“Lists. It’s personal.”

I normally do most of my writing here.  I wrote this piece for “Medium.”


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A New Journalism for Troubled Times

My story begins in 1972. I was doing TV news at a station in Lansing, Michigan. Any time I start feeling full of myself I dig up a photo of me on camera back then. Some of you may remember Gene Shalit NBC’s “Today Show”  regular book and film critic. Yeah..I looked like a younger version of Gene but without the mustache. In any event, that’s when I got my first taste of what “balanced” meant to some rich old guy who owned the only TV station in town.

NBC “Today Show” critic Gene Shalit

The station was owned by a old guy named Harold “Hal” Gross.( I looked for an image link to him but the ‘Net seems to have left him back in the ’70s.)

‘Ole Hal was a good buddy to the local congressman from the 6th District of Michigan Charles  Chamberlain (R).

Congressman Charles Chamberlain R Mich 6th

Chamberlain was glued to that seat in congress which was great for him and not bad for Gross who enjoyed name-dropping wherever and whenever he could. We never could find anything going on between them that was precisely illegal, but there was always a smell around them.

Of course, whenever Charlie wanted to get on TV we’d get the order from Gross to go stick a mic and camera in the congressman’s face so he could say whatever he wanted to say. I can’t remember Mr. Chamberlain ever having anything interesting to say, let alone newsworthy. And when I tried to raise that with Gross he brushed me aside and told me to get a haircut. (I didn’t)

U.S. Rep. Bob Carr (D) Mich 6th District

But good things don’t last forever and Democrat Bob Carr, a young anti-war lawyer, decided to take a shot at beating Chamberlain. The timing was right; Chamberlain was getting old, starting to lose interest in the job, travel, etc.. And  there was a ready made “army” of young Michigan State college kids on the nearby campus who were looking for something to do that might end the Vietnam War.

So Carr and his merry band of activists pulled together a no-frills campaign and went about the business of telling voters why they should vote for Carr instead of Chamberlain.

But there was one little problem.

Hal Gross.

Hal wasn’t about to let some young “demo-crap” rain all over his cozy arrangement with Chamberlain. So Hal dreamed up something he called “balanced” news coverage, sent all of us a memo and his policy was to go into effect immediately.

Of course, nobody in the news department had a clue about what the old man meant by “balanced.” As a matter of basic journalism we always looked for the two, three, or more sides to a story. A new road might make driving to the mall easier for some, but it’s going to plow right through another family’s home.

So we just trashed the memo and went on the daily business of trying to fill up 15-minutes of actual news. 

Then two things happened with no apparent connection. Gross started to lock up the week’s allocation of film for the newsroom in his office safe. That drove the cameramen crazy. You see, back then, before videotape, everything we did was on film. Today, a crew can burn through hours of videotape to get one great two-minute story. What Gross did was make the cameramen shoot on a ratio of one-to-one. In other words, every single frame of film was going to be used so they’d better make it look good.

My cameraman, Dennis, went completely off his rocker about that one and became focused on how to extract revenge. But I’ll come back to that in a moment.

That’s me on the left, Dennis is on the right carrying that old, very heavy film camera.

We took turns covering the local political races, especially the “hot” contest between Carr and Chamberlain. That’s when things got weird. Dennis and I would head out to cover a Carr news conference, get his spiel and then call over to the Chamberlain campaign for a response. 

 But they didn’t want to respond. They didn’t want to say anything.

(Carr lost that race by the thinnest of margins, but came back two years later and beat the long term incumbent.)

We couldn’t figure out what rocket scientist of a political consultant  gave them that advice. I mean, to just sit back and take one on the chin was not a great way to keep a congressional seat.

So we cut the story ending with “we asked the Chamberlain campaign about the Carr charges, but they told us “no comment.”

Gross always had his little turd spies roaming around the place. One of them must have rushed over to the big guy’s office to report on the Carr story because the news director’s phone rang immediately. 

We were told to kill the story.

Why? What was wrong? Was I not wearing my puke yellow blazer with the big “WJIM” patch on the pocket? (I hated that blazer.)

Nope. It was much more simple. We had violated the Gross “balanced news” policy. 

So if the good congressman didn’t want to say anything the story couldn’t be “balanced” and was trashed.

