Dec 022018
 


Frans Masereel Montmartre 1925

 

 

The way ‘news’ is reported through known outlets changes so fast hardly a soul notices that news as we once knew it no longer exists. This is due to a large extent to the advent of the internet in general, and social media in particular. On the one hand this has led to an absolute overkill in ‘news’, forcing people to pick between sources once they find they can’t read or view it all, on the other hand it has allowed news outlets to flood the former news waves with so much of the same that nobody can compare one source with the other anymore.

Once you achieve that situation, you’re more or less free to make the news, rather than just report on it. The rise of Donald Trump has made the existing mass media realize that one-sided negative reporting on the man sells better than anything objective can. The MSM have sort of won the battle versus the interwebs, albeit only in that regard, and only for this moment, but that is enough for them for now; just like their readers, they don’t have the scope or the energy to look any further or deeper.

This is in a nutshell, and we really should take a much more profound look but that’s another chapter, what has changed the news, and what will keep on changing it until the truth sets us all free. This is what drives outlets like CNN, the New York Times and the Guardian today, because it provides them with readers and viewers. Which they would not have if they didn’t conduct a 24/7 war on a set list of topics they know their audience can’t get enough of.

For these outlets, there are are three targets: Assange, Putin and Trump. And it’s especially the alleged links between the three that gets media -and politicians- excited, because if such links exist, the case against the individual targets is greatly reinforced. Trump can be portrayed in a much more damaging light if he’s painted off as Putin’s stooge, Putin becomes an enemy of America, Britain and the EU is he’s deciding elections in these countries (and poisoning people), and Assange can really only be set in a negative light if he aids and abets both of them.

The problem would be evidence. Or it would seem to be, at least. But the news has changed. We are well into the second year of ‘reporting’ on how Trump and Putin have conspired against Hillary, and there is still no proof other than intelligence services swearing on their mothers’ graves that really, Assange, Putin and Trump have targeted our democracies in order to take over control of them by illegal means.

They are the enemy, and you, who are of course on the other side, are their victims. But your trusted media will save you from a grueling fate. Now, if the passing of George HW Bush makes anything clear, it’s how united politicians and media are in praise of him, and against everyone else. The Observer, Guardian’s Sunday sister, puts it ever so eloquently today:

“Whether it’s his shabby efforts to defend Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, his professed “love” for North Korea’s ruthless dictator, Kim Jong-un, or his unashamed kowtowing to Putin, Trump undermines his office.

What a sorry contrast he presents with the dignified former president, George HW Bush, who died this weekend. Bush Sr wasn’t perfect, but he understood what making America great really means.”

It shouldn’t be necessary for anyone to point out that HW was basically a war criminal in thinly veiled disguise, who ordered the bombing of a caravan of civilians in Iraq 27 years ago, as the US had invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein had taken Kuwait egged on by that same US. If you can call that dignified, you have issues.

By the same token, it shouldn’t be necessary for anyone to point out that the umpteenth Guardian hit piece on Julian Assange was just that, and invented from A to Z as well. If, when seeing the headline, you didn’t see that in the first fraction of a second, you haven’t been paying attention; you’re well into the news matrix. By now, everyone should recognize these things for what they are. But it only appears to get harder. It’s what outlets like to report, and readers like to read. It paints the world into a nice neat scheme, in which the bad guys are easy to spot, and you find yourself in a safe and cozy corner.

The problem, though, is that the entire thing is fantasy. The headline Manafort Held Secret Talks With Assange In Ecuadorian Embassy, Sources Say does not contain one iota of truth. But what does it matter? Assange has been cut off from the world, he can’t defend himself. Manafort is about to be thrown in jail for lying. The Russians can’t be trusted on anything, whatever they say must be a lie. And Trump gets so much of this stuff, he wouldn’t know where to begin anymore if he’d want to sue for libel.

One interesting detail about that ‘article’, after we’ve already established that they made it up, we know there’s not a single sign of Manafort having been in London around the time he allegedly met with Assange, is the connection between the Guardian and Ecuador. The paper has stationed people in Quito, the country’s capital. And sources within the Ecuadorian government appear to be feeding them material. Such as the claim that Manafort visited Assange. He wasn’t there. We know that from his passports and surveillance cameras.

The Guardian has a vendetta with Julian Assange, and Ecuador’s new president uses the paper to smear Assange’s name, painting him as an unwashed slob and a cat hater. This is your news, Britain and other anglo readers, this is what it’s come to. Already. And we’re just in the first inning of the game of making up the news as we go along.

