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Trump’s in a tight spot

The DOJ submitted a 36 page response to Judge Cannon’s request for more information before she decided on whether to appoint a special master to review the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago. Joyce Vance helpfully breaks it down from legalese to human in her substack article “Trump in Trouble”.

Short summary: Trump ain’t never going to get that stuff back. It didn’t belong to him in the first place. The materials were found in close proximity to Trump’s personal items, like his passport, in his desk, in his office.

The documents recovered were of grave national importance and if they have fallen into the wrong hands, could pose a severe threat to the US and its allies.

I’m going to guess that Trump never thought that his office would be searched so he didn’t GAF how the documents were stored. But somebody who had access to his office clearly thought otherwise.

So, the three questions are still unanswered:

1.) Why did Trump have TS/SCI documents at his personal residence?

2.) What was he planning to do with them? The DOJ response made clear that Trump and his lawyers assured DOJ over and over again that they had no more documents. But the ones that Trump retained were among the most valuable and dangerous secrets our country has.

He must have saved those particular documents for a reason. What is it?

3.) Who turned him in? Was it secret service? Family member? The usual suspects from the 1/6 planning days? Someone tipped off the federales after June 2022. Who visited Mar-A-Lago since June 2022 who might have been shown around Trump’s office?

(That’s how you know it’s real, MAGA fans. Someone turned him in.)

I highly recommend the Vance breakdown. It’s easy to read so there’s no excuse to not read it. Which is probably why his staunchest defenders won’t read it.

But the Trump allies with law degrees are going to see the writing on the wall. It doesn’t matter when Merrick Garland pulls the trigger on an indictment, whether it’s before or after the midterms. Trump is going to get indicted for obstruction of Justice at the very least. It remains to be seen whether he shared the country’s national security with people who clearly shouldn’t have had it.

Who are we kidding? Of course he shared it. He probably has screenshots on an SD card or on a private server just waiting for a Julian Assange type person to get the mayday signal from Trump or his associates to release the Kraken. After 7 years of Trump, we know this man’s character very, very well.

There are going to be more revelations of an ugly nature. There have to be if several informants cooperated with the FBI. There may have been a line that even the scum of the earth were unwilling to cross.

The Versacology of Lindsay Graham.

I don’t know if you’ve heard by now but Lindsay Graham went on one of the Talking Heads programs yesterday and declared that if Trump was indicted in the course of the NARA-Lago investigation, that there would “be riots in the streets”.

To which I say, “Bring it on”.

Unlike some news anchors tonight, I’m inclined to believe that there will be violence but maybe not in the streets. The riots might be chilled by what potential rioters have seen in the wake of the 1/6 insurrection. The little people do go to jail, sometimes for a very long time. And who wants that? So maybe not riots. But other types of trouble where the actions are less concentrated? Well, have we found the person who left the bombs in front of the parties’ offices in DC on 1/6? I’d look to one of our Trump friendly neighborhood paramilitaries for that kind of thing.

But why would Lindsay even say this? Here’s where the versacology comes in. Versacology is a word number 1 child invented when she was around 4 when she meant to say reverse psychology. It’s the concept of encouraging one action in order to get something opposite, with unexpected consequences. In this case, the idea is that threatening violence will keep the DOJ from indicting Trump. The unexpected consequence is that this threat is almost certainly an admission of Trump’s guilt. Lindsay is that hostage who is trying to blink out a message to us on national TV.

I heard this theory on Beau of the Fifth Column‘s YouTube channel. It’s pretty perceptive. Here’s how it goes:

If Trump were indicted and had to stand trial, the jury could be a problem. That’s because there’s a very good possibility that a die hard Trump supporter would end up on the jury. That’s great for Donald, right? That juror could be counted on to be the hold out on a conviction. The hung jury would look like a vindication to the MAGA crowd. It would be nothing of the sort and they know it. But they like enabling Trump to get away with things because it’s very macho outlaw behavior.

But the DOJ is unlikely to bring an indictment against a former president unless the evidence they had is so solid and serious that even the most loyal MAGA juror wouldn’t be able to deny it. Honestly, I don’t know how the DOJ would be able to pull this off. Due to the nature of the sensitive material that would need to be described to the jurors, the whole trial would be a bit of a black box to the public. The jurors would have to be sequestered. I don’t think it could be done any other way. But if the evidence is that strong, and Garland moves to indict, we can be pretty certain that whatever it is he has on Trump is going to be extremely serious and watertight. It would have to be so serious that concerns about national security would far outweigh the political handwringing over whether a former president can be charged with a crime.

