Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

When A Lie Is Not A Lie: WaPo Still Seeks Contrary In Darkness

I think it’s important to point out, again and again, that the mainstream media’s contrarian and equivocating reporting has created a rhetorical failure in this country in which our leaders can brazenly lie with impunity.

The Washington Post journalist Amber Phillips is just one latest case in point. This week in a blog post she criticized former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for stating the obvious, which is that President Donald Trump is a liar who consistently lies. In Phillips’ view, however, the media and our leaders should be careful not to follow Sanders’ example of calling Trump out on his lies because, maybe, just maybe, Trump doesn’t even know he’s lying.

I know I risk reducing here the litany of problems of their own making faced by mainstream media outlets, but it’s hard not to see Phillips’ piece as the typical contrarian type of journalism that has brought us to this particular point of uncertainty and fear in our country’s history. Under the rhetorical formula of contemporary journalistic contrarianism, even wild lies that have been called out and proven as lies deserve some type of media redemption from great thinkers like Phillips.

It goes like this: Well, yes, Trump says untruthful things, but maybe it’s not intentional lying really and the political discourse is so extreme these days, anyway, so why increase the incivility? There you have it. The Contrarian Stance.

One has to wonder what major lie leading to some type of major authoritarian act under a Trump administration—martial law, massive illegal deportations and imprisonments, war—would make Phillips drop her equivocations and contrarianisms, or would she even drop them then? Why didn’t she spend some of her time this week writing a post demanding Trump release copies of his tax returns instead of picking on Bernie Sanders of all people?

Here’s a longer piece on the back-and-forth between Sanders and Phillips. Essentially, Sanders tweeted about Trump’s well-known lies because he’s creating awareness and is concerned about democracy. Phillips then wrote her post criticizing Sanders for his lack of civil political discourse, and then Sanders responded to Phillips with a real question without a whiff of hyperbole or personal attack because, well, that’s Trump’s style, not Sanders’ style.

So what do we do, Sanders simply asked, when the United States president is a consistent, verifiable liar? Nothing?

The entire episode shows that despite new commitments to discover and report the truth in the Trump era from such media outlets as The Washington Post and The New York Times journalists throughout the country continue to apply old rhetorical formulas to new phenomenon. This includes the he-said-she-said false comparisons between lies and real arguments and The Contrarian Stance.

What doesn’t emerge from this type of journalism are verifiable facts or a truthful center.

What is now emerging from the history and the continuation of this type of journalism are presidential authoritarianism, chaos and fear.

Sanders is right. Phillips is wrong. (No equivocation.) There’s no space for contrarianism or civil discourse on this matter. President Trump, as other prominent leaders and writers have pointed out, is a liar. The reasons for his lies are obviously calculated in a larger sense—Trump never fully corrects or even tries to correct his initial lies—in the gestures in which he manipulates his own rhetorical presence. These gestures might seem haphazard or random, or simply dismissed by Phillips or whoever as a matter of style, but at this point it’s clear that his lies are a strategy and a longtime intuitive component of his public presentation of self.

Trump has, in a few short weeks, de-centered the institution of the American presidency through his brash lies, which to name a few, include calculated fibs about the size of his election victory, the crowd attendance at his inauguration and illegal voting in this country.

How can we get ever get back to some basic center of honesty or space of verifiable facts when we now consider the integrity of that institution without some major capitulation from Trump or unless he’s driven from office through legal means. That seems unlikely on both fronts. Our president lies just like all authoritarians and despots throughout history have lied. Will it always be so now in this country?

The Republic is in danger of failing sooner than later. Journalists like Phillips, who is writing for a publication that can still make a difference, are allowing it to happen. Democracy does die in darkness as the new WaPo slogan states. It’s too bad some of their staff still won’t turn on the lights.

Reign Of Error: President Trump Makes It Up Then Goes On Tweet Tirade

We can hope the mainstream media journalists who praised President Donald Trump after his supposed redemption speech last week will now understand the country is clearly dealing with an unhinged, calculating liar as its leader.