The byline of that Manafort/Assange fantasy piece says “Luke Harding and Dan Collyns in Quito”. Now, on May 16 2018 I published an article entitled I Am Julian Assange, in which I referred to no less than three Guardian articles all published the day before, and all with the same topic.

The first one, Revealed: Ecuador Spent Millions On Spy Operation For Julian Assange, lists Dan Collyns, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Luke Harding, Fernando Villavicencio and Cristina Solórzano as authors. The second one, How Julian Assange Became An Unwelcome Guest In Ecuador’s Embassy, lists Luke Harding, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Dan Collyns.Number three is Why Does Ecuador Want Assange Out Of Its London Embassy?, written by poor lonely Dan Collyns in Quito all by himself.

It seems obvious that ‘Ecuador’ didn’t get sick of Assange. What happened was Ecuador changed presidents. Rafael Correa’s longtime friend and right hand man Lenin Moreno ran for president as his logical successor, only to turn against his former mentor as soon as he was elected. And not long after that, the Guardian has sources in Quito which it could use to smear Assange even further.

 

This way of ‘making’ the news is not limited to the Guardian, and it’s not limited to its coverage of WikiLeaks. We must ask ourselves every step of the way if we can still call this sort of thing ‘news’, ‘coverage’ and ‘reporting’. Let’s hope both WikiLeaks and Paul Manafort sue the paper, but apparently they’ll need a lot of money to do it. An additional layer of protection for fake news.

The Guardian is not just after Assange, and it’s not just Luke Harding writing hit pieces. Here are the paper’s editors on November 30. The fallout of the Manafort/Assange piece has made them sort of careful in that they say: “what we say is probably not true, but imagine if it were! Wouldn’t that be terrible?!”

America’s Compromised Leader (Guardian Op-Ed)

Earlier this week Donald Trump stood on the south lawn of the White House and ridiculed Theresa May’s Brexit agreement as a “great deal for the EU”. He is likely to make the same contemptuous case during the G20 summit in Argentina this weekend, although pointedly there is no planned bilateral. Given the political stakes facing her back home, Mrs May must feel as if 14,000 miles is a long way to travel for the weekend merely to be trashed by supposedly her greatest ally. When this happens, though, who does Mrs May imagine is confronting her? Is it just Mr Trump himself, America First president, sworn enemy of the international order in general and the European Union in particular?

That’s a bad enough reality. But might her accuser also be, at some level, Vladimir Putin, a leader whose interest in weakening the EU and breaking Britain from it as damagingly as possible outdoes even that of Mr Trump?

That prospect is even worse. Such speculation would normally seem, and still probably is, a step too far. The idea that a US president is in any way doing the Kremlin’s business as well as his own is the stuff of spy thrillers and of John le Carré TV adaptations. Yet the icy fact is that the conspiracy theory may now also contain an element of truth.

[..] Days before he took office in 2017, Mr Trump said that “the closest I came to Russia” was in selling a Florida property to a Russian oligarch in 2008. If Mr Cohen’s statement is true, Mr Trump was telling his country a lie. What is more, the Russians knew it. Potentially, that raises issues of US national security. If Mr Putin knew that Mr Trump was concealing information about his Russian business interests, this could give Moscow leverage over the US leader. Mr Trump might feel constrained to praise Mr Putin or to avoid conflicts with Russia over policy. All this may indeed be very far-fetched. Yet Russia’s activities in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton and in favour of Mr Trump are not fiction.

They prompted the setting up of the Mueller inquiry into links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Another document this week suggests a longtime Trump adviser, Roger Stone, may have sought information about WikiLeaks plans to release hacked Democratic party emails in 2016. There is nothing in the documents released this week that proves that Mr Trump conspired with Russian efforts to win him the presidency.

Yet those efforts were real. For two years, Mr Trump has gone to unprecedented lengths to attack the special counsel. After November’s midterms, he seemed on the verge of firing Mr Mueller. He may yet do so. But this week’s charges suggest that there is plenty more still to be revealed. Mr Trump still has questions to answer from the investigating authorities, from the new Congress – and from America’s long-suffering allies.

You see what they do, and how they do it? Big statement, and then say it’s probably not true. Post Manafort/Assange disaster piece, their lawyers have provided a way to legally make outrageous claims. It’s still smear, and it’s still slander, but they’ve already covered their asses by saying it’s probably a step too far. Still managed to say it though… And hey, what’s not to like about the phrase “..America’s long-suffering allies”?