In other words, the indictment and trial would present evidence of Trump’s guilt so strongly that even a MAGA loyalist would vote to convict.

So, would there be rioting in the streets? Maybe. I think they’ll be more covert than that. But I think we can be dead sure that an indictment of Trump is going to lead to a conviction. Garland wouldn’t do it otherwise.

We will once again have to be patient. Trump and his mouthpieces are going to try to drag this out again. But they waited too long to request a Special Master and the DOJ likely has plenty of material already. The FBI has already gone through the treasure trove from Mar-a-Lago and it’s going to present its argument to the court tomorrow. A special master is not going to slow things down too much. We’re probably just waiting for the National Intelligence agencies to do a damage assessment and for NARA to determine if there are still documents missing. I haven’t read the affidavit completely but I’ve heard some references tonight that there may be electronic copies.

Take that in. We all know how fast naked pics fly around the internet. Imagine e-copies of our national defense information as espionage porn.

So, regardless of what comes out of Lindsay’s mouth, what he’s really saying is Trump’s guilty and the only way to prevent him from going to jail is to threaten to bring the country to a dead halt with raging MAGA dudes toting guns and shooting the place up.

Let’s see how many of them figure out they’re being used before they end up as numbers on the FBI’s most wanted photos.

Here’s Beau’s video on this topic. Enjoy:

Who is Donald Trump?

What is the real story behind Donald Trump? I wonder if any one person knows all of it. For our part, we get bits and pieces, hints, intimations, some coming from people who may well know, others just suppositions or guesses.

There is a book, “The Making of Donald Trump,” by David Cay Johnston, and when Mr. Johnston used to be a guest on MSNC news shows, near the beginning of Trump’s purported presidency, he said that the title was intentional. The implication was that Trump was a “made man” in the mafia. Others have suggested such a connection. Then there are some who keep insisting that Trump was some kind of government informant, and that is why he never got in trouble for anything. The implication there was that he had broken laws, but had protection. This theory seems less credible, but who really knows?

The Russian connection has to be there, but again there are mostly intelligent suppositions based on reasonable interpretations of facts. It has been strongly suggested that Russian leadership and Intelligence considered Trump as a major potential asset, as early as the 1990’s.

We know that Russian oligarchs bought up some of Trump’s real estate at excessive prices, and of course they did it for a reason. It seems that Trump, who declared bankruptcy many times, who failed at every business, kept being bailed out, and it is likely that it was Russia which was doing it.

I did not know much about Trump twenty years ago; certainly those in New York, particularly in real estate, knew much more. I mostly knew about him when he briefly owned a team in the rival league to the NFL, the USFL. The team was the New Jersey Generals, and Trump was determined to somehow parlay this into an NFL franchise. He made a big splash by signing Herschel Walker (imagine that). The USFL filed an antitrust suit against the NFL, but though they nominally won, they were awarded only $1, and the entire league folded after that. An article from CNBC from a few years ago, said that Trump was the one who had wanted the league to sue, while other owners wanted to move gradually to establish itself.

It was amazing to me that after hearing about all of Trump’s bankruptcies, he somehow kept coming back, with more money. Was that due to Russia funding him with a purpose?

I used to listen to Howard Stern’s radio show sometimes on the way to work, and Stern would have Trump on,he was an entertaining egotist. He said he supported the Iraq War, then when it was unpopular, he said that he was always against it. He said that he had been right about every issue that they discussed. It was laughable, but it seemed harmless enough, then.

There is a writer named Thomas Kelly, whom I really liked. He wrote about New York, focusing on the construction business. He wrote “Sandhogs,” then a brilliant novel, “The Rackets,” in 2001, and then “Empire Rising,” literally about the construction of the Empire State Building, in 2006. I don’t think he has written anything else since then, I do not know why; I saw that he was listed as a writer for a TV series, but that was quite a while ago.

“The Rackets” was about many things: construction workers, unions, bosses, and the mafia. One aspect of the book was how the Russians had come in and were supplanting the mostly Italian mafia, being more brutal and relentless than even they had been. I did not know much about this then, but it was unsettling, even as bad as the mafia had been for many years.

