Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump Complains about Media’s "Tone"

Did you hear Trump complain about the Media’s “tone”? 

Trump complained about the Media being mean and vicious toward him.  “I’m a nice guy,” he says.  Asking why they are so mean spirited toward him.

Wait!  This is the guy who regularly called Hilary, “Crooked Hilary.”  This is the guy who referred to the “so-called Judge” in reaction to the Judge who ruled against his ban against travelers from 7 selected Middle Eastern nations.  This is the same guy who viciously and publically attacks and questions the moral character or the believability or the intelligence and/or the integrity of anyone that opposes him or questions his own veracity.

If anyone has had demonstrative negative mean-spirited “tone” toward others in the public forum, it’s Donald Trump!

Trump has attitude.  And I do not mean this in a good way.  As I see him, he is like a spoiled child who, when things do not go his way, he throws a fit.  He whines and pouts and throws temper tantrums—in an adult way, of course.  He goes on the attack, belittling and blaming his adversaries and detractors, basically saying that all the bad things that are happening around him are either outright lies or have nothing to do with him and everything to do with his critics and opponents.  Yet, he speaks of the ill-tone from the Media, asserting that he’s Mr. Nice Guy. 

Have you heard of the Psychological term, “projection”?  “Projection” is when a person accuses others of having the very tendencies or behavior or attitude or feelings that the person him/herself actually has deep within him or herself—though unacknowledged or disowned.  That is, the subject tends to displace negative thoughts (or feelings, actions, and attitudes) onto others, externalizing on to others what is really going on within one’s own inner self.

So, for example, a common form of projection is when someone (like Trump) accuses others of having very angry feelings toward him, when in fact the hostility and anger is originating from within the subject (Trump) himself.

Thus, Trump accuses the Media of exuding hateful and hurtful, mean-spirited “tone” toward him.  But in actuality, it is Trump himself who seems to have initially harbored hateful, mean-spirited, and hostile “tone” toward others—against the Media, against the Judiciary, against Congressional Reps, against the Intelligence Agency, and so-on and so forth.

Hence, Trump is an expert in playing the blame game, painting himself as the innocent victim while pointing to his detractors as perpetrators of evil against him, as people who are intent at taking him down: “It’s not me; it’s them!”  “I’m the good guy here; they’re the bad guys.”  “I’m innocent, they are the guilty ones.”  “I love everyone; why they hate me so much, I don’t know!” and so-on and so-forth.

What’s so sad about all this is that Trump-supporters really do believe that he is the innocent victim here (in his opposition to the Media, for example).  They don’t see him as he really is.  Like Trump, they are ready and willing to denounce others in the name of truth and integrity or justice and fair play, regardless of actual facts as presented by real and concrete evidence that contradict Trump’s assertions.  Trump is being given great latitude and freedom to make striking falsehoods, while everyone else is held to exact account for the slightest error in statement or reporting.  It is a case of willful blindness in behalf of Trump.

It is in fact the greatest weakness of a democracy—the blindness and gullibility of the masses that are willing to be led by a demagogue who promises to deliver peace and prosperity for all rightful citizens, which, in the long run, usually results in great loss with much agony for all.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Pervasiveness of Trump Politics: All This or All That

Donald Trump’s administration is giving the news media a lot to talk about.

Perhaps that’s an understatement.

But what is amazing to me is how far the leading party members will go to defend their party leaders—for example, the tenacious way they choose to avoid the hard questions put to them by news reporters, regarding the many questionable dynamics going on in the present administration (such as misspoken confusing or contradictory words & messages to actual questionable behavior by cabinet members).  Instead of answering hard questions, I watch them pivoting and redirecting rather than owning and responding to all that is going on in this administration.

I’ve always heard that “politics is dirty.”  I’ve heard that sentiment since I was a child.  Yet, I’ve always resisted accepting this sentiment at face value, believing that it doesn’t have to be that way.  I find myself not able to resist anymore.

I now feel that I must agree: Yes, politics is dirty.  (“Dirty”: dishonest and conniving, lacking in integrity, manipulative, twisted and perverse and abusive in its exercise of power and authority, self-serving, and so on.)