As the bizarre tweets over the weekend indicate on a larger, cosmic level, any effort to find praise for the racist and misogynistic Trump at this point for anything is an exercise in crass deflection, a grave error and disservice to this country and democratic institutions throughout the world. Some decent reporters and analysts in the mainstream media, of course, didn’t fall for Trump’s intentional misdirection play when he addressed Congress last week in a more subdued manner, temporarily abandoning his normal ranting style so we can maybe hope there’s still some hope maybe.

But the praise for Trump, mainly from the major television networks, was as bizarre as Trump’s weekend tweets, and it just wasn’t Fox News.

Of course, Trump lied his way through the speech, which the now-trying-to-be honest media, such as The New York Times, reported diligently, but the president’s television enablers—the hairs as I call them—were so struck by his different tone they became convinced his speech was some type of miraculous change in style, tone and, get this, substance. Maybe they think this is all a reality television show that ends happily for someone. That all stopped in the next couple of days as his fellow liar and campaign surrogate, fellow racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions, got caught in his own web of deceit, and the Trump regime imploded once again into a carnival of the bizarre.

By the time the weekend arrived, Trump was tweeting wild accusations about how former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of his offices back in October, which is not even legally or, well, physically possible unless the former president did it himself with a ladder, pliers and top secret eavesdropping gizmos. Even FBI director James Comey eventually called Trump out on the craziness and absurdity of his outburst. In one ridiculous tweet, Trump referred to Obama’s fictional action as a Watergate-type scandal and then as McCarthyism when, in fact, the continuing exposure of the Trump’s regime Russian connections is the real Watergate in the living room.

As we now know, Sessions’ lying made him recused himself from any investigation examining Trump’s and his campaign’s connection to Russia, which meddled in our recent election on both presidential and Congressional levels by hacking into emails and supporting conservatives and authoritarians for office.This mainly included support for Trump as the Russians released mundane emails through Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks of national Democratic Party officials, innocuous emails that received breathless coverage from our dysfunctional corporate media. The infighting in the Democratic Party was so important, wasn’t it, just like the Benghazi investigation and Hillary Clinton’s server, right? Does anyone, except those directly involved, even remember all the specifics about any of those two events?

Let’s be clear that the Russians duped the nation’s media outlets as much as anyone else, and they continue to do so. All this leads us to the issue of relationship between the “deep state,” which represents our intelligence agencies and our basic democratic institutions, such as the three branches of government, which, of course, are vitally important at least on some symbolic level. But that’s another post for another time.

So I’m certainly ready to give The Times, The Washington Post and some other major media outlets, such as CNN, another chance at reporting the truth instead of the he-said-she-said reporting that marked the American journalistic era Before Trump. Now is the time for a relentless reporting of truth combined with complete and utter skepticism that Trump will ever start telling the truth, which he never will. Donald Trump will never start telling the truth on a consistent basis. Now is the time for daily front-page editorials demanding, among other things, that Trump release copies of his tax returns and information about his campaign’s connections with the Russian government during his run for president.

How many lies will it take? How many times will the media fall for Trump’s misdirection plays as he assumes, momentarily, a fictional calmer demeanor or a softer tone? How more obvious can it get? How many more people have to die by hate-crime murders before the media wakes up? The blood is on every journalist who works at a major news outlet and isn’t speaking up. They have the money and instruments to report the truth. Will they do it?

Some in the media continue to want to play by the old rules in which a politician stretches the truth for simple political gain or defense in a moment of controversy or parses the numbers in a distorted manner and then there’s some back and forth on a particular issue. This isn’t the case with Trump. He lies on a truly spectacular level, and his supporters and most of the leaders in his political party, the GOP, simply don’t care. So who cares about Trump’s demeanor at any given moment on one particular day? He’s a damn liar. To normalize him is to accept all explicit liars as president from now on. It only takes one, and then it happens again and again, and there goes democracy down the drain.

