$15/hr federal minimum wage — truly a modest proposal

You can almost do the math in your head. $7.25 an hour times forty hours: $290 a week. $15 an hour times 40: $600. Raising the federal minimum wage to a modest living wage, we are told by Trump’s party (and at least two selected Democrats) would somehow be calamitous.

The Senate parliamentarian advised Democrats yesterday that raising the federal minimum wage by reconciliation (which requires 51 votes) as part of their $1.9 trillion pandemic relief/stimulus program is a violation of the Senate’s arcane rules [1]. There was no such ruling, of course, when Trump’s GOP, in a 51-49 vote, gave a similar sum to our richest families, partnerships and corporations in tax give backs in December, 2017. If there was, nobody mentioned it, it derailed nothing.

In the richest country in the world, our lowest paid workers are currently free to work full-time and live in poverty. How is paying workers a modest living wage controversial?

If the real concern is bankrupting small businesses that will be unable to make payroll, there are ways to subsidize those businesses to keep them solvent and profitable. Government support to help small businesses who would be burdened by paying a living wage to their workers would be similar to, and benefit many millions more than, the massive subsidies our government already gives to highly profitable fossil fuel conglomerates and other corporate beneficiaries of taxpayer generosity. But concern for small business is not the real concern here, folks.

It’s a hard to understand the rationale of those who don’t want America’s poorest working people to be able to afford clothing, shelter, healthy food and health care. I don’t understand it as anything more than an expression of disdain by the born-comfortable for anybody who was not prudent enough to be born into reasonable financial circumstances. The children of the poor in America have steeper odds of ever escaping poverty than poor kids in most other wealthy nations, plus they and their parents are routinely vilified as lazy freeloaders who refuse to do the impossible– “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.

How does the existence of millions of full-time workers who struggle to support themselves and their children, even if they work two 40 hour jobs a week, help anyone? How did slavery help the masses of American workers? Yet, there would be a long, bloody fight to the death to preserve the Peculiar Institution. This fight over a living wage seems to be part of that same struggle, a vicious and well-funded fight to benefit a small group of highly privileged individuals.

The parliamentarian’s ruling yesterday took the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, West Virgina’s Joe Manchin, off the hook, for the moment. His vote is needed to pass any law or confirm any nominee in the divided Senate, even 51-50. Manchin seems to be enjoying his new status as a kingmaker. He announced the other day that he opposes the $15 dollar minimum wage, advocating for a compromise $11 an hour federal minimum wage. Only 4 dollars difference, only $160 a week. Why bitch about $640 a month? Show some class! Let’s show our bipartisan spirit and compromise, y’all. Where I come from, $11 is a lot of money!

Where you’re going, Joe, $11 won’t even buy you a blowjob from one of Satan’s lowliest.

I didn’t forget about Joe Manchin’s fellow conservative Democratic kingmaker, Arizona’s senior senator (in office since 2109), Kyrsten Sinema [2], I just can’t think of anything the staunch defender of the filibuster might try to buy for $11. Maybe a Big Mac, super-sized fries, a giant Coke and a nice dessert from a good bakery.

In other news:

Lynch mob victim and former Senator Al Franken cracked “I like Ted Cruz more than anybody in the Senate does– and I HATE Ted Cruz.” Here’s Ted, doing thirty seconds of standup for his peeps:

[1]

The Senate parliamentarian ruled that a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 does not fit the complicated rules that govern budget bills in the Senate. House Democrats included the measure in a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is expected to be the first major legislative act for President Biden.

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[2]

from: Kyrsten Sinema’s Self-Defeating, Nonsensical Defense of the Filibuster: The Arizona senator is almost single-handedly keeping Democrats from wielding their majority power—and the party may well lose that power as a result.

This year, all around the country, Republican state lawmakers are pushing an alarming array of bills that are designed to make it harder to vote. They’re targeting absentee voting, early voting, voting by mail, and virtually every other means to cast a ballot. Though their stated justification is the illusory threat of voter fraud, the goal is to reduce turnout in ways that suppress Democratic votes. In short, it’s a cynical move against basic tenets of American democracy.

Democrats have an answer to this challenge. For the past two years, they’ve put forward H.R. 1, a sweeping bill to reform American elections. It would enact automatic voter registration nationwide, expand early voting and vote-by-mail, and more. And it doesn’t stand a chance of passage, as long as the Senate filibuster remains intact.