I have read more than one person speculate that Rudy Giuliani, supposedly the person who went after the mafia in New York, was actually either working for one group of the mafia, and trying to eliminate all the rest of them, or working for the Russians, and helping them take over. This theory does not seem far-fetched. And this connection between Giuliani and Trump has gotten stranger and stranger in the last few years.

We know that Russia was instrumental in getting Trump supposedly elected. We know that when Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, find Hillary’s emails; “the media” will greatly reward you if you do,” that was absolutely intended as a signal to them, as they hacked the DNC email that night. We know that Russia poured at least hundreds of millions of American dollars into putting completely fabricated news stories on Facebook, and running ads, all of which Facebook was happy to sell the country out for the money they got out of it.

We know that Comey was fired very soon after Trump was installed in office, because of what he knew about the Trump-Russia connection. Lavrov laughed about it. Strozk was gotten rid of, as well as other FBI people. Most of the rest of the story we know, not the beginning of it.

I remember Trump talking about running for President in 2012, and then announcing that he would not. That seemed very strange to me at the time, as if someone told him not to run then. I didn’t know who it was, but it seems obvious now. Then someone decided that he should run in 2016.

Trump seemed to own the New York Times. The day, about a week before the election, when they ran two headlines, “”New emails jolt Clinton campaign in campaign’s final days,” and “FBI sees no clear connection to Russia” (regarding the Trump campaign), were chilling, and perhaps the lowest point ever in American journalism, worse than anything William Randolph Hearst had done.

The truth is that there were no new emails, there were just duplicates on Huma Abedin’s laptop. And there was a blatant connection between the Trump campaign, Trump, and Russia, it was screaming out at everybody but many of the media. It was suggested even then that Guiliani had power in the SDNY section of the FBI, and that the various stories during the campaign about “Hillary is about to be indicted,” were a product of Guiliani and his cabal there. And then the planting of this “no clear connection” lie, along with the fact that somehow the FBI had Anthony Weiner’s laptop for months, and held it, so that they could make this the big story right before the election.

All these connections, some obvious, some murkier. All completely denied by Trump and every asset he controls, from Republicans, to the Wall Street Journal, to his own cabal. Why did Trump take all those “top secret” documents? Among other reasons, did someone tell him to, list what things they wanted to see?

Tracy Walder, a former CIA Agent, very recently quoted something written by Paula Chertok, which no one has discredited. “Last year, a top-secret memo sent to every CIA agent around the country, warned about a troubling number of informants being captured or killed.” Is this due to Trump? Is it specifically the result of the documents he stole, which contained the names of sources?

Has Trump been giving Russia information for years? Have they just extrapolated from what he gave them and what they have seen, to now have a large store of knowledge about our entire Intelligence network, which could be so severely compromised as to not only have little value, but also will keep allied networks from ever trusting us with information?

We don’t know, we can only surmise. Has Trump been an asset of Russia for years? Does he think that he owes them so much in money and information they have on him, that he will do everything they want? Does he have a group of people who aid him in this? Manafort. Flynn, Bannon, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, Mark Meadows, others?

I doubt that we will ever be told the whole story, we usually are not. Probably we should not be. But far from being told everything, so much has been hidden from the citizens. Somehow I think that we need someone of legendary stature to put this all together. Who that would be, I do not know. Maybe Adam Schiff, but of course no one on Trump’s side would believe him. I think that Nancy Pelosi knows a great deal.

I do think that we will start seeing some books which attempt to go through Trump’s life from the beginning, to trace what I think is much more than just a stupid jerk indulging himself with a desire for wealth and power. I am thinking of perhaps the worst saga in American history, if we learn it all.

Tinker, Tailor….

Donald Trump should never have been allowed within a thousand miles of the White House. How he got there is a sad and infuriating testament to the arrogance and ignorance of the media; the capitulation to greed and fascism on the part of the Republican Party, and the votes of millions of people who tell you how much they “love America,” but have no idea what that means, other than symbols like flags and parades.

Anyone who had any ability to analyze or grasp reality, would have known how dangerous Trump was. A man who has no control over his impulses, who somehow has convinced himself that he is always right, that he knows more than anyone else about everything. who listens to nothing but what might help him get what he wants.

Russia saw him as a very useful asset, even they probably didn’t think that he could get himself elected President, but he was. The rest of it we know about, at least up to what we are learning now, that he stole top-secret documents from the White House, refused to give them back, and thus may have already greatly compromised national security.