We lost track of how many times that happened with the Carr – Chamberlain campaign and others.

One side was able to effectively censor the other by doing nothing. We could be as “fair” as possible, but if a story wasn’t “balanced” it was never seen.

Before long both Dennis and I hit our boiling point. Gross was controlling how much film we could use to cover stories and his “balanced news” b.s. was just plain wrong, if not illegal.

There’s more to the story. We formed a union, got fired, were reinstated with back pay so long as we never set foot in the station again, and went on our way.

But we left Mr. Gross a little present. Shortly after we received our settlements there was a figurative “explosion.” Here’s how it was described in Wikipedia:

“The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the station’s license in 1973 on allegations Gross prevented a number of prominent political figures from appearing on WJIM-TV.  A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) judge ordered the license revoked in 1981. WJIM kept its license when the initial revocation was reversed by FCC in 1982. The ACLU would eventually agree to a cash settlement in 1984.”

Shortly afterwards Gross just got out of the business.

But his “balanced” policy has survived and flourished most noticeably at FOX news. But the other networks and a whole lot of newspapers have bought into it.  And they’ve been suckered into a reverse form of that game. If a politician makes a big enough noise they “have to” cover it. The cable news outfits even “have to” carry the noise live. 

In the meantime, folks who have something other than noise are left in the wake unless they want to respond to what the noisemaker had to say – which just leads to more noise.

So here’s the only thing I can think of doing that, in some small way, might push back. Maybe a few folks will join me in making “Fair and Accurate” the new standard.



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Does Donald Trump Have NPD? Ask Mayo Clinic

I believe that Donald J. Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  I’ve believed this for some time but a lot of good that did.
I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. But I have an advanced degree and I can read. And with everything I read I become more convinced that we have a very sick and dangerous person living in the White House.  I’m not alone in that opinion. 

Here’s one of many articles you can read. This one is courtesy of the Mayo Clinic:

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.


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Az Sen. Barry Goldwater Told Nixon; Az Sen. John McCain has to tell Trump

Maybe it’s just what fate had in store for politicians from Arizona.

In 1974 a U.S. Senator from Arizona, once his party’s nominee for president, helped usher a crook out of the White House. The Arizona Senator was Barry Goldwater and the crook was President Richard Nixon.

By all accounts Nixon knew he was toast when Goldwater showed up. The senator just confirmed that for him.  24 hours later Nixon resigned.

It took years of investigations and hard reporting to deal with Nixon.

Now, 43 years later, a U.S. Senator from Arizona, once his party’s nominee for president, must usher a narcissistic psychopath out of the White House. The Arizona Senator is John McCain. The occupant is Donald Trump.
Senator McCain, you know he’s nuts. You know he is a danger to our country and the entire planet. Senator McCain, this distasteful mission is something that goes with being Arizona’s senior senator. Don’t wait too long. We can’t let him do any more damage.

Here’s a look at the damage he’s done so far:
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press while standing in front of the CIA Memorial.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

And he’s just getting started.

Please copy this partial list and paste it into your Facebook page or email. 

(List courtesy of Josh Grossfeld)

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Forget the phone calls & email: SHOW UP!

You’re all fired up and ready to contact your congressman or legislator. So, what do you do? Make phone calls? Send email? Even take the time to send a letter?

Chances are you’ve been directed to do one of those. I hate to be the one to tell you, but those things are pretty weak. Make a phone call? Chances are your call never gets further than a secretary or intern. A summary might be sent up the mountain to the office holder.

Send an email? You’ve got to be kidding. Emails are sorted by topic and a return email … “Thank you for your comments…” is sent out.  They do not get to the office holder no matter how much time you spent crafting the exact correct message.

So, what works? Simple. Show-up. Go to their offices. Attend town hall meetings. Bring along some folks who aren’t afraid of making a little noise.

Here’s what I’m talking about.


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Trump’s Rise to Power: A 1930’s Reflection

Trump’s Rise to Power – Was It 1930?

His campaign brilliantly organized thousands of meetings, flying in his private jet criss-crossing the country speaking to millions with wall-to-wall TV and Cable News coverage.

America was in the grip of thTrump-Telepromptere Great Depression with a population suffering from poverty, misery, and uncertainty, amid increasing political instability.

