think the public is stupid!”“Dishonest”“trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!”“so totally biased”“dishonesty”“one big lie!”“totally biased”“biased”“phony”“on a new phony kick about my management style”“dishonest”“dishonest”“disgusting”“really on a witch-hunt against me”“False reporting, and plenty of it”“pushing the false narrative that I want to raise taxes”“unfair”“has not covered my long-shot great finish in Iowa fairly”“able to so incorrectly define a word for the public”“sad!”“dishonest reporters!”“dishonest”“always tough when they falsify”“won’t report!”“dishonest”“wants to surrender constitutional rights”“they only want negatives”“will not report the highly respected new national poll that just came out”“how will the media put a negative spin on this one?”“troublemakers”“despite the[ir] best efforts, the people are speaking loudly and clearly”“totally dishonest”“So sad!”“lies”

WHEW!  And that doesn’t include the filth he has spewed about virtually every journalist and media outlet who has ever criticized him.  Look back throughout history … has any president of the United States ever spoken so?  I think not.  Thus far he has stopped short of actually having journalists jailed, as other autocrats such as Putin and Erdoğan have done, but what he is doing is only one step short of that.  Never before in any democratic nation has a leader been so irresponsible in his dealing with the press.  And now, he has told the Press Secretary to ‘not bother’ communicating with the press, not bother providing information that enables We The People to know what our government is doing.

Remember last July, when Trump spoke to the VFW annual convention in Kansas City, where he said …

“Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news. … What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Believe, in other words, only what he tells you to believe.  Believe only what the man who lies virtually every time he opens his mouth, tells you to believe.  Lies are truth, truth is ‘fake’.

Without a free press, folks, our boat is sunk.  Without a free press, we will live under a dictatorship.  Donald Trump was given the keys to the White House without the majority approval.  He has occupied that house illegitimately for two years now, and in that two years he has made a mockery of many of our institutions, many of our freedoms and protections, and the very foundation of our government, the document he took an oath, swearing to “preserve, protect and defend”.

No more daily press briefings.  Trump will tweet you what you need to know.  Nope, nothing to see here, folks …

Advice to the Free Press …

I wrote a post last night that was intended to occupy this space this afternoon.  It was a blowing-off-steam rant, and while it might have felt good to write, and while you might have declared “Hear! Hear!!!” upon reading it, it was of little or no value other than as a vent for my own angst.  So, I scrapped it … well, actually I still have it and you may yet see it one of these days, but just not today.

Robert ReichInstead, I came across this video clip by former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, that I think has far more value than my rant.  Reich served under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, and has been the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley since January 2006.  He speaks with reason rather than rants, reminding me much of our friend Keith.

In September 2015, his book Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few was published. In it, he warned that widening inequality would generate a blue-collar backlash that could take the form of a demagogue who blames immigrants and minorities for the growing economic stresses felt by the working class.  Sound familiar?

Since Donald Trump took office in January 2017, Reich has produced a number of articles and short videos explaining the dangers he believes lie ahead under Trump and his team of wealthy cohorts. In this particular video, he offers 9 points of advice to the free press that I find to be both reasonable and imperative for the press to observe if they are to remain relevant in this “Era of Trump”.

The video is short, just 2 minutes 34 seconds, and I really hope you will all take the time to watch, for although you and I are not writing for The Washington Post or the New York Times, we are writing for a public audience, our voices, albeit small, are heard, and we have a responsibility also.  So, without further ado, I give you Mr. Robert Reich …

Free Press — Going, Going …

The press, the media, are NOT the enemy of the people.  Period.

Two news items this week have left me literally shaking with rage.  The first you have likely already seen and heard multiple times, but the second was less publicized and you may have missed it.