Maybe the Intelligence and Defense Departments can figure out how many of our assets have already been compromised, and how many sources and methods are now known by countries and people who wish us no good at all. Even if they do figure it out, what can they do about it now?

I just had the image of the early scenes of the television series “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy,” starring Alec Guinness. British Intelligence had been greatly compromised, “Control,” the wise man who led it, has been forced out, and soon thereafter dies. George Smiley has been part of the purge. The people running Intelligence are not as good; some may mean well, one may be the person who was the spy who fed Russian Intelligence all the information. The overall scene is very unsettling and bleak.

The novels, written by the inestimable John Le Carre, are taken after real events, the treachery of Kim Philby, uncovered by MI6 after years. I thought of it, because we could be there now, I am just speculating. Why did Trump take the many documents, some classified as Top Secret? Not out of carelessness or ignorance. Did he already give them to enemies? Sell them? Have them viewed, copied or stolen?

At least in “Tinker Tailor,” there was not a national movement to defend the traitors, as we have here. We could go into the psychology of that, but we know it is there. No matter what it is revealed that Trump did, the reflexive response from MAGA and Dominionists and Fascists and Anarchists is to support him, make excuses for him, and blame everyone else, including the FBI, the DOJ, the Democrats, anyone they can try to use to deflect and project.

There is so much to say, of course, but right now, I am just overwhelmed by the enormity of it, not that we did not already intuit it. Not just how evil Trump is, but how the supposed controls and barriers were overcome so easily; how somehow half the media loved Trump, while sneering at and demonizing Hillary Clinton who had an entire career as a patriot; a highly intelligent and caring person, who made one mistake: using a private server, just the way that the lauded Colin Powell did before her. As always, the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy jumped on it, the perfect misdirection. And so we got an infantile traitor in the White House instead.

Now the media feels compelled to tell us Trump’s reactions and blaming. They will never let go of the “both sides,” unless they are absolutely forced to. Fox, which knows things, has tried to get ahead of this, by jettisoning Trump in favor of DeSantis. All they care about is money and power, and so any fascist will do. You don’t think that they actually care about the welfare of this country?

So they may “get” Trump, or they may not. He has avenues to continue to delay and impede. Will there ever be a trial of him for violations of the Espionage Act, and will there be a jury of twelve people who will unanimously vote for conviction? It would be gratifying, and necessary, but it would not undo the damage which this spoiled, arrogant, and stupid person has inflicted on this country, and far too many of its citizens. And that is what I am thinking about right now. And the three people on the Supreme Court whom he appointed, who will be there for thirty to forty years, and who will perhaps do more damage than even Trump could have done. “The evil that men do lives after them.”

About Student Loans

I admit that I was never a big fan of the idea to reduce or eliminate a good deal of the student loan debt. And that was because, like many millions of former students, I was essentially required to take out student loans to pay for school, and then had to spend quite a few years to pay them back. So I am still somewhat resentful of the fact that there was this push to let more recent students get out of paying some of their loans back.

This became a big issue for the Sanders campaign of 2016. I don’t know whether it was because Sanders was pushing it out of belief, or because he knew that it would get him a large proportion of the college-age voters, as he was essentially promising them money if he won. But this was taken up by other Democrats, notably Elizabeth Warren.

I still don’t think it is fair, but there are more important things to worry about. And it is so crucial that Democrats win the midterms and beyond, that if the new Biden edict to eliminate at least $10,000, and in many cases, $20,000, of the student loan debt of anyone making less than $125.000 per year, helps the Democrats win, I am for it. And I certainly understand how so many students are virtually compelled to take out the loans to pay for school, and do not realize the crushing burden of the debt amassed, particularly in an economy where only a few get high-paying jobs after college or even graduate school.

But I certainly do hope that the former students who will get some, or in some cases, all, as Biden noted in his speech, of their student debt eliminated, will show their appreciation by going out and voting for all the Democrats on the ballot. Stop this, “Both parties are the same, they’re all corrupt” affectation. Start helping the Democratic Party to help people in various ways, rather than sit home and sort of hope they lose, because maybe that will lead to a third party to indulge themselves with.

I know that they are not all like that, but enough of them were to get Trump ostensibly elected, and to contribute to Biden’s favorable numbers to be so low. If part of your education included history and economics, then you should understand what Republican control will do to your rights and your freedoms. And the only way to avoid it, is to vote against them.