All I see in today’s political arena is this:

One must see one’s own favored party, along with its leaders, as always in the right; that is, it (the party) and they (party leaders) can do no wrong.  They have the purest of motives, are altruistic at heart, and basically all around wonderful honest and trustworthy people.  Hence, one’s own party’s leaders should exercise all their power and authority to assert (dictate) the party’s preferences, values, and agenda, irrespective of the opposing party.

And, if mistakes are made by one’s favored party leaders (from the President on down), one must see it as the result of innocent shortcomings fraught with good intentions and therefore conclude that they are nevertheless above reproach.  Thus, their response, when party leaders are asked to give an account for their questionable words and/or actions, should therefore be one of spin, pivot and redirection, outright avoidance, and/or blaming of the opposing party and the Media.  In other words, there should be no admittance of wrongdoing of any kind, ever!

By the same token, one should also assume that the opposing party and its leaders are always wrong, lack legitimacy, are un-patriotic in spirit and behavior, have false selfish and egotistical motives, and can do no right.  In short, one must believe that the opposing party and its leaders are harmful to the nation’s welfare and therefore must never have a part or voice in influencing national policy.  It’s as simple as that.

This is what we have come to.  Yes, it’s now that black and white.  How SAD!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Let’s Not Underestimate Trump

Trump has been called insecure, thin skinned, and ignorant.  This is a mistake.  For it underestimates his ability to make calculated maneuvers in his favor.

Trump is a shrewd propagandist.  He knows how to use and manipulate the Media.

This is why he twitters as much as he does, and why he is so ready to present his own “alternative facts” by “correcting” mainstream media’s presentation of “truth.”

It is not that he is insecure.  For, if he were truly an insecure person, he most likely would never have gotten as far as he has in both the business arena as well as in the political arena.

I say that Trump is very certain of himself (though foolishly so), and that he knows exactly what he is doing.  That is, his words and actions have nothing to do with personal insecurities.

We therefore can’t afford to underestimate him, as for example by dismissing his battle with the Media as a product of personal insecurities or self-imposed uninformed ignorance.

And that’s precisely the point: Trump is smarter than the Media pundits give him credit for.  And so, thus far, Trump is getting what he wants and the powers that be readily give him what he asks for precisely because they fear political reprisals from his base supporters; for his base supporters fully buy into Trumps depiction of Reality.

Perception is everything and Trump functions with that principle in mind.

So, NO, Trump is not a naïve simpleton, who is insecure and thin-skinned.

He is shrewd and manipulative.

Trump knows how to influence and control his supporters’ perception.  He defines their perspective, creates their vantage point, and draws their conclusions for them; that is to say that Trump’s depiction of “reality” is his supporters’ given reality.  The way Trump sees things is the way his followers see things.  It’s as simple as that. 

On that score, Trump is ahead of the game and is far out smarting mainstream Media’s attempt to “keep it real.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

Facts are Facts, There can be No Trump Alternatives

Truth is truth and facts are facts; there are no alternative Realities from which to choose.

“Fact” (according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition): “A thing done; the quality of being actual—actuality; something that has actual existence; an actual occurrence, a piece of information presented as having objective reality [my emphasis].”

There may be a set of facts, and there may be more facts or less facts known with respect to a given objective reality, event, action, deed, object, or subject.  However, there can be no “alternative” facts!  We do not live in a world where we can freely move in and out, between two alternative realities; that is purely imaginative sci-fi.

For example, it cannot be said as a fact that I was in the city of Philadelphia at a certain time of day, on a certain day of the week, at a given month of the year AND “alternatively” that I was also in the city of New York on that same particular day, in that same exact hour, at the same month of the year.  The fact is that one of those so-called “facts” of my whereabouts at that moment of time is false; for I cannot be at two places at one and the same time.  Two contradictory statements of facts cannot both be true; not even “alternatively” true.