Also on November 30, the Guardian ran the following piece. Note the headline. And realize there never was a deal. Which the article acknowledges of course. Just not in the headline.

Trump Calls Russia Deal ‘Legal And Cool’ As Mueller Inquiry Gathers Pace

Donald Trump, drawn deeper into an investigation into Russian meddling in US elections, has defended his pursuit of a business deal in Moscow at the same time he was running for president as “very legal & very cool”. Trump appeared rattled this week after Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, confessed that he lied to Congress about a Russian property contract he pursued on his boss’s behalf during the Republican primary campaign in 2016. The surprise admission cast the president himself as a pivotal figure in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion for the first time. In a series of tweets from Buenos Aires, where he is attending the G20 summit, Trump recalled “happily living my life” as a property developer before running for president after seeing the “Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly)”.

Smear Slander Rinse and Repeat. All you need to do is add “it’s probably not true” here and there, and you’re good to go. People claim that the coming age of AI and algorithms is a threat to news dissemination, but at this pace there won’t be much left to threaten.

I think I’ll close with that Observer quote I posted above. It’s just perfect.

Donald Trump’s Growing List Of Failures (Observer Op-Ed)

“Whether it’s his shabby efforts to defend Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, his professed “love” for North Korea’s ruthless dictator, Kim Jong-un, or his unashamed kowtowing to Putin, Trump undermines his office. What a sorry contrast he presents with the dignified former president, George HW Bush, who died this weekend. Bush Sr wasn’t perfect, but he understood what making America great really means.”

Okay, can’t help myself. MbS: not shabby efforts, but a refusal to risk being singled out and be blamed for $400 oil prices by the same Senators who tolerated Saudi behavior for decades. Kim Jong-un: Trump is closer to peace in Korea than anyone in decades. The claim Trump is ‘kowtowing’ to Putin only makes sense if you believe the unproven allegations of collusion. Robert Mueller hasn’t provided any evidence of it in 18 months, but a bunch of guys in a London office know better? As far as the dignity of Bush 41 is concerned, I see no reason to add one single syllable.

I will never get tired of defending Julian Assange. I do get tired of defending Trump, but the media leaves me no choice. There’s a dire need for at least a little balance in what passes for the news, and that balance seems to get further out of reach every passing day. News outlets have resorted to propaganda campaigns against individuals, organizations and even entire nations because it helps them sell copies, ads and airtime.

And frankly, we must prepare for smear and allegations thought up out of thin air just to make a profit, to be used to lock away people for life regardless of what a nation’s laws say, for presidents to be impeached because it suits the owners of papers or TV stations (despite Trump being their meal ticket), and we must for the inevitable endgame, fake news as the reason to start a -nuclear- war.

 

 

Home Forums Smear Slander Rinse and Repeat

This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Dr. D 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #44163

    Frans Masereel Montmartre 1925     The way ‘news’ is reported through known outlets changes so fast hardly a soul notices that news as we on
    [See the full post at: Smear Slander Rinse and Repeat]

    #44164

    VietnamVet
    Participant

    Times are changing. Newspapers can’t make money by themselves. They serve their owners other interests; like staying on top of the hierarchy. You can’t believe the Internet. What seems reasonable?
    There are conspiracies. “Behind every great fortune there is a great crime”.

    Born and raised in the West, in my 75 years, never before, have I heard of housing developments totally burned to the ground like the last two years in California. Something changed. The Washington Post published expert opinion that it was poor zoning and not cleaning out the brush, removing wood, screening vents and the lack of fire proof roofing and sprinklers. Yet, the Post fails to mention that if your neighbors don’t do the same this is pointless especially as the environment becomes hotter and drier. The internet reports that the fires are caused by government space laser weapons. Instead, I think the actual cause is the failure of government and ruling neoliberal ideology. Today, it is everyone for themselves. Community is extinct. Every dollar horded by oligarchs is lost to society. We are unprotected.

    #44165

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Wonderful piece Ilargi.
    Excellent course in dissecting the bullshit and outright lies, that now passes for news.
    I no longer (for decades) have any allegiance to any western media source; just to trusted authors. And even then, always with a critical eye and ear.
    Intellectually, spiritually, and to some extent physically, IMO, we’re in critically dangerous times.
    Looking back 73 years brings to the fore a horrible but fascinating present.
    Don’t let the bastards get you…

    #44166

    teri
    Participant

    Moon Jae-In is the one responsible for bringing the Korean peninsula closer to peace than its been in decades. In fact, it’s been his desire and goal since he became an adult. He has been the one doing all the heavy lifting with North Korea, the one who has arranged all the meetings and brought about the only measurable achievements so far. Give credit where it’s due. And this one has all been due to the efforts of Moon Jae-In. Trump’s people go in and offend everyone – and do it every damn time they set foot there.