The case against the filibuster has been made ad nauseam lately—including in these pages, by me and others. But there’s a reason the argument has become unavoidable: The filibuster is the most decisive force in American governance and policymaking today. It decides—by virtue of requiring 60 votes to pass most legislation, rather than simply a 51-vote majority—the outcome of countless policy debates before they can even begin.

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Black Snake vs. White Snake

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall cautioned those who look at skin color as an indication of a person’s views on social justice to remember that a black snake will bite you just as hard as a white snake. Case in point, this extreme right-wing motherfucker:

His warning to his fellow justices, who recently declined to hear appeals of several baseless Trump/RNC hypothetical voting fraud cases, presumably was that since the Supreme Court failed to act there will be millions of votes cast by angry Black people intent on making his side, electorally, the minority party that it is. They will vote by mail, they will march from churches to cast early ballots on Sunday, they will go door to door and organize to bring out a tidal wave of first time voters and even the most surgical GOP gerrymandering in the world, and the strictest voter suppression laws (GOP lawmakers in 43 states have already proposed more than 250 in the first 56 days of 2021) may not prevent majoritarian hoards from voting out Trump loyalist candidates who serve the greater good that Thomas views as the true America. An American meritocracy of color-blind rugged individualism, a nation where a long history of racism has no bearing on the current opportunities for, or grievances of, those long persecuted.

A longer, more detailed and legally-based description of Clarence Thomas’s warning was found in today’s New York Times, in an op-ed entitled The Supreme Court Is Not Finished With Elections [1]. In essence, the most rightwing justices seek to end the ability of state courts (elected statewide, not strictly subject to partisan gerrymandering) to overrule the will of the state legislatures (voted into office in gerrymandered districts) when it comes to state citizens’ right to vote in federal elections. You know, States’ Rights, one of the bedrocks of American conservatism.

On a note related to the many baseless Trump/RNC cases that were dismissed, many after protracted and expensive court battles, I read this late last night and said, aloud, to no-one in particular, “that’s what I’m talking about!”

Georgia lawmakers, too, are advancing measures to slash mail-in voting to protect against voter fraud, even as two counties in the Atlanta area want attorneys’ fees from Trump and the chair of the Georgia Republican Party for frivolous lawsuits designed to overturn the 2020 election. “Given the number of failed lawsuits filed by the former president and his campaign, petitioners apparently believed that they could file their baseless and legally deficient actions with impunity, with no regard for the costs extracted from the taxpayers’ coffers or the consequences to the democratic foundations of our country,” wrote lawyers for Cobb County.

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That’s what I’m talking about!

Courts often sanction lawyers for filing lawsuits that are without merit, trumped up cases brought without evidence and with the intent to harass, intimidate or otherwise use the justice system for leverage or sensationalist publicity. These lawsuits are called frivolous and the penalties courts can impose on attorneys who illegally bring such suits not based on evidence include sanctions and fines against the lawyer, subjecting the lawyer to a disciplinary hearing for filing a vexatious frivolous lawsuit and forcing the litigant who used the court as an expensive bludgeon to pay the legal fees for the person he dragged into court without a legally sustainable reason.

I’ve been wondering when one of the dozens of courts who spent valuable time and resources examining and dismissing dozens of baseless Trump/RNC post-election challenges, and the literally hundreds brought before the election with the intent of making it harder for science believers to vote safely during a pandemic, would sanction someone for subjecting the court, the jurisdiction they were suing and the taxpayers, to the time, anxiety, great expense, of a shameless propaganda spectacle, based in speculation, unsubstantiated allegations and the fear-mongering that these frivolous lawsuits caused. You go, Cobb County!

Hopefully there will be dozens more of these filings, and court-ordered repayment of the massive taxpayer resources wasted to defend against these voter suppression attempts by the most unpopular (and most powerful within his minority party, go figure…) ex-president in American history.

In other news, yesterday President Biden signed an executive order saying, in essence, “I’ve got your ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ right here, asshole.” This order reverses a Trump/Barr policy memo that designated jurisdictions that did not unequivocally support Trump as ‘anarchist’ and attempted to deprive us of federal funds. Presidential in the coolest American sense of the word, particularly during a deadly pandemic, that Memorandum of September 2, 2020 (Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients of Federal Funds That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities).

Jesus, I hope the next Attorney General will not be a partisan hack/attorney/wingman for the president like that goddamned Obama-sycophant Eric Holder! (As one of the GOP Senators, probably Lyin’ Ted, suggested Garland might be). Oh, speaking of Lyin’ Ted, this gave me a chuckle:

Even Republicans who may vote against him praised Garland.

“In two-plus decades on the court, you have built a reputation for integrity and for setting aside partisan interests in following the law,” said Cruz, before noting that the attorney general job is different.