Of course, facts must be interpreted.  And thus, interpretations of a given set of facts will vary.  Likewise, interpreted facts must often be responded to; and thus, disagreements are sure to arise as to how one should react or respond to a given set of facts.  Nevertheless, the surety of a factual reality does not change according to perspective or interpretation.  Either a fact is a fact or it is not.  That is, we are not free to create, design, imagine, or construct our own facts to suit our own desired interpretations, reactions, or outcomes.

Truth matters!  We make major and minor decisions every day based on our understanding and knowledge of what is factually true.  For example, it is either true or not true that we have sufficient funds in our bank account to cover a purchase with a debit card.  If the bank properly demonstrates to us that we do NOT have the money to make that purchase, there is no alternative truth to which we may turn to as a way of arguing that we DO have the money in the bank.  The money is there or it is not there; it’s as simple as that.

Granted, there are truths or facts that are questionable and debatable.  For example, either Jesus rose from the dead or he dead not.  There are those who say Jesus did rise from the dead and claim to be eye-witnesses to that “fact.”  Furthermore, they were willing to go to their death for making that claim.  That’s powerful stuff!  Still, there were also those who chose not to accept the testimony of these eye-witnesses.  Hence, to this day we have those who believe that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is true and factual in contrast to those who believe that the resurrection of Jesus is a mere fantasy at best and has no bases in factual reality.

The interesting thing about this is that there are great and possibly severe consequences that are contingent upon which case is actually true.  If it turns out that Jesus really did “in fact” rise from the dead, it behooves humanity to take a serious look at what Jesus did, said, and taught.  On the other hand, if Jesus in fact did not rise from the dead, much of Christianity’s teachings about God and the life hereafter can be and should be greatly ignored.

Point being: even when we disagree as to whether something (a word, deed, object) is actually and factually true or not true—it matters.  That is, it has serious consequences—as to whether or not we are perceiving reality in truth or whether we are perceiving reality incorrectly and therefore falsely.  Think about the simple act of driving your car on the highway and not being able to see reality for what it is on the road—my guess is that, if you are not getting your traffic facts right, you won’t be driving for very long.

Reality bites!

Reality has a way of crashing down on us, especially if we choose to ignore it or try altering it for our own purposes (called “being in denial”).

We need truth, factual truth, in order to rightly thrive and prosper.

This is why it is so dangerous to allow anyone to get away with lying to us (no matter how small the lie may seem)—especially those who are in power and have great influence over others.

So let us not accept this nonsense about “alternative facts”!  Truth is truth, facts are facts.  Let us stick to the truth and nothing but the truth, and demand that our nation’s leaders do the same.  We will all be a lot better off for it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump’s MO

As an observer as to how Trump operates, this is what I see.

He’s more like a dictator in attitude and spirit.

He’s more interested in image and appearance than actual substance of truth and reality.  And so, he will exaggerate, speak in hyperbole, and outright lie in order to maintain a certain image, imposing upon his audience his particular tailor-made slant and perspective on reality—no matter how unreal it may actually be.  He will thus also retaliate and bully anyone who makes him look bad, even if the cause or source of making him look bad was of his own doing.  That is, he hates to be “called out” and shown to be wrong or in error.

He never says what he means or means what he says.  His constant off-the-cuff remarks leave people guessing, especially on delicate and fine nuanced issues.  He likes it that way.  He doesn’t like to be pinned down.

He denies and obfuscates anything he disagrees with, twists, bends, and shades the truth with innuendo, outright denial, boldfaced lying, and subtle redirection to make people question what was thought to be obvious and undeniably true.

He lies all the time, yet constantly calls everyone else liars when they speak truth that he dislikes and doesn’t want to hear or accept.

Thus, I believe that he is a dangerous man to be holding the highest office in the nation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Getting the News

Reality checks, truth statements, assertions of falsehoods, bending, spinning, twisting, exaggerating, outright lying, and everything else in between, this is what the Free Press must discern, weed through, and then clarify in order to do its job with integrity.

Trump, I believe, will make the press work harder for its buck, but maybe that’s a good thing.