    I see a number of “liberal-leaning” writers now refusing to criticize Trump for the reasons you give: that the MSM goes too far in that direction and that, after all, he is “only doing what Obama did”. (This website, Kunstler, Peter Van Buren come to mind immediately.) However, none of you excused Obama and declined to call him out, although he was “only” building on what Bush did. You held Obama accountable for his actions. I find it bizarre that you won’t hold Trump responsible for his, even though he and his administration are going so far beyond Obama that we may not ever recover. I am thinking specifically of the damage to the environment, the number of far-rightwing judges placed in the courts, the on-going attempts to defund our education system, the huge expansion of wealth inequality brought on by the tax cut shit, the ending of the Iran nuclear agreement and subsequent reimposition of sanctions (which are harsher than any the US has ever placed on Iran), the increased use of drone-bombing on even more countries, the weaponization of space and ending the nuclear treaties, workplace deregulation, more taxpayer money going to the Pentagon than ever before… I could go on.

    If you don’t hold Trump accountable, things will continue to deteriorate, and it’s a real short step for the next guy to take us right back to the middle ages’ feudal system, in a country that has been turned into a toxic waste dump and where there is no funding at all allocated to the social commons.

    There is no reason to jump on the b.s. Russia thing or to give credence to all the dumb blather about the silly Mueller investigation, but seriously, why let Trump get away with the really bad stuff he actually is doing? This country is going to be in a very bad situation after two more years of the Trump/Republican dismantling. Are you going to just watch it happen and refuse to remark on it all because you have chosen to take the stance that criticizing Trump is “just jumping on the bandwagon”? The MSM is criticizing him for the WRONG reasons. You ought to go after him for the RIGHT reasons, not just let him get away with all this shit without comment.

    Frankly, I don’t get it. Trump is too stupid, venal and cruel to be the one president who gets a pass from writers who seemed to have cared about environmental and societal issues before he came into office.

    #44167

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    teri

    You ought to go after him for the RIGHT reasons, not just let him get away with all this shit without comment.

    And just what do you suggest? I do not recall Ilargi giving Trump a pass on anything. He just doesn’t jump on the bandwagon as all the rest are so inclined to do.
    I despise Trump; but very rarely even comment on him; what would be the point?
    For myself, I see no future for the U.S., and no longer contribute anything to support it.
    Voting is a very cruel joke as is the hackneyed term democracy.
    Most Usians do not understand their true position in the world, much less in their own country.
    The education system you decry, is one of the leading reasons for the mass ignorance of the population.
    I wish you no ill, but suggest you give a serious rethink of your position.
    Regards…

    #44177

    teri,

    The problem people like Kunstler and I have, as I’ve explained often, is that the NYT, CNN, Guardian et al have monopolized criticism of Trump. And they’ve done it largely with nonsensical allegations. Russiagate. The Guardian tries to outdo them all. On Twitter people think they can call Trump any derogative term they like.

    If I would go after him for the RIGHT reasons, whatever they would be, I’d be in their camp. Our news needs to find a balance, and I can help that along by criticizing those who smear Trump, not by inevitably being put in the same corner they operate from. One can’t hold Trump accountable without being linked to that corner. It’s a 2D world.

    It’s certainly not something I asked for.

    #44180

    kultsommer
    Participant

    Trump is embodiment of everything that US is today, thus making him a “perfect” president if you will.
    Most decent person in entire nation, if by some miracle elected, would be brought down in no time not only by the “big players” but majority of populace which still believes that “American life style is not negotiable”.

    #44183

    Dr. D
    Participant

    Teri– Our paradigms are so different I have a hard time composing a response, but let’s follow my namesake and play Devil’s Advocate:

    IS Moon-Jae-in the primary cause of the Korean peace? Why did this much-wanted peace only happen now, 50 years after the ceasefire? Why was it getting worse for many years, and only now, very suddenly improves? If Trump is sabotaging it, as you suggest, whyso? If the U.S., the major partner, protector, and some say de-facto controller of Korea and Japan is trying to stop the peace, is Trump just really bad at stopping it? Is Moon in charge of the removal of mines, the detonation of the development facility, or the cessation of the U.S. military drills? Osaka has been determined to expel U.S. forces from Osaka for decades, to be met with active increases instead. Yet Moon is able to control U.S. military policy and maneuvers on the DMZ, while Trump is both active AGAINST peace AND impotent. If he’s impotent in Korea, why? If he’s that impotent in general, why worry? Clearly he has no power.