I know it takes some time out of your day once or twice every two years, and I know that it might seem like some kind of submission on your part to our political system. But the alternative is not some kind of a fun society where there are all sorts of different parties, including one just for you; and you can debate or snark about it on the social media. It is Hungary or Russia or North Korea or Brazil. Or Trump’s or DeSantis’ America.

Now, the Republicans, while very evil, and not particularly intelligent, do have the ability to know how to spin everything in a way to galvanize their base. Their base is mostly non-college educated White people. So they immediately claimed that the student loan plan benefited elite college graduates, at the expense of blue-collar working people.

They claim that it will raise the taxes on those people, though it will not .They want it to look as if those elitist big-city Democrats are taking the money of hardworking laborers, and handing it to wealthy intellectual types. One of them just claimed that the money would go to further build the “empires” of wealthy Harvard and Yale.

All they want is for their people to strike back in anger against those “liberal elites,” and vote in larger numbers. Will this work? Let us hope not, because if it does, then this will be the very exemplification of a pyrrhic victory; or perhaps Oscar Wilde’s epigram of “No good deed ever goes unpunished.’

It is all about the votes. Winning the intellectual arguments can be satisfying in some periods, but right now, it is winning the elections. Republicans are searching for any way to gain the momentum going into November. They think that the student loan debt reduction will do that. The polls had shown that more voters approved of the idea, but that was in the abstract, and before Republicans tried to use their media power to frame it in their terms, as they always do.

It is grimly amusing that Republicans, whose major goal, besides accumulating power to control everyone’s lives, is to amass all the wealth, by taking it from the middle class, keep managing to pretend that they are trying to keep the middle class taxes low. Even when their tax bill of 2017 gave a tremendous tax break to millionaires and corporations, while effectively raising the tax rates of everyone else.

Now their plan is to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, and they say it out loud. And they are so convinced that their voters are ignorant and unable to think logically (a college education helps in that regard, though it is not sufficient in itself), that they believe they can trick them into voting more Republicans in to steal more of their money and in many cases take away their entire support system.

That is the gamble (it’s not hard to gamble when you have almost all of the money) that Republicans take. So they are trying to use this student loan issue to pretend that they are helping the uneducated people stop the snooty liberal elites from getting something that they do not have.

I would not have done the student loan elimination right now, but maybe Biden and his advisors thought that it would help in the elections, or maybe they just think it is the moral thing to do. It may well be, depending on one’s perspective. But the “long game” can never be ignored.

In Republicans’ world, they figure that if they can just take power one more time, they can take so many voting rights and free speech rights away from people, that there will never be a payback against them. So one more time, they go to the pretense that they are for the average Joe and Jane, when the obvious truth is that they have spent two hundred years here in trying to get every last cent of their money into their own pockets. That is their sole raison d’etre.

So we can only see how this plays out. I would like to have $10,000 of the money I paid back to student loan companies returned, and I am sure that many others would, too. It was depressing and stressful to deal with this every month. I admittedly did have a lot of graduate school, but I learned a lot of things, it was not just an indulgence. Education cannot be just about trading it in for salary later on.

It took me eight years or so to pay off all the student loans. But I can think about the situations of other people, too; and if this improves the lot of many who simply could not get out of the immense student loan debt, then I can support that–as long as it helps keep Democrats in some kind of power. Because if it does not, then it was perhaps a mistake, since so much is at risk for everyone.

Mar-a-Lagogate: It’s time for those three questions again

Donald John Trump (his serial killer name), has done some tricksy acrobatics on the legal front. First, he waited two weeks before legally responding to the search of Mar-a-Lago. Now, he’s trying to forum shop a judge in Florida to delay the inevitable and give him his documents back. Yeah. Take that in. He wants his boxes of documents back. Also, he wants a special master to go through the papers and pick out anything that he thinks is covered by “executive privilege”, which may mean “everything is covered by executive privilege”. The special master request isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The justice department has a filter team, or “taint team” that goes through materials like this. They take out all of the documents that aren’t relevant to the case or are covered by attorney client privilege.

That’s what those 30,000 documents taken from Hillary’s private email server were all about. They were private messages that were unrelated to her state department duties. But you can’t tell MAGA people anything. They just won’t believe it. Now that the shoe is on their boy’s foot might be a good time to take them aside and explain what the “taint team” does.

So, it’s not a bad idea for Donald John Trump to ask for a special master to make decisions as to what is executive privilege but why does he have to go over the head of the judge who issued the original warrant?