First …Trump-tweetIt is reminiscent of February 2017 when, shortly after taking office, he called the press “the enemy of the people”.  Since then, hardly a day has gone by that he didn’t refer to CNN, the New York Times or The Washington Post as “fake news”.  As if all that weren’t quite enough, his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale tweeted …parscale-tweet-e1529091270137.pngThis, folks, is intolerable.  No modern American president has publicly spoken this way about the press.  Is this what Trump’s followers find so admirable about him?  Is this what they mean when they say he “tells it like it is”?  If so, then they need to understand that what he is doing is chipping away at the very heart of the 1st Amendment.  As Jim Acosta replied, “Dictatorships take away press credentials. Not democracies.”

Second …

You may not have heard that cartoonist Rob Rogers was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after more than 25 years as the paper’s editorial cartoonist.  Why?  Let me show you …Rob-Rogers-1Rob-Rogers-2Rob-Rogers-3Rob-Rogers-4Turns out that the recently-hired editorial page editor, Keith Burris, and the publisher, John Robinson Block, are Trump supporters.  As such, they took umbrage with Rogers’ cartoons.  They began by blocking any of his cartoons that were critical of Trump, and when he was ordered to draw cartoons extolling the virtues(?) of Trump, he refused and then was fired.

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto’s statement:

“The move today by the leadership of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to fire Rob Rogers after he drew a series of cartoons critical of President Trump is disappointing, and sends the wrong message about press freedoms in a time when they are under siege.

This is precisely the time when the constitutionally-protected free press – including critics like Rob Rogers – should be celebrated and supported, and not fired for doing their jobs. This decision, just one day after the President of the United States said the news media is “Our Country’s biggest enemy,” sets a low standard in the 232-year history of the newspaper.

I’ve known Rob a long time. That has never stopped him from publishing cartoons that are critical of me, of my policy positions, or of my actions (or inactions) in office. He’s even made fun of my weight. But he is one of the best in the world at his time-honored craft, and I know people of all political persuasions stand with me in support of him, even if the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette regrettably does not.”

These two incidents are not to be taken lightly, folks.  These are direct hits on our freedom of the press, and make no mistake, but a free press – one able to criticize without fear of reprisal – is our only hope of knowing what our government is doing.  Without the Post, the Times, CNN, ABC, Time, and a host of others, we are in the dark and will be spoon-fed only the propaganda of Fox, Breitbart, Hannity and Jones.  We will be told only what Trump & Co want us to be told.  I would ask every person who still supports Donald Trump – are you okay with that?  Will you be happy to live in a tunnel, in a dictatorship where you have no voice?

A few days ago I was on the phone with my friend Herb, but we kept getting cut off every few sentences.  On about the 4th attempt to continue the conversation, he jokingly said that it was probably Trump punishing me for all the things I have written about him.  We laughed about it.  That was 2 days ago.  Today I am no longer laughing.  Think about it.

Nothing To See Here Folks … Nothing At All

His name is Michael Christopher Estes … a name few of us have ever heard, even though he planted a bomb in the Asheville, North Carolina airport just over a week ago, on October 6th.  Now why do you think you’ve never heard of Michael Christopher Estes and his attempted bombing?  Look at his picture and see if you can guess.

estesIf you guess that this event was under-reported because he is a white man, you would be right.  Had he been Muslim, of Middle-Eastern, Hispanic or African-American ethnicity, this news would have played 24/7 on all of the major media outlets.  Trump would have been screaming ‘terrorism’ at the top of his lungs, claiming it supports his call for a Muslim ban and a border wall, and the name Michael Christopher Estes would, by now, be a household word.

You can read the details of the story on NPR, for it is not my purpose to re-tell the story.

This is not the only one this year that we likely didn’t hear about:

  • In February, a Florida man named Mark Barnett allegedly created improvised explosives to plant in Target stores along the East Coast as part of a profit-driven bomb plot. Someone he allegedly attempted to recruit to his plot turned Barnett into authorities and he was charged in federal court; his federal case is ongoing.

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  • In July, Luke Mullen was arrested after allegedly making bomb threats against the Colorado Springs Airport; police say he had four explosive devices and a machete inside his vehicle.