    Perhaps Trump is riding the coat tails of this peace, and is an indifferent, accidental actor. Yet peace has also come to most of Syria after 8 years of pitched battle. The U.S. has left much of Pakistan and made noises of a de-facto surrender in Afghanistan. Is this also an accident? If we leave and it’s by effective surrender, is Trump a good guy for leaving, or a bad guy for losing? What would you do instead in his shoes, having inherited at least 6 wars? If he is so impotent Korea ignores him, would his generals even listen if you told them to leave?

    HAS Trump damaged the environment? How? Has he done this more than his predecessors, the owners of the Flint scandal, the Keystone Pipeline, the ANWAR drilling plan, the Fracking debacle, 2 record-breaking EPA spills, then Bush in the Deepwater Horizon and Corexit spill and cover-up, the 911 contamination and depleted uranium suppression and so on; before that, Clinton opening drilling in the Gulf, the tar sands promotion and pipeline, cover-up for Gulf War Disease, etc. How is Trump any different from these people? If we include only Democratic Presidents as contrast, the record is little changed, and in fact would probably be against Democrats in general as Nixon signed the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts.

    HAS Trump stacked the courts with rightwing judges? I cannot find narrow statistics, but I believe it has been well-established he has been stonewalled from placing not just judges, but any appointments at all. He only recently got a few judges through, TWO YEARS into his Presidency. Whether those are good judges or not, it’s been 220 years of precedent that the President has the right to alter the administration of his predecessor: that’s why we have elections. If Trump could change nothing or do nothing his voters wanted, it would not be a democracy but a tyranny of the bureaucracy, and in fact we see this pretty strongly. This is what is reported as the “Deep State”, which is very vocal in opposition with Brennan, Comey, Clinton, Acosta, Bezos, etc. The papers and indeed top-level positions in the Justice Department and elsewhere are breathless in saying they won’t take orders from the President, they won’t declassify, they won’t enforce. If so, what makes you think Trump is in charge of the government at all? Perhaps he controls 20% of it, as I believe. Is he responsible for a government and bureaucracy that refuses many direct orders? If he’s not, is the unelected bureaucracy responsible for any new wars or ecological disasters? Why not?

    Taking that a step further, under our government, the President controls nothing: he is the EXECUTOR of the will of CONGRESS. CONGRESS writes the laws, CONGRESS funds and defunds, CONGRESS oversees. How is he, or for that matter, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter, “in charge” and responsible for all that goes on? Is that ours, the peoples’, fault? Since Congress won’t cooperate with him either, is he in charge inside OR outside the beltway? If so, how much? Since Congress can remove and defund him at will, and Congress doesn’t like him, and the Executive branch won’t obey him, the press won’t report him, and even Korea ignores him, how much should we worry about one man, whatever his will or intent?

    Back to the judges, the word “far right-wing” is now a required prefix before everything lacking the prefix “far left-wing”, and vice versa. ARE his judges “far right wing”? Since Trump was a long-time business Democrat, and holds none of the signal “far-right” views such as state’s rights, abortion, or gun control, IS he promoting far-right judges? Since the self-same media and rating agencies such as the SPLC have been shown to be biased, what would we base our judgment on?

    By one example, Kavanagh is emphatically NOT a right-wing judge, despite incredible rhetoric. He believes in the sort of Patriot Act prosecution, in gun control, in federalization and executive power, and will not take a position on abortion. His views on these signature issues as well as everything else, show he is FAR from a Constitutionalist, agrees with the far-left on unlimited government power, and — if the Left hadn’t attacked him — would have been more in danger of being shot down BY the Tea Party and far-right on his own voting record, as he is against everything they stand for. The left actually AVERTED Kavanaugh being refused fairly, openly, for his own voting record as judged by the actual Right. So when stakes are high, Trump pointedly did NOT choose a “Right-wing” or “Tea Party” judge. Since he dangerously places far-right judges, why didn’t he try? Since Kavanaugh is a run-of-the-mill GOP moderate, why was he so opposed?