Trump’s consistent lying threatens the foundation of America’s democratic institutions and our diverse culture and what freedom and voice and agency we still have. If those are not worth fighting for, then there’s pretty much nothing left worth fighting for here. People have started to rise against Trump, true, but it will be difficult to get anything done if a complacent and powerful media is still searching for its mission in the past while a president who lies repeatedly is not held accountable.

Are the people alone on this sinking U.S.S. Democracy ship? Look carefully at the two Trump tweets I’ve used so far in this post. In the first tweet I posted, note how Trump uses the term “very sacred election process” and “Bad (or sick guy)!” Isn’t it obvious that these are the allegations against Trump himself, that he and/or his surrogates encouraged the Russians to help him get elected in the “sacred” election and that he’s the one who is coming off as mentally unbalanced “sick guy” or, at least, extremely unhinged? It’s obvious he’s trying to use the same criticisms against himself on Obama to conflate truth with a mirror lie in which he levels the same criticism he faces against what he perceives as hi opponents. Let’s be clear: Trump didn’t even run against Obama, who never exhibited one sign of mental illness during his presidency.

The second tweet I posted mentions “McCarthyism,” which is another misdirection. Joseph McCarthy, the U.S Senator and Wisconsin kook who started investigations of supposed American communists in the 1950s, was a Republican, just like Trump, as was Nixon, who had to resign because of the Watergate scandal. Two things to note here. The reference to McCarthy takes us again to a parsing of our country’s relationship to Russia, a former communist country which seems front and center in the president’s mind. Trump is expressing a liberal platitude—the communist witch hunt was wrong—as a misdirection in an extremely reductionist sense and, once again by inference, is showing in yet another way a deference to Russia through a history argument. (Look how awful those people accused of “plotting’ with Russian communists were treated.) Meanwhile, Trump is also condemning the extremism and blunders of McCarthy and Nixon, two Republicans who disgraced and still define their party. But, see, Republicans recognizing the collective memory hole of American don’t care about the brand as long as they get to dismantle programs for poor people in any given legislative session to serve the oligarchy. Meanwhile, Trump doesn’t need a political party or anyone for anything.

Obviously, one question is whether the tweets are simply stream-of-consciousness rants or calculated minutely after detailed, obsessive consideration. I speculate they are calculated on this level: Because of his power as an extremely wealthy person in our culture, which attracts nauseating, faux adoration, Trump has been allowed to just make things up as he goes along, which has been met with consistent, deferential treatment from sycophants. That even allowed him, with the help of the “liberal” media, to become president as reporters clung to his every crazy word and reported the Clinton’s non-controversies as Serious Journalism art work. Why wouldn’t Trump or any millionaire for that matter continue with what has been successful for them to gain and hold power? He continues his bizarre behavior because he knows nothing else, and, no, he will never know how to act differently or become “presidential,” whatever that means at this point in our country’s history.

As all this was unfolding in the tweetashpere, Trump managed to get this out to the American public because it’s so so important:

The media needs to start out-tweeting the president of the United States. It can do so. It has the power and the intellectual power. It has, to paraphrase the late poet Allen Ginsberg, the best minds of its generation. There’s no excuse, anymore. The Times has made a small first step. Now it needs to get real. Its own survival is at risk. The buffoon Trump is a maniac, not someone who can be laughed away, although humor and satire have their serious role in the resistance and protest movement.

I’ll try to end on a constructive note. Here are some of my humble suggestions for the mainstream media, offered up as a former newspaper journalist, a current professor and a longtime blogger.