(from “Clinton News Network” report on Merrick Garland confirmation hearing).

Also, time to update, google:

The 84th and current Attorney General is Jeff Sessions, who assumed the office on February 9, 2017. The attorney general serves as a member of the Cabinet of the President of the United States and is the only cabinet officer who does not have the title “Secretary of”..


U.S. Attorney General | C-SPAN.orgwww.c-span.org › organization › Attorney-General

[1]

Remember Bush v. Gore, the case that decided the 2000 presidential election, in which five justices voted to overturn the Florida Supreme Court’s handling of a statewide recount? That decision was based on a theory of equal protection so wacky that the majority opinion insisted that “our consideration is limited to the present circumstances” — that is to say, don’t dare invoke this poor excuse for an opinion as a precedent.

That didn’t stop Justice Thomas from citing Bush v. Gore in his dissenting opinion on Monday, and he did so in a particularly shameless fashion. The language he cited wasn’t even from the Bush v. Gore majority opinion, but rather from a separate concurring opinion filed in that case by only three of the majority justices, who argued that the Florida Supreme Court had violated the U.S. Constitution by substituting its will for that of the state Legislature.

Justice Thomas invoked that minority portion of the decision to assert that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was constitutionally out of bounds when, citing both the Covid-19 pandemic and the collapse of the Postal Service as its reasons, it added three postelection days for lawful receipt of mailed ballots.

He went on to warn that fraud was “more prevalent with mail-in ballots,” citing as evidence a 1994 Federal District Court case, an article in this newspaper from 2012 and the 2018 Republican ballot-harvesting fraud in North Carolina. Such occurrences, he said, raise “the likelihood that courts will be asked to adjudicate questions that go to the heart of election confidence.” This was the reason, he argued, that the Supreme Court should have taken and decided the Pennsylvania cases before the next election cycle.

In his inventory of ballot fraud, Justice Thomas of course could not refer to fraud in the 2020 election, because there wasn’t any. Not a problem:

We are fortunate that many of the cases we have seen alleged only improper rule changes, not fraud. But that observation provides only small comfort. An election free from strong evidence of systemic fraud is not alone sufficient for election confidence. Also important is the assurance that fraud will not go undetected.

In other words, Justice Thomas would have it both ways: If there was fraud, the court needed to intervene, and if there was no fraud, the court needed to intervene because the fraud might simply be undetected. Despite his disclaimer, the entire structure of his opinion, suggesting that something bad had happened even if no one could prove it, is fairly read as validating the essence of the Trump narrative.

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What color snake do YOU prefer to be bitten by?

This explains why the doctor was wearing his mask as a chin diaper

I had a consultation with a high-powered specialist who suddenly had some urgent texts to attend to. While he was tapping his phone I noticed this mug full of pens on his desk, snapped a photo. He smiled when I told him I had to send this to a doctor friend.

“Are you a fan?” he asked with a smile.

“I am absolutely not a fan,” I said, perhaps a bit too frankly.

The smile left his face and there was a moment of silence between us.

In that moment I suddenly understood why he was wearing his mask on his chin.

Lying Hides Shame — at least for a time

It seems too basic to point out here, but it’s worth a thought, I think. Many lies are told primarily to avoid shame.

For example, if I lost my job, due to petty embezzlement that was discovered by my friend Dave who had hired me recently, I’d feel ashamed. My wife would have a shit fit and it would ruin our weekend. So I tell her that Dave was forced to reluctantly downsize on Friday, and since I was the last hired, I had to be let go. The guy hired right before me also got the ax from Dave, who apologized and promised to rehire us as soon as business picks up.

My wife will be sympathetic instead of angry, my firing had nothing to do with me, nothing at all. She might be suspicious, since I lost my last two jobs due to petty embezzlement and lied about each of those, and she’d be within her rights to rage at me for another lie to cover another petty theft from my boss, but I can always convince her of a lie she wants to believe. Her short-term sympathy, gained by this harmless lie, will be worth it, especially since she’ll be mad as hell when she finds out in either case. By the time Dave calls my wife on Monday, snarling about my betrayal (he had done me a solid by hiring me, I did kind of betray him) and threatening to have me prosecuted if my wife doesn’t repay the money I stole, I will have had a peaceful, shame-free weekend basking in my wife’s sympathy. Better than nothing.

If you do something you’re ashamed of, you will often feel a strong need to deny it. There are various ways to do this, but if it takes a straightforward lie, so be it. Lying is better than feeling shame, by a mile. If you’re caught in the lie, well, shit happens. You’ll figure out the next lie as you need it.