    IS Trump attempting to defund the education system? Trump is presently under a discretionary budget, so why is the Education department still operating? Since educational standards have fallen every day since the DoE was created, wouldn’t its defunding or elimination be a GOOD thing? Would you rather he fund it fully and choose all the textbooks as is proper protocol? Again, since to Constitutionalists and anyone in the right-half of the GOP would believe the DoE is unconstitutional, if Trump is really in charge, and if he is arm’s-length from Hitler, why doesn’t he act on this? Or gun control? Or affirmative action? Or State’s rights? Or health care? Or 100 other actual “far right-wing” ideas? Is he impotent here too? If so, why pay attention to or fear him? If he can’t get anything done, and doesn’t even try, he’s a political non-entity, a nobody.

    With only 2 years data I had a hard time finding immediate stats on Drone and wealth, but you can see a broad outline here:

    https://anticap.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/wealth.jpgwealth

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/428296/us-drone-strikes-in-pakistan/ Drones

    I THINK this says, like Syria, that the top strikes were under Obama and his expansion of Arab Spring into 5 new wars, and the number of drone strikes and wars has been falling. While the numbers were low in Obama’s exit, they have not risen under Trump, despite articles like this one: https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/26/the-drones-are-back/ — which ironically uses this chart that shows the drones are NOT back. This does not excuse their use, but if they are FALLING, not rising, it’s difficult to sound new alarms about how he is a danger that is worse, rather than a guy essentially inheriting the third world war. He didn’t invent the many wars, or the drones, or their use on U.S. citizens. So IS he actually worse? Trying to be worse but failing at it? On what statistics?

    Similar with income disparity. The chart above shows that income disparity rose coincident to inflation and financialization in 1974, dropped temporarily (due to market crashes) when Bush and Obama entered, but overall has been unchanging for 45 years. While we can ARGUE that the tax cuts will have this effect, there is a time-lag and we cannot KNOW there is. Reagan cut taxes, which seems to have no effect on the chart starting in 1974, however, Kennedy cut taxes the largest, and the income spread did not move in 1960. Does that imply there is more than one moving part? If there’s a 100% chance it has no effect, as neither President’s large tax cuts show an increase, why infer failure or bad motive?

    Similar ideas are present in deregulation: according to one paradigm, deregulation is good, and the other it is bad. Which is it? Do we know? Reagan theoretically deregulated, and if that were true, and if it mattered, the economy boomed, but at what cost? Yet Roosevelt, Carter, and Obama regulated, and their economies tanked. Is that coincident, consequence, or is it worth the cost regardless of the price?

    In their way of thinking, Trump is giving YOU the power, your own tax money so YOU can control the social commons. That is Conservative, or even business Democrat thinking. Do you not WANT the power, the money, or the responsibility? Why is government the best or only holder and insurer of this ill-defined “commons”? Can’t you run a charity, a church, or a natural trust? How successful have they been in their stewardship in the last 100 years? Are people safer? Has poverty decreased? Has crime fallen? Do we use fewer drugs? Are healthier? Are their marriages stronger? Are the streets safer from gun and violence? Is there less crime? More trust? Is the environment cleaner? Cheaper, better education? Cheaper housing? Are we less indebted and more loved around the world? Since the government – including decades of each party – controls or is deeply involved in all these things, if they are a good steward of the social commons, why have these exact items generally gotten worse? Perhaps they worse in either Democratic or Republican areas? Does one prosper and succeed? If so, why?

    We can and should hold Trump accountable, but only for the things he’s done. Even then, much of what we believe is based on faith, that “this way is better than that way” while the stories, the statistics don’t bear out the partisanship and dogma. One thing’s for sure, “Trump” is not in charge. Not in theory, for the PEOPLE are, or by law, where CONGRESS is, or in fact, as a great number of his orders aren’t followed, and his suggestions, such as passing health or immigration bills, or appointing officers, are lambasted and stonewalled. Since no one’s paying attention to him, and he doesn’t control anything, why would they pay attention to this dictatorial “next guy”? If the society doesn’t already intend to go into a “middle ages feudal system” who is going to make them? Since Conservatives in theory are SHRINKING government, and REDUCING its power and influence everywhere, while ARMING the whole population, including the left; if Trump and/or the “far right” take power, how is a smaller government, with less power and smaller tax base, going to make a more-armed, more-annoyed population obey which already ignores the large, powerful, well-obeyed, and well-funded government of today?

    See how different our ideas are? But it makes a difference in what we think is going on, and even which facts we credit as true and relevant.

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