  • Run regular front-page editorials and television news commentaries demanding Trump release his tax returns.
  • Dispense with such qualifiers such as “misleading” or “distortions.” Trump is a liar. Call his lies lies. Remind readers and viewers that Trump is a liar. Call him a liar in virtually every context in your reporting as in “Trump has repeatedly lied in the past . . .” I still see a reluctance among media outlets to use the terms “lies” or “liar.”
  • Join forces with alternative media outlets to frame Trump’s lies in a broader context. Don’t worry about accusations that the “‘lamestream’ media is liberal.” Who cares about that at this point?
  • Stop all the contrarian viewpoints about any given issue when it’s obvious Trump or one of his surrogates has lied. Don’t allow anyone, even so-called experts, to parse through some ridiculous qualification of his lies. Trump is a liar; the people around him lie. That’s a given at this point.
  • Embrace groups and organizations that know the lies of the Trump regime are threatening our country’s democracy. Report on their actions with respect and urgency. Don’t dismiss the collective voice emerging from identity political groups. Help to grow it by reaching out.
  • Hire staff members who know that the country is at a dangerous moment in our history and wants the U.S to endure as a democracy with fair elections and some semblance of representative government.
  • Give up on the idea—and this especially applies to the larger coastal news outlets—that people who still support Trump can somehow be swayed by truth. That’s never going to happen on any large scale. This is a time to retrench on the truth, to call people who believe in the truth and fundamental democracy to action. Truth is not relative when it comes to Trump. People who support him, from high-ranking GOP leaders to the white supremacists who adore him, are not only complicit in his lies they also want him to lie.
  • Refuse to accept any advertising, political or otherwise, that attempts to qualify the lies of the Trump regime or attempts to normalize him in any form.
  • Embrace partisan politics by fully reporting on how the Republican leadership wants to dismantle the remains of democracy in this country. Embrace liberalism and express it openly. Use the words “liberal” and “progressive” in your mastheads and your television logos. Channel Five—the progressive voice of City, Somewhere, USA.
  • Create journalistic investigation teams made up of brave individuals who will look into Trump’s regime, such as his repeated lies, his personal finances, his family’s business ties, his connections to Russia, his anti-immigration initiatives and his build-up of the country’s war machine. Realize the categories are all connected under our historical conceptual knowledge of fascism and dictatorship.
  • This is a partial list. I could go on. The point is there needs to be a paradigm shift in the media on a major level.

    But I only have so much hope the media will respond in real opposition despite some encouraging signs lately. In the end, people have to show up in the public square in large numbers to resist and protest. They will face bodily harm and arrest, as all people protesting authoritarian governments have faced throughout history. Their lives could be disrupted in major ways that could define them forever in both positive and negative ways, but the alternative is even more grim. To function in silence at this dangerous moment is complicity.

    No Complacency About Trump: Lies, Russian Connections Matter Even More

    The chaos generated on an almost daily basis by the presidential administration of Donald Trump is a deliberate strategy to diffuse a full and direct organized response to the growing authoritarianism of the regime.

    Trump attacks the fake news he helped to create with his outlandish birther claims, shifts focus for a moment to reductionist approaches on health care and budget matters, lies repeatedly about large issues (his historical Russian ties) and the mundane (his electoral college numbers), tweets once again his criticism of The New York Times, ignores obvious opportunities to fully condemn hateful acts of antisemitism and racism and reminds us, of course, for good measure about the flub at the Academy Awards ceremony. I could go on.

    Trump is Big Brother. He’s everywhere. He demands and craves attention like no president I have witnessed in modern history, even the fellow actor Ronald Reagan. While it’s exhausting and the temptation is to check out into passivity, especially when the opposition party has been complicit in embracing the neoliberal agenda that helped create a political climate in which a liar like Trump could even get elected president in the first place and in which neofascism could get a firm foothold, this is definitely still a time—however brief it might be—for resistance and protest.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s administration leaks its slime like a large sieve, with the compelling and not so compelling, which adds even more evidence to the growing nightmare of dealing with what some of the most intelligent people the world once warned us might well be the death of democracy in this country.

    Then, in yet another twist to the chaotic narrative, and, yes, there is even more, we learn of Trump’s family business ties in foreign countries, with all the ensuing conflicts of interest and the constitutional violations because the president, as all evidence suggests, undoubtedly wants to make money out of all the madness he has created.