By the way, I highly recommend following this Twitter account:

Back to the three questions:

1.) Why did Donald John Trump have TS/SCI documents at his private residence?

2.) What was he going to do with them?

3.) Why did an informant know about them and report them to the FBI?

Michael Cohen, Donald John Trump’s former personal lawyer has a theory. He thinks that DJT was planning to use the most sensitive classified information as leverage in case he was indicted on something else. Sort of like holding a gun to our heads and saying “If you try to indict me on anything, all these very secret national security secrets that could open the US to danger will be published. I got copies. Don’t test me.”

Nice guy, preciousss.

Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn

It looks like Democrat Pat Ryan is going to win the special election in NY-19. This is a district that went to Trump in 2016 and Biden by a slight margin in 2020.

Fingers crossed:

Notes: Ryan ran on Threat to Democracy and Abortion access. In NY state, abortion is protected by state law or constitution. One of them anyway. So for women living in NY, it wasn’t necessarily a burning issue. And yet….

Molinaro ran as a Republican and all that means.

Here’s how the polls predicted it was going to go earlier today:

🤣

Be afraid, MAGA dudes. Be very afraid.

The Media Armies of the Right

Russell Honore’ writes that, “It has been reported that the new chief of CNN has met privately with Republican Members of Congress recently to get their views on how CNN might be more accommodating to Republican positions when airing the news. This report should not surprise both sides.”

Now, I know Honore’ for his leadership in the effort to respond to Hurricane Katrina. He appears on news stations occasionally, and is likely on the “liberal side” but does not often talk about politics, and is probably reliable in terms of accuracy on a story like this, I would certainly believe it.

CNN has basically been taken over by Right-Wing people. John Malone seems to be the most powerful money person behind the network, and Chris Licht was recently made CEO. Both of them have kept making comments about “wanting CNN to move nearer to the center” (Malone), or telling their newspeople to stop using the term “The Big Lie,” (Licht, in January). Recently, Brian Stelter of the show “Reliable Sources” which would criticize right-wing media, was fired.

I don’t watch CNN. The only two people I watched on there were Brooke Baldwin, who was essentially fired by having her hours cut back, and being taken off election coverage; and Brianna Keilar, who was moved from her two-hour mid-day show, to co-host of an early morning show. My guess is that she is the only person left on the network who will go after the Right, and who has her own show, besides Jim Acosta, who is under constant fire there.

Despite what has almost certainly been a move to the Right by CNN, something which clearly is going to get worse before the midterms, and after that; the Right, generally, and the people now on CNN, pretend that their station is somehow on the Left. “Becoming more centrist” is propaganda for “Being one very small step to he left of Fox.” Now this story that the CEO actually met privately with Republicans in Congress, to get their suggestions as to how to make CNN more to their liking, cements this.

We are in danger of having all Far Right “news” and opinions all the time. One thing you can say about the Far Right, they don’t miss a trick or an avenue with regard to turning this country into a fascist state. They want “state news,” propaganda fed out with the pretense of it being “fair and balanced.” Maybe some American viewers are not ready to be brainwashed into believing everything they are told, as the Fox viewers do, but there are all sorts of ways to send out propaganda while pretending that you are doing a serious-minded effort to present a balanced picture of what is going on.

The Far Right has declaimed about “the liberal media” for decades, which is one of the ways that they intimidated the network into bending over backwards to help the Right-Wing side. Remember the way they covered the Dukakis campaign; Gore against Bush, Hillary against Trump, to get a sense of how much they can influence voters’ perceptions, and swing most close elections to the Republicans.

The media started out for a couple of months being reasonably fair to Biden, but then that stopped; and it soon became “all inflation all the time.” We could debate Biden’s overall effectiveness, but it would seem almost unquestionable that he has done a number of positive things, and yet his poll numbers steadily dropped. I would contend that much of that was directly due to the media running story after negative story about Biden as President,

Finally, that has stopped a bit. But it seems almost certain to me, that this is a brief cessation, that as the midterms approach, it will begin again. And the easiest area for them to do it, is with regard to the economy. Gas prices will rise somewhat, even if the owners of the gas companies just order them to go up for a month or two. And there are so many other economic numbers which are easy to spin negatively.