For Trump, the master speech maker, the long awaited opportunity to let loose his talents on the American people had arrived. He would find in this downtrodden people, an audience very willing to listen. In his speeches, Trump offered the Americans what they needed most, encouragement. He gave them heaps of vague promises while avoiding the details. He used simple catchphrases, repeated over and over. He promised to “Make America Great Again.”

His campaign appearances were carefully staged events. Audiences were always kept waiting, deliberately letting the tension increase, only to be broken by solemn processions of t-shirts with slogans blaring music, and finally the appearance of Trump amid shouts of “Trump!” The effect in a closed in hall with theatrical style lighting and decorations of American flags was overwhelming and very catching.trumpcharity

Trump began each speech in low, hesitating tones, gradually raising the pitch and volume of his voice then exploding in a climax of frenzied indignation. He combined this with carefully rehearsed hand gestures for maximum effect. He skillfully played on the emotions of the audience bringing the level of excitement higher and higher until the people wound up a wide-eyed, screaming, frenzied mass that surrendered to his will and looked upon him with pseudo-religious adoration.

Trump offered something to everyone: work to the unemployed; prosperity to failed business people; profits to industry; expansion to the Army; social harmony and an end of class distinctions to idealistic young students; and restoration of American glory to those in despair. He promised to bring order amid chaos; a feeling of unity to all and the chance to belong. He would make America strong again; end payment to NATO; tear up trade agreements; stamp out corruption. And he promised to build a wall along the country’s Southern border to keep immigrants out – minorities, especially Latinos, who he blamed for everything from crime to taking American jobs.

Trump-CabinetHe appealed to all classes of Americans, but was fully embraced by the non-college educated and blue-collar workers.

All of the Trumpsters, from Trump down to the leader of the smallest city block, worked tirelessly, relentlessly, to pound their message into the minds of the Americans.

On election day November 8, 2016, Trump received millions of votes and more than the 270 electoral college votes needed to be declared President. It was a stunning victory for Trump. Overnight, the Trumpsters Party went from obscurity to control of the U.S. government.

It propelled Trump to solid national and international prestige and fear; aroused the curiosity of the world press. He was besieged with interview requests. Foreign journalists wanted to know – what did he mean – tear up the Treaties, leave NATO?

Gone was the Saturday Night Live image of Trump the laughable fanatic. The self absorbed Trump had been replaced by the skilled manipulator of the masses.

In January, dressed in their t-shirts, Trumps deputies marched in unison to the U.S. Capitol. They had no intention of cooperating with the democratic government, knowing it was to their advantage to let things get worse in America, thus increasing the appeal of Trump to an ever more miserable people.

Trumps followers dressed in civilian clothes and celebrated their electoral victory by smashing the windows of Mexican, Moslem and Jewish shops, restaurants and department stores, an indication of things to come.

Now, for the floundering American democracy, the clock was ticking and time was on Trump ‘s side.


Simply adapted with word replacement of “Hitler” with “Trump.”
Adapted from “Germans Elect Nazis” The History Place. The rise of Adolf Hitler.   http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/elect.htm

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He’s not going away. Get used to it. Take 2

(One joy of writing like this is the ability to copy what happens during every NFL game: “Upon further review…” and edit. That’s what I’e done here.)

Over a year ago I wrote that the presidential election would eventually come down to answering a simple question: “Do you dislike Hillary Clinton more than you fear Donald Trump?”

Well, we’re here now and, at the risk of violating a longstanding personal rule (Rule #1 Overconfidence can defeat you) come January, Hillary Clinton is going to become our 35th president and our first woman president.

But here’s the rub: While a majority of American’s will celebrate, millions of our fellow citizens will lose.

And even if Donald Trump disappears from television (he won’t), somewhere around 40% of America’s voters aren’t going anywhere. They’ll go back to their pre-Trump lives; home, work, family, friends and jobs. They will return to whatever their normal is all about with one big difference.

They’ll be really, really pissed-off.

So it’s going to be our responsibility to help them detox from the spiked Trump labeled KoolAid. For the sake of our country, we’ll need to help them come out from the fear and darkness of Trump’s cult. And it’s not going to be easy.