    Still another twist came just last night when Trump’s supposed unity speech to Congress initially made a passing mention of Black History Month while also condemning recent hate acts against the country’s Jewish community and the recent murder of an India citizen in Kansas. So far so good, right? But this, of course, was soon supplanted by Trump’s typical xenophobic and nationalistic references to “the wall” and deporting immigrants, an appeal to the alt-right and those white supremacists among its ranks. His overall generalized proposals last night that feigned populism in terms of health care and jobs and infrastructure are simply not supported by his cabinet appointments or his initial executive orders that privilege Wall Street bankers over ordinary Americans or his specific tax ideas. The best one say about the speech is that it consisted mostly of hollow political rhetoric unsupported by his previous actions rather than the usual fare of easily discernible and outrageous lies. Unfortunately, some in the mainstream media seem to have bought into idea of a “new Trump,” at least for now.

    As the poet W.H. Auden wrote in the poem “September 1,1939” after Hitler invaded Poland, “All I have is a voice/To undo the folded lie,/The romantic lie in the brain/Of the sensual man-in-the-street.”

    Let’s parse that a bit, replacing the “I” with “we.” To me, “folded lie” fully describes Trump and the regime’s methods of repeating blatant lies sometimes walked back with half-lies or other qualifications. The lies get repeated in varying geometric progression and patterns, in some ways seemingly random, in other ways obviously deliberate. The “sensual-man-in-the-street” is, to me, someone who for whatever reason—and it’s no longer productive to search for that reason these days as if anything can be done about it—has given their lives over to the visceral instead of the rational while embracing a dark, isolationist vision for mankind in which official lies no longer matter and the authoritarian state creeps over our daily lives like an oppressive fog.

    Literary interpretations aside, “we” do have a voice and personal agency to undo lies, and that’s mostly what only we have right now, and that’s what we need to deploy no matter how draining it becomes on a day-to-day basis. Remaining on the sidelines without taking a public position these days, no matter how that may manifest itself, is complicity.

    Where we stand now a few weeks into it is that we know a mentally unstable and calculating person who repeatedly and openly lies and demeans decent people is president of the United States. There is so much verifiable evidence about his lies, in particular, that only calculating liars or extremely ill-informed people will deny it. Republicans in Congress, for example, fully know Trump lies and they are complicit in the lying as is the conservative press.

    It bears repeating that the protest against Trump and his surrogates should be framed under the realization and outing of this basic foundation of deceit. Progressives concerned about individual issues, what gets called identity politics in the prevailing parlance, can surely rally around exposing this larger deceit because it crushes us all and all our movements and individual compassions.

    The other big story for now is the incredibly obvious ties Trump and his surrogates have with the Russian government. We can intellectualize the tension between the deep state (our intelligence agencies) and Trump’s administration at this juncture, and waste time speculating on false equivalencies between contemporary Russia and the U.S., which even Trump has done and probably wants us to do, but that would be an error.

    That the Russian government meddled in our recent election to help get Trump elected has been accepted by our government leadership. We know Trump has had previous ties with Russia business leaders. We know his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign, spoke to the Russian ambassador after then President Barack Obama announced sanctions against the country for interfering in our democratic election process. We know a former British intelligence agent has released a dossier about Trump’s ties to Russia, which includes salacious information, not yet confirmed elsewhere, that might compromise the president if used as a form of blackmail. Some of his non-salacious information has been confirmed, according to media reports.

    These facts demand an independent investigator, perhaps even a grand jury inquiry, into how much contact the Trump campaign had with Russia leaders or operatives during the election and what business dealings the president’s businesses have had and now have directly or indirectly with Russia. Watch the below longer segment from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that deals with the Russian issue and how new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s Russian connections only add to a need for a real, non-partisan investigation:

    Finally, I appreciate the new-found commitment to the truth by The New York Times, and I support its efforts to finally tell it like it is rather than continuing to engage in the he-said-she-said type of reporting that turned the non-sensational into the sensational, such as Hillary Clinton’s email server or the Benghazi investigation or some non-important Russian-hacked emails related to the Democratic Party. But they still need to open up their pages and staff pool to people who had it right in the first place and were criticizing them for sensationalizing Republican and Russian lies and dogma that got us to this precarious position in our history. Trump is what we got for the newspaper’s old journalistic rhetorical formulas and insular newsroom.