The economy is not going to add another 500,000+ jobs this month, so that will be reported as “a steep decline in jobs.” They already report inflation numbers as if they are month-over-month, “prices continue to soar as inflation rate rises to 8.7%.” The other day, I saw a chyron stating, “Retail sales stagnant in latest report.” First, “stagnant” is far more pejorative than “stable” or “unchanged.” Second, this is not 1926; are we supposed to expect retail sales to go up every month? Third, if they did, wouldn’t that push prices up, as demand increases? Finally, the newsperson who reported this, noted that with regard to one item, the demand was quite high, but the supply wasn’t keeping up. And that would be Biden’ fault?

They can make it sound like it all is the Democrats’s fault, that is the goal of right-wing media. This accelerates right before elections, where the goal is to upset, anger, and frighten the viewers into voting for the Republicans. The more that the media is dominated by the Far RIght, the more this is done; and there is no counter to it.

Now, what is my point in stating all this? I can’t stop it. I can choose not to watch it; and I do, to the extent that you could not pay me to watch Fox, and I stopped watching CNN. The only station I will watch with regard to news, is MSNBC, and I have my opinions as to how much I like or enjoy the various anchors, but I am sure that others might differ here and there. Overall, you still feel as if you can get a pretty informative story on MSNBC, but I do wonder how long that will last, unless the ratings are very strong.

I would like to think that people will become aware of the rightward lurch of CNN, and stop watching it. However, I have long thought that the much-emphasized “ratings game” is not as important to the people who own these networks, as the trillions of dollars they expect to make from Republicans running things, and making sure that their taxes are as low as possible. Also, “access,” and “hobnobbing” matter to these people. Jeff Zucker of CNN was so proud that Trump was his friend. Apparently Licht wants to be friends with McConnell, McCarthy, and Cruz.

For many years, I and many other people have wished that there could be a “liberal” network with high standards, and quality people on it. But as the failure of “Air America” showed, there aren’t that many liberals who want to listen to talk radio all day, whereas far right people (the term “conservative” is utterly misleading and euphemistic) love it. That is talk radio, but the fact that virtually every news outlet in the country, including NPR, which I keep reading is a shadow of what it once was, puts out a stream of news which always features Trump, always “both-sideses” everything, always puts the Democrats on the defensive, is obviously a major concern.

I don’t know if anyone has tried to research or mathematically analyze this, but I would guess that simply by adjusting the essence of the overall message any media puts out via news, from Centrist, to Right, would move 5% of the vote, maybe more. Look at what absolute inaccuracy and lies the Fox viewers have now inculcated into their daily life. It is horrifying, and one wants to look away from it. The big story right now, the documents which Trump took from the White House and would not give back, has predictably been twisted by the Right-wing media into every possible made-up permutation which declares that it is dreadful actions on the part of Biden, DOJ, FBI; while Trump is blameless, nay, a victim. It is all propaganda intended to activate their base to various ends. And it works like a hypnotist with previously suggestible subjects.

I am at the point that if the Republicans take over both houses of Congress, I will likely watch nothing, what would be the point? I will never stop caring, or voting, or supporting, but I will not sit there vainly hoping that the real facts will be told; and knowing that even if some anchor or two does, they will be drowned out by the “loudest voices in the room,” and the most powerful and pervasive. I know that there will be podcasts and various off-road sites which will try to get the stories out, but at that point, it would feel like the Underground.

There is still MSNBC, and they are desperately needed to keep the television media from degenerating into deliberate complete propaganda. Right now, we like to think that we are the majority. that the Far Right, as vocal and threatening though it is, is only about 30-40% of the country. But if everything you are told on the news stations is created and disseminated by the armies of the Right, that has the power to change the numbers; by a method resembling what DeSantis is trying to do to students in Florida.

My Unforced Wordle Error

I’ll make this fairly brief, and try not to let it spoil my day, but I am frustrated and chagrined.

I was going along, with 202 Wordles in a row which I had gotten correctly, 217 out of 218 altogether.

I did yesterday’s puzzle. My third guess was SCRUM, and it showed S-RU-, my c and m not being right.

So I guessed SHRUB. I thought the site said that I got it, and so I logged off. Apparently my eyes are not as good as they were; probably, I just thought the last letter, the b, was green for “correct,” not grey, for “incorrect.” And I just logged off, and never came back to the site that day, why would I?

So today I did the wordle, and I got it in three guesses, excellent. But it showed that I had gotten only one in a row, and that my max streak was 202! So I thought there was something wrong with their tabulation. I looked up the wordle answer history, and saw to my great chagrin, that the answer yesterday was SHRUG.