From Trump Tower or some Trump labeled golf course, the failed campaign leaders will be fighting like made to keep their people under control. They’ll make Senator Mitch McConnell’s 2008 election night pledge to “Make Barack Obama a one term president” seem quaint. They’ve already started pushing their supporter’s “dislike” of soon to be President Hillary Clinton into explosive and sometimes violent “hatred.”

Trump’s speeches are laying the groundwork for it. He’s getting his supporters primed to explain his embarrassing loss as the result of a nationwide Clinton-directed conspiracy to “rig” the election against him. After all, he’s Donald Trump. The “winner.”  He can’t just “lose.”

You can see the early signs of a Trump ”enemies list” taking shape: media figures, Republican officeholders identified as “traitors,” political operatives, opposition pundits and melting pot Americans: Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians, LGBTQ Americans…and Jews; they always get around to Jews.

I wish I knew what to do about the harm that Donald Trump and his buddies are doing to our country. But I don’t.

 What do we do when 40% of our fellow citizens believe this election is “rigged,” that every unflattering fact about Trump is just a “lie” and the news media is part of that  “conspiracy” to prevent him from winning? What do we do when entire segments of our society are vilified and blamed for all of our problems?

I don’t know how to answer those questions, but I believe finding one starts with opening our eyes so we can see that none of this is new. You can see validation with any American minority population past and current. We’ve had ongoing outbursts of anger and hate before in the United States but nothing of this magnitude.

But the world has. And still does in

It is too easy to invoke the names of  dangerous, delusional and evil men who, rightly so, should never be tossed about carelessly. But I believe we are seeing the European history of the 1930’s, that those men created, being repeated here in 21st century America.

Author Naomi Wolf has much more in-depth thoughts along these lines that pre-date Trump and the current situation.

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“Trump” isn’t the problem anymore…

Donald Trump, in my opinion, is no longer the problem.

He remains narcissistic, of course, and may have a personality disorder as so many Beltway folks believe.

But now is not the time to get all worked up over whether he’s saying he has “regrets” instead of putting on his big-boy pants and apologizing. We have much bigger problems to contend with. Trump can no longer be relied upon to shoot his mouth off and push more and more voters away from.

And you don’t have to be a CableTV talking head to figure this one out. 

Just look at Trump’s new “optics:” 

They’re staging meetings that mimic what presidential Cabinet  meetings look like on TV. Huge conference table. White guys in suits sitting there focused on Trump who is in the “power position” middle of the table. He’s framed by a backdrop of the campaign’s “Trump/Pence” sign and flags on either side.Trump-Cabinet

They’re now introducing variations based on what race/ethnicity the participants are. A recent “meeting” on Hispanics had Mr. Trump surrounded by Latinos. Another featured Black men. They may eventually get around to a group of Women, but I’d bet we’ll see guys in “uniforms” before that. Military uniforms would be best to help fight off fear about Trump’s tiny fingers so close to setting off a nuclear war, but cops would work too. 

Trump-TeleprompterThey’ve got him reading lines off a “teleprompter,” his new handler’s way of letting him say as much craziness as he likes, but with wordsmithing done by political pros who know how to make that stuff sound well, “crazy.” It will even  sound intelligent, reasonable to nearly half (but, please God, not one vote more) of our fellow citizens.

Someone over at “Trump Tower” was smart enough grab hold of the Louisiana tragedy, stick Trump on his plane and boogey on down to get photo and video of him being “presidentially empathic.” Or at least as much as he’s capable of acting, while giving some cash to the recovery effort. But someone over there took those conventional  “optics” one better by sending  a semi-truck filled with stuff flood victims would need and Trump personally handing things over to them.Trump-Louis

This stuff has fingerprints all over it. And they don’t belong to the newest campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. Don’t get me wrong, she’s good, very good. But not this good. This good requires a “producer.”

Like the man who most recently turned “news” into part entertainment, part glitz and a few facts mixed together topped with a right-wing slant nearly propaganda. And they called it FOX.

Roger Ailes, as luck would have it, was suddenly available to Trump as a unpaid “adviser.” I suspect that the women over at FOX who outed the ‘ole lecher for his years of sexual harassment weren’t counting on him walking out the door with millions of dollars and a direct line to a presidential candidate.