    This applies to some other larger mainstream media outlets, too, such as The Washington Post, which are finding a new voice in calling lies out for what they are these days. Lies are lies, not one side of a legitimate argument.

    Yet, tragically, many of the nation’s media outlets, especially the major networks, continue to normalize Trump as we saw last night in their analyses after his speech. One speech can’t even begin to normalize a Donald Trump presidency. If it only takes one “normal” speech to swing the American press back into complacency, then we know it is too late.

    NY Times Ross Douthat Honors White Male European Traditions

    I’ve been supportive of the new commitment to “truth” by The New York Times even after it helped Hillary Clinton lose the presidential election because of its breathless and untruthful reporting of her personal web server, but now that it let columnist Ross Douthat blame liberals for the rise of the pathological liar President Donald Trump I’m not so sure.

    Columnists, such as Paul Krugman and Charles Blow, are writing outstanding and truthful commentary in The Times. The newspaper is calling out Trump’s lies in headlines. But why even run Krugman’s and Blow’s columns if it’s all going to be undercut with the inane, borderline fascist drivel of Douthat? Why not be consistent in the resistance to Trump? Douthat is obviously part of the conservative deployment to normalize Trump, and these are not normal times.

    It’s the same old and now unethical journalist equivocation of “here is this argument and here is this other argument” but one side—the Trump side—is neofascism or just plain fascism or a growing authoritarian government, which Douthat blames liberals for because, well, we don’t have the right narrative or story. It’s our fault. That’s a complete lie, and Douthat knows it, or maybe he thinks he’s a great writer and thinker and everyone in huge numbers reads what he writes and he’s so wonderful, brilliant. He’s so great, huge, the very best.

    So here’s one narrative, Ross: The mainstream media, like The New York Times, didn’t report the truth for years and years about the rise of fascism in this country because they couldn’t comprehend it, and it was also complicit with it through its corporate model. The Corporation seeks profits. That’s why it exists. Exaggerated headlines and stories about Hillary Clinton’s personal server make money just like Douthat’s blatant lies about the lack of a liberal story that would have supposedly save the day for democracy.

    Here’s the column, which, I do concede, is written in language at a decent enough intellectual level that I’m sure Trump couldn’t even get through it. That’s not sarcasm.

    My main argument against the post is that Douthat omits all the ominous warnings about what’s happening under the Trump presidency just so far in the last two weeks, ranging from all the president’s and his surrogates’ pathological, compulsive lying to decisions that will destroy the economic foundation of the middle class to signs that new wars, perhaps a major world war, are on the horizon.

    I’m sure Douthat himself and his editors consider him a brilliant intellectual, but I view him as immoral and a Trump enabler. If The Times is going to publish this pseudo-intellectual crap in its newspaper as the country descends into chaos, well, then that’s what we’re going to get. A pathological liar is leading our country right now. Ross Douthat knows this, and he has the power of The New York Times behind him, but he won’t say it openly. Maybe he’s a pathological liar, too. Maybe he has some connection to the Trump regime . . . and Russia. Alternative facts, alternative reality, right? Just say it, and it’s true. Right, Ross?

    Imagine. It’s Feb. 4, 2017, and you get to publish one of your running columns in the august The New York Times and Donald Trump is president and you’re criticizing good, decent people trying to make the world a better place by opposing him because we don’t have the exact, particular right story to sell to the people who got the pathological liar elected and now don’t seem to care that their emperor lies.

    So, by all means, read the column for yourself. Then come back here and read what I have to say about three segments of Douthat’s piece.

    If close to half of America voted for Republicans in the Obama years and support Trump today, then clearly something besides the pieties of cosmopolitan liberalism is very much a part of who we are.