If I had seen that the last letter was not filled in green, but gray, meaning I needed one more letter to get, of course I would have gotten shrug with two more guesses, with shru- being correct, and shrub apparently being wrong. But I did not try, I stopped after four; and I suppose that the site counts unfinished games as losses, since many people undoubtedly stop guessing if they figure they have no chance to get it.

So there went my streak, in the most unfortunate way, not missing the word in six guesses, but stopping after four guesses, being sure the site said that I got the word, and then not going back until the 24-hour window was gone. And of course no one there to explain it to.

I am sure that in elementary school days, I occasionally inadvertently did not answer a question on an arithmetic test, Once, on a more important test, SAT, or GRE, perhaps, I skipped an answer by mistake, and fortunately had time to go back and realize that I was marking in every one wrong, because I thought that I was answering question 41 when I was really answering 42, etc. I went back and fixed it, just in time. How harrowing. And I suppose that at one time or another, I would turn in one of the elementary class tests early. and the helpful teacher would tell me that I forgot to answer question 15, and let me quickly do it.

But this is online, and it is computer, and there are not people to appeal to, “I still have two guesses left, and of course I would have gotten it!!” Tell it to the bots. I cannot get this fixed, and so it will show one in a row, 218 out of 220. Interestingly, it still shows me at 100%, which I was pleased to see change from 99% when I got to 199 out of 200 overall, since that was apparently rounded up from 99.5% at that point. Maybe the Wordle site did not count a miss yesterday, but it just ended my streak number.

In the scheme of things, this would not seem to matter, but I am of course upset about it. It comes from not staring at the screen closely enough, and thinking that the “B” showed green, and not grey.

Do you know the actress Nancy Grahn? Apparently she had a good Wordle streak, and then a few months ago, missed one, and was so upset that she could not sleep! That’s how I felt when I legitimately missed “PERKY” months ago; I lay in bed in the morning, and thought and thought, until I came up with better opening guesses, which I have almost always stayed with since. I figured I would eventually miss one, but not this way!

Well, thank you for indulging me in this story. There is a lesson here, but I do not know what it is, except to be more painstaking. I’ve filled out checks wrong, too, but they come back, to be fixed. At least I didn’t buy something on the internet by hitting the wrong button, which I guess people do sometimes. Do I get to file an Appeal here, like the Republicans do every single time they get a decision that they don’t like? No, this is a different realm.

There are probably people out there who could take a screenshot showing they got 420 wordles in a row, because they look at the sites which are all over, which give “hints,” and then the answer, and so they never miss one. There is no way to prove it of course. And no one who has a long streak, can prove that he or she did it honestly. So there is that, for a sort of consolation.

Postscript: I found a site where this question was asked, and the small consensus is that if you do not finish a wordle, or forget to do it one day, your streak disappears. That seems ridiculous, but it’s Computertown.

The Three Questions: still waiting for answers.

Donald John Trump still hasn’t explained his actions with respect to taking classified materials to Mar-A-Lago. Here are the questions he needs to answer and quickly:

1.) Why did Donald John Trump have TS/SCI documents at his private residence?

2.) What was he going to do with them?

3.) Why did an informant know about them and report them to the FBI?

The last question is very interesting to me because it’s clear that the informant knew the classified materials were there and seemed to think that this information needed to be shared with law enforcement. Someone in his orbit was concerned.

I’m hearing completely stupid excuses about how Trump declassified materials, like he sprinkled holy water on them or something.

The problem for Donald John Trump is he doesn’t have the authority to declassify TC/SCI documents that contain the country’s most sensitive information. He broke the law when he hid those documents from the FBI the first time and did not return them.

So, either he’s an idiot because returning the docs when requested likely wouldn’t have resulted in charges, or he took and hid those docs for a reason and none of the obvious reasons pass the smell test.

The Trumpers should just cool their jets about shooting up the liberals and the federales. If it can be shown that Donald John Trump planned to show or give the documents to a foreign power, there is no amount of a threat of violence that should deter us from throwing his ass on a one way trip to Tristan da Cunha where he will spend the rest of his life tending a small section of the communal potato patch or he doesn’t eat. Being stranded in the middle of the south Atlantic for the rest of his life with no audience who will pay the least bit of attention to him would be just the thing.

But first, we need answers. Now.