Whatever Trump says cannot and must not be taken at face value and must certainly not be taken for granted.  And whatever Trump actually does must be carefully examined from a larger perspective and from all angles: forward, backward, up and down, and inside and out, so as to adequately grasp the full implications and consequences of his actions.

In other words, enough of pundit’s opinions and opinings and second guessing!   The press must do its homework well.  It needs to move away from mere speculative commentary about what might be, might have been, or could be and move toward eagle-eyed description of what is; properly highlighting and outlining the intricate web of connections between cause and effect, between word, deed, action and reaction.  The press needs to show the direct links between words and actions and their consequences, connecting the actual results and effects of Trumps words and deeds and avoid merely speculating about them.

There is way too much speculation going on in the news these days.  We are being presented with way too much virtual reality as compared to actual reality—and it's not just Trump’s doing.

Furthermore, the press must go back to headlining real scope and depth to a story rather than merely repeating the shallow soundbite of a story.  For example: the press learns that Trump saves almost 1,000 jobs in Indiana at the Carrier company.  That’s the headline.  Yes, it’s catchy and impressive, but it’s shallow.  Yet it is what is repeated over and over.  Where’s the depth?  At what cost?  Is it a really good deal for the state; how do we know this?  In short, what about the details and the hard questions that shed greater light on a deal like this?  So, the Carrier Company is being given $7,000,000 in state tax breaks as part of the deal.  Well then, tell us, how is the state going to make up for this lost revenue?  What are the negative consequences, if any, to a deal like this—especially to the tax-payer?  That is, who is going to make up and pay-up for this $7,000,000 tax break?  In other words, I feel like I’m not hearing the full story!

I am tired of turning to these news channels that pits one side against the other: “I think this.”  “Well, I think that!”  “Well, I think that what you think is wrong.”  “Well I think that what you think is ignorant and wrong.”  Ugh!  Enough!!

I don’t care about the opinions of either side.  I want truth.  I want reality!  I want to see the big picture for myself, and from various angles, so that I can interpret the picture for myself.  Bring a reality check; show me what is there.  I want to hear about what IS.  I don’t want to hear about what might be, may be, could have been, or very well may have been, but for this and that.  I want to see the direct links between cause and effect.  Bring me the facts, state the truth; show me what’s real and actual!

Monday, November 28, 2016

If the President (elect) says it, it must be True, Right?!

The following is a November 27th tweet from Donald Trump, our president elect:  “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!”

With absolutely no substantiating evidence to back his claim, Trump declares that serious voter fraud has taken place in three significant states.  Why should this worry us?

It’s worrisome because this kind of tweeting, which he does often, continues to reassert Trump’s dismissive attitude toward actual truth and lack of respect for real facts, revealing his complete disregard for reality in favor of political spin, exaggerated hyperbole and outright deception.

Trump will often deliberately cast a cloud of confusion and darkness over individuals, institutions, and processes if and when he receives unflattering or unwelcome news by them.  In short, he throws mud at them knowing that the mud will stick in the minds of his devotees and/or anyone who already has doubts or misgivings and distrusts the person, institution, or process in question.

That is to say that Trump is a master in the use of demagoguery = “A leader who makes us of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”  Trump now has more power and influence then ever before, yet he continues to use demagoguery as a means to attack anyone or any institution with whom he disagrees with or dislikes or has been offended by.

When he makes such assertions he is not interested in TRUTH.  His only interest is to smear and undermine public trust in said person or institution.  He tweets so as to make an immediate impact in the hearts and minds of all that are eager to give HIM the benefit of the doubt and are willing to accept HIS assertions without question.  He’s the Pied-Piper for those who believe in HIM.  He plays his tune and they lovingly follow him—tweeting and retweeting.

Why is it that his followers do not see the danger in Trump’s tendency to constantly redefine reality to suit his own purposes?  Someday this easy-going willingness to accept Trump’s exaggerated and over-the-top assertions is going to turn around and bite his followers and bite them hard.

My guess is that there will be a day of reckoning.  Sometime in the near or distant future, I have no doubt that many, many people will deeply regret that they had ever believed in Trump in the first place.