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  • Also in July, a blast outside the Bixby Air Force Recruitment Office in Oklahoma caused property damage but no injuries. Benjamin Roden, a former airman, was arrested and is facing federal charges in connection with the incident.

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos


  • In August, Elijah Blankenship in Ohio was arrested and charged with creating multiple homemade explosives. His arrest came shortly before an anti-racist vigil in honor of the victims of the Charlottesville, Va., attack, but court records don’t indicate whether there was a connection to the event.

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  • In September, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced that Douglas Kennedy of Tifton, Ga., was charged with manufacturing explosive devices after a bomb went off in the parking lot of the Tift Regional Medical Center; no one was injured. Kennedy had allegedly constructed and detonated at least three other bombs, none of which hurt anybody.

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For the most part, these stories were only reported locally, did not receive national attention in the media, and received no mention from anybody in the Trump administration.  Even the conspiracy theorists Jones, Hannity, Limbaugh and their ilk were silent on this one! The case of Estes would still lie buried in the archives of the Asheville Citizen Times newspaper if it were not for civil rights activist Shaun King, writing for The Intercept.  Since King’s article was published on October 11th, the story has been picked up by the mainstream media, including the New York Times, USA Today, Salon, NPR, Fox News, CBS News and others.  Nearly a week after the fact.  Would any of these outlets have published the story were it not for Shaun King’s article? I think we know the answer.

White males committing acts that might otherwise be labeled ‘terrorism’ do not elicit the attention of Donald Trump, and these days if Donald Trump does not have something to say about an event, then it is not newsworthy.  White males committing crimes is of no interest to Trump because it does not fit his agenda.  I get that, and I have low expectations of Trump anyway. But frankly I expect better out of our press.  I expect our press to push these stories, to inform the public so that Trump’s blind-faith followers can no longer deny that most acts of terrorism in this country are actually committed by white citizens, not Muslims, not Latinos, but white, male citizens.

I have come out in defense of our free press many times in recent months, and I will continue to do so as long as I have breath, for I firmly believe that the freedom of press to investigate and report, to keep us informed, is the very core of our democracy.  I believe that if we allow government to place constraints on the media, we will too soon become much like Turkey – a democracy in name only.  However, with that freedom comes a responsibility to act as a free press, to report all the news, not just the news that has Trump in the headlines, or about which Trump is tweeting. By ignoring these stories, the press is playing directly into Trump’s hand.

Fortunately, the bomb that Estes left in the Asheville airport was found and defused by police before it could do any harm, but that and the other cases I mentioned had the potential to cause serious harm, injuries and even death.  When he was arrested the following day, Estes told police that he was “preparing to fight a war on U.S. soil” and that this bomb was but one part of that war. That, folks, should frighten us a lot more than the refugee from Syria, the laborer from Mexico. How is that not newsworthy, yet every word that spews from the mouth of Donald Trump, is ‘breaking news’?

I understand that the mainstream media are for-profit organizations, that they are in business to make money, and that as such they must use their resources to report the stories they believe the people want to see.  But to ignore these stories, to give them less attention simply because it was a white male rather than a Syrian or a Mexican who committed the crime, is wrong.  We must hold the press accountable to report all the news, not to cherry pick and report only what Trump is doing.

The Rick & Bubba Show

rick-bubba-2Donald Trump does not like any of the news outlets that I like.  What a surprise, yes?  He calls such esteemed journalistic enterprises as The Washington Post and the New York Times, “failing”, “losers”, and “fake news”.  He likes Breitbart and Fox … and he seems to now have a new favourite, the “Rick & Bubba Show”, a syndicated radio program based in Alabama that airs across the South. The hosts bill themselves as the “two sexiest fat men alive.”  No, dear readers, I am not kidding. Can you imagine Presidents Obama or Bush appearing on the Rick & Bubba Show?