    The first thing that stands out here is the phrase “cosmopolitan liberalism” as in liberals are elite or whatever, the same right-wing trope, which is a lie. It’s the Republicans who support the wealthy and the elite, not true activist liberals, who vote and work for equality for ALL people. Maybe it’s more about people without education who can be easily swayed by visceral arguments and manipulated by rich people. My second point is that Republicans have systemically worked to suppressed the votes of minorities and the other marginalized people for decades now. “Half of America” doesn’t include people who are qualified to vote but can’t because the system is such a hassle or they’re disinterested because the mainstream media publishes columnists like the immoral Douthat or any other Fox News-like trolls.

    Our founders built their a new order atop specifically European intellectual traditions. Our immigrants joined a settler culture, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, that demanded assimilation to its norms. Our crisis of the house divided was a Christian civil war.

    This is white supremacy disguised in intellectual blather. “New order.” This is where Douthat proves himself to be a right-wing freak, possibly a white supremacist. Our country was not founded on the phrase “European intellectual traditions.” It was founded on racism and hate. It was founded on killing native people and stealing their land. It was founded on the institution of slavery. It was founded on the backs of people who suffered and died miserable deaths in anonymity. Ross, all the people who were tortured and killed for supposed European traditions, do you care? Does that not mean anything to you? A “Christian civil war?” Nonsense. You don’t have to be a Christian to know slavery was evil.

    Hey, Ross, how many American Indians and slaves had to die to help build a country in which you can now wax philosophical in a major publication about your support for an American president who is a pathological liar and is in the process of creating some form of a fascist state to renew the same hate that led to so many horrific killings?

    But so far we haven’t found a way to correct the story while honoring its full sweep — including all the white-male-Protestant-European protagonists to whom, for all their sins, we owe so much of our inheritance.

    ”We owe so much.” Douthat is essentially saying we need to honor the whites even though they were racist pigs. So he’s saying we should correct the story to “honor” how “white-male-Protestant-European protagonists” whipped slaves and hanged them for trying to escape their miserable lives. How do you “correct” that story? Douthat words might seem intellectual, but he’s essentially endorsing the killing indigenous people and slaves from Africa, and that isn’t an intellectual position.

    I get that Douthat is trying to find some way to be one of the two or so conservative columnists for The Times these days so he’s being told or thinks he’s being told to endorse racism and fascism at some level to earn his pay, but his writing reflects he doesn’t have a soul or an ounce of empathy. He’s just as much as a liar as Trump surrogate and fascist, white supremacist Steve Bannon.

    The fact The Times is publishing an apologizer for the pathological liar Donald Trump as it promotes its new commitment to the truth to draw new subscriptions to make money to help pay the salary of the apologizer/fascist/white supremacist Douthat is definitely not a good sign. It means it’s business as usual. Maybe it was simply a short-term ruse by a company to milk some liberals out of money.

    Douthat should go to work for Trump or Fox News where he belongs. He can distort and equivocate to support the “the white-male-Protestant-European protagonists” in those venues.

    Senate Democrats Should Do Everything In Their Power To Try To Block Gorsuch Appointment

    There are new political rules created by Republicans over how U.S. Supreme Court nominees get their seats, and those rules dictate that every single Democrat in the Senate vote against the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, a right-wing extremist in what the media is calling the mold of the late Antonin Scalia.

    Now is not a time for Democratic appeasement. If another deeply conservative judge joins the Supreme Court, then much falls into jeopardy, from Roe v. Wade to same-sex marriage to racial equality. Every act taken by Trump and his surrogates will be sanctioned by the nation’s highest court.

    In essence, if Gorsuch makes it onto the court, Trump will conceivably own all three branches of government, and, believe me, I use the word “own” quite intentionally.

    This is absolute: If any Democratic U.S. Senator so much as even considers voting for this radical judge nominated by an unhinged, authoritarian and lying president, then they need to face protests and then a vote out of office when the time comes if we still have a real vote at that time.

    The nominee needs 60 votes to get his position. There are 52 Republican, 46 Democratic and two independent Senators. Obviously, the Republicans can change the 60-vote rule because of their majority, but that doesn’t mean Democrats shouldn’t stand up for the sake of their country.