I’m sure shame comes into the Big Lies too, especially ones based on national humiliation. Are the lies about a rigged, stolen election, and the $50,000,000 ad budget to promote the lie and a well-planned, well-financed ($3,500,000 that we know of) attempted insurrection based on that infuriating lie, based on shame? I suppose we could say so. If you claim, before and after two elections, that the election (even the one you legally won, in spite of an almost 3,000,000 “popular vote” loss) was marred by massive fraud — and you produce no evidence of fraud, beyond the 1 case out of every 2 million votes found by the Koch-backed Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database — does that indicate shame? After all, you were raised to believe that there are only two kinds of people, winners and losers. You are a winner. The only way you can lose is if some powerful force lies to cheat you. That’s how the victorious German army “lost” the First World War, after all.

If a lie is to gain a foothold in the minds of millions, it must be undeviatingly insisted on. Publicly and privately, it must be repeated over and over. Asked point blank if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won a fair election, supporters of the president’s baseless claim that radical Democrats stole it will point to a swarm of ornate talking points. Ask them on national television: Yes or No, motherfucker, did Biden win a fair election?

You can hear their straight answers to this direct question, from the intellectuals of the GOP, men like Senators Rand Paul, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Rep. Steve Scalise, the head of CPAC:

Well, you see, that’s the kind of question you people always ask, and next you’re going to call me a liar, which is all you liars know how to do. But as even you have to admit, the real question is why the signatures of Black inner city voters were not verified as the state laws require, in state after state, city after city, or why millions of ballots, cast by mail– against state law, were accepted DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION. The real question is why illegal ballots were fraudulently harvested and counted, millions and millions of unverified Muslim, Mexican and Transsexual votes– and countless child-blood drinkers’ ballots. The real question is “fuck you, you fucking fuck!”

Yesterday’s hearing about the federal government’s unaccountable failure to mobilize enough police presence to prevent the January 6th insurrectionist riot at the Capitol featured this moving testimony from U.S. Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza. She describes, among other horrors, the rioters’ release of military grade CS gas, inside the building, mixed with fire extinguisher spray deployed by rioters, that resulted in chemical burns to her face:

Senator Ron Johnson [1], who comes from Wisconsin, reads into the record the alternative fact that it was not Trump supporters who clashed with police, sprayed them with bear spray, overran the barricades, crushed them in doorways, beat the police with flagpoles, carried Trump and Confederate flags into the Capitol, released poison gas, spread feces over paintings and statues of famous Democrats — it was, literally, a false flag operation! The violent ones were all antifa provocateurs! The Trump supporters were all peaceful — it was the outside agitators who made them look like an ugly mob who wanted to kill Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi!!!! Posing as Trump supporters, who were, to a man and woman, as peaceful as baby lambs, even as they trampled one of their own to death, her “Don’t Tread on Me” flag notwithstanding.

Where did Johnson, who had previously argued that the mob was not “armed” because most of them had no firearms (military grade CS gas, bear spray, improvised clubs and spears, brass knuckles, knives, tactical gear– not “arms”, snowflakes…), get this account that he read into the official record? A rightwing website, reporting on a single source who made this extremely far-fetched claim — he read directly from their post.

Prove Johnson knew he was lying. Fucking prove it, you fucking liars!

Is Ron Johnson publicly spreading this lie, on some level, because he’s ashamed? Were the GOP 140 Representatives who voted to block the certification of Biden Electors? Hawley? Cruz? Tuberville? The rest of the Senate Voter Integrity Skeptic caucus? Impossible to say, really. That’s what Ethics Investigations are designed to find out.

[1]

Saying a long goodbye to Trumpism

I’m trying to turn the page, so to speak, and not tune in on Trump-related news, but it won’t stop for a while (at least until he’s locked up somewhere for any of his numerous crimes) and Sekhnet is addicted to breaking news and follows it daily. So during lunch I got to catch Amy Klobachar and her Republican counterpart at the conclusion of the hearing into why nobody in charge did anything to get reinforcements rushed in while the Capitol was being overrun by heavily armed Q and MAGA maggots (why virtually all 800 beloved, defecation-smearing Trump patriots were allowed to leave peacefully afterwards is still a mystery nobody seems to be touching… I guess the answer is too obvious, the president told them he loved them, and that he felt their pain).  

When committee chairperson Klobachar was done with her closing statement, the Republican committee co-chair thanked her and said he enjoyed the bipartisan hearing. He also thanked the witnesses