Yesterday, Trump did a 15-minute call-in interview with Rick & Bubba.  He spent a bit of time criticizing John McCain and Susan Collins, both of whom have said that they will not vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill that would rob millions of U.S. citizens of health care.  I find it interesting that even though Senator Rand Paul has also said he would not vote for the bill, Trump has not criticized him. His strongest condemnation was against Senator McCain …

bill“It’s disgusting. When I ran, I was told I’d have a bill on my desk and I’d sign it on Day 1. Now, when it matters because you have a president who is actually going to sign it, they don’t do it. And they pander, and they grandstand. You look at McCain — what McCain has done is a tremendous slap in the face to the Republican Party. Tremendous. He was good to go all the way up until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning when he voted … Without John McCain, we already have the health care.”

A slap in the face to the Republican Party?  Am I the only one who sees a problem here?  John McCain, nor any of the other 534 members of Congress, answer to the Republican Party nor do they answer to Donald Trump!  Each and every member of Congress was voted into the office they hold by the constituents of their district, their state, by We The People.  For the record, the Graham-Cassidy bill is not a health care bill.  It would provide nothing and take away health care from tens of millions of people.

Perhaps it is time the members of our legislative branch woke up and realized that they are public servants, hired by the people and responsible to the people and their best interest.  A few get it, but it would seem, when there are some 49 Republican senators who are willing to vote for a bill that would take health care away from many of the very people who voted for them, they have obviously lost their way.  It is time we start preparing to oust these donkeys in 14 months!

Trump also used the interview to speak of his support of Luther Strange in today’s republican primary election for the open senate seat in Alabama.

[Luther Strange] will absolutely win against the Democrat, whereas Ray’s [Roy Moore] going to have a hard time. If Ray wins, they’re going to pour in $30 million, like they did in Atlanta … The good new is I’m 5-0. I want to make it 6-0. I’m doing it really for the country. We can’t lose him.” 

One of the hosts corrected Trump’s misnomer, telling him that it is Roy Moore, not Ray, to which Trump replied …

“I don’t know Roy Moore at all. And I think it’s perhaps indicative when somebody doesn’t even know his name. You know, that’s not a good sign — for him.”

You have to at least chuckle a bit when Trump predicts the candidate will lose simply because he, Trump, cannot get his name right!  What an ego!

And then he took on Mitch McConnell, saying …

“As you know, Mitch is not, polling-wise, the most popular guy in this country. They like to label [Strange] because he happened to be there for a number of months in the Senate, so they like to label him as Mitch’s best friend but he’s not. He hardly even knows him. He’ll be fighting Mitch. I know he’s going to fight him on that ridiculous filibuster rule where you need 60 votes instead of 50 or 51. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. So that means we need eight Democrats, and the Republicans can end it. And Mitch wants to keep it, which is ridiculous by the way. But Mitch wants to keep it. How do you get votes? That means you get eight Democrats every time. It is absolutely insanity to keep it. The Republicans have a very slim margin.”

You can listen to the entire segment    if you’ve a mind to, but frankly I wouldn’t waste my time. As always, Trump is full of himself and says little of value.

My point in all this?  Simply this.  It is the way of a child to attempt to get his way by ranting, pouting and criticizing others.  The same behaviour is highly unbecoming, unprofessional and unacceptable in an adult, and most especially to a ‘man’ who holds in his hand the keys to the highest government office in a nation of more than 300 million people.  At a rally last July, Trump claimed, “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s held this office.” He has not once proven those words in eight months in office, and I do not believe he is capable of doing so.

dennis-menaceThis nation is in a great deal of turmoil, both internally and internationally.  Trump has almost single-handedly caused a great divide among the citizens of the U.S., tensions are high, and violence threatens to erupt in many venues.  He has also escalated tensions between the U.S. and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and it will require mega-doses of diplomacy to stabilize that situation.  We do not need this errant tyrant in the Oval Office, and we do not need boot-lickers and yes-men in Congress.  Anyone … anyone who thinks this situation is good for the country, should be required to take a crash course in both civics and the history of Germany in the 1930s.