    Republicans stalled the appointment of Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland for ten months, as you recall, and Democrats should do whatever they can to play the same game. Garland didn’t even get a hearing or a vote. The Republican argument was that we should all wait until a new president was elected until the Garland nomination could proceed or not.

    Given the fact that Trump lost the popular vote in the recent election by nearly 3 million votes, his autocratic behavior, the allegations the Russians interfered in our election process and the FBI’s role in releasing information about Hillary Clinton that hurt her politically in the waning days of her campaign, I suggest Democrats argue we should all just wait at least until the mid-term elections in 2018 to decide on the next Supreme Court Justice.

    We live under an archaic political system in which a state such as Wyoming, with its 580,000 population, gets the same representation of two U.S. Senators as does the state of California, with its population of 38 million. This, along with the electoral college, is part of an illegitimate and, frankly, crazy system that has led to the rise of Trump, the alt-right and what is beginning to seem like a neofacist state.

    Democratic U.S. Senators need to show the party faithful that they and we can stand together in these entirely not normal times. This isn’t getting back at the Republicans for their obstructionism. This is about saving Democracy.

    Will Inhofe, GOP Deny Medical Access To Millions?

    Let’s be clear that everyone deserves health care, even those people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump and for Republicans in the House and Senate.

    We’re all in this together, whether we’re insured through our employer, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Medicare. All three have a symbiotic relationship with one another. Any adjustment to one of the three affects the other two. So when the Senate passed a bill recently that could lead to the repeal of ACA it created a lot of uncertainty about everyone’s health care in this country, except, of course, for the very rich.

    Here’s what Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a right-wing extremist from a right-wing state, had to say about the vote:

    Last night’s vote paves a path for the Republican-led Senate to follow through on the promise we made to the American people; we are now set and ready to repeal Obamacare. For the last seven years Americans all across the country have been feeling the devastating effects of this law. And Oklahoma has been among the worst hit. Individuals have lost their health plans and many families have seen their hard-earned dollars come up short when it comes to affording their skyrocketing healthcare premiums and deductibles. Repealing Obamacare will give us the opportunity to make things right again and will allow us to work with the incoming administration to ensure our healthcare system actually works for this country.

    Of course, none of Inhofe’s indictments of the ACA are true, and he doesn’t even mention all the millions of people who now have insurance and are happy about it.

    Inhofe, who has actually been elected office by winning the vote through the years unlike Trump, wouldn’t even dare to mention how the Congressional Budget Office has stated that if the ACA does get repealed with no replacement 18 million people will immediately lose their health insurance and then the number would grow incrementally through the years.

    Inhofe hasn’t offered up a real plan to replace so-called Obamacare either nor has any leading Republican done so lately. The issues remain the same as when the ACA was first established, and the only sensible and best financial answer is to go to some type of single-payer system, as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders suggests, but that seems impossible with Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

    Trump has vaguely said that under some plan that some people are supposedly forming “everybody” will have health insurance. Who knows what’s going to happen? Trump unpredictability is the only predictable thing about him.

    Here’s a certainty: It does no good to spend one second thinking that people who voted for Trump deserve to lose their health insurance. First, many people didn’t think and still don’t think it will happen. Maybe it won’t, but that seems unlikely. Second, if the ACA is repealed with no replacement, then that means everyone’s insurance rate will go up because sick people will flood emergency rooms again for treatment and care as a last resort so, well, so they don’t die, and the people with insurance will have to pay for it through increased premiums.

    The Senate also voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which serves at-risk women for a variety of health reasons, a development in which The Oklahoman editorial board took great delight.

    Meanwhile, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a shill for the oil and gas industry, gets vetted to head the Environmental Protection Agency this week, and Oklahoma’s Toby Keith is one of the few well-known musicians who will performed at Trump’s inauguration.

    Great times, at least for now, for some Oklahomans, but then it’s going to get real.