To be fair, some might argue that it’s Trump’s other “Roger,” Roger Stone who’s crafting this stuff. But this material has too much finesse for Stone. He’s a sneaky S.O.B. who’s handywork  is littered across years of politics. But compared to Ailes, Stone is just a few steps above college pranksters.

But anyone who is paying attention knows that the “big brain” behind all of this is Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon. He’s who replaced Paul Manafort who has been busy trying to do personal damage control since being outed as a PR hack for the Russians.

Bannon is the man behind the “Trump ideology.” To get a much more complete understanding of Bannon than I can provide right now, just Google him. As you read about him keep this in mind: This is the man who is tube feeding the Republican Party Nominee for President of the United States Donald J. Trump. And when you start thinking this can’t be happening, it is.


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Comparing Clinton and Trump

Early in the campaign year I said that, in my opinion, the choice would eventually come down to a simple one that each of us must make:

“Do I dislike Hillary Clinton more than I’m afraid of Donald Trump?”

But as it turns out, that was a “false equivalency.

Yes, a whole lot of people don’t like Hillary Clinton. And when you boil down all the reasons they can be fairly classified as “serious.”  Even very “serious.”

But Donald Trump is in a class of his own, unprecedented in our history. Sure, we’ve had assholes running for president before this. There’s been no shortage of narcissism either. And I was perfectly happy with that comparison between the two.

But that’s not what we’re dealing with. This guy is dangerous because he doesn’t have a clue about what it means for the President of the United States having control of this country’s nuclear arsenal.

Trump, at age 70, is only 3 years older than I am. So I am absolutely sure that he was in school during the Cold War when we weren’t practicing “fire drills.” They were teaching us what to do if the President of the United States responded to a real nuclear war attack.

The “President.” And the only thing standing between Trump and the White House is us.

In my opinion, that’s the real choice we have to make. And nothing real or imagined that Hillary Clinton has done, even comes close to that.

So, I might not like Hillary Clinton’s finger on a computer keyboard. But I am absolutely terrified of Donald Trump carrying the nuclear codes in his pocket.

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Donald Trump and News?

Today’s ( June 8, 2016) Editorial page of the Arizona Republic nearly made me cry. One after another, editorial writers whose opinions I trust defended the media’s culpability in the creation of Donald Trump. If I can summarize their responses, it seemed to come down to the addict’s plea that they “couldn’t help themselves.”
Trump was “news.” Why? Because he was a car crash or burning house or even, in Arizona only, rain.
Some suggested they couldn’t help themselves because Trump was something “unique” in recent American politics in his ability to manipulate the media. Really? In all fairness, that may just suggest the addiction has been made worse by “reality TV,” in which there is nothing real at all. Or, more probably, a definition of “news” that has morphed out of control as “journalism” has been all but devoured by “business.”
There was a time, not all that long ago, when “news is what I say it is,” was the mantra of professional journalists who took their First Amendment “freedom of the press” responsibilities seriously. Sure, politicians and others whose feet were held to the fire or exposed for who and what they really were, screamed bloody murder. But journalists were backed up by their editors and publishers. The Washington Post’s refusal to collapse under pressure from the Nixon White House is a nice, recent example.
But the core problem now isn’t that journalists are being pressured, its that they have succumbed to pressure that defines news as “what makes money.”
This has been coming for a long time and those now in the profession might be excused for simply not putting the pieces together that stretch back a couple of generations before their time,  but for which there is plenty of documentation — even popular films.
Senator Joesph McCarthy comes to mind given his Trumpian ability to manipulate the press into the communist scare that even infected newsrooms and saw journalists chewed up by the witch-hunts. Famously, he was taken on, and taken apart, by Edward R. Murrow and his team at CBS news.
In more recent times, the Trump prototype was former Alabama Governor, and chief bigot of his time, George Wallace. Wallace is the Southern governor who made a national name for himself by defending segregation and the so-called seperate-but-equal slogan bigots had adopted when federal civil rights law was being enforced.
The New York Times carried a recent OpEd by Dan T. Carter a professor emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina. He makes the connection between the manipulation of the media by Wallace and Donald Trump crystal clear. When Trump pounds away with his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” it might make for good journalism to find out what the “again” piece really means before its too late.
Trump is reportedly coming to Phoenix next week. Unless something changes, quickly, news consumers will get another helping of car wrecks and burning houses. Unless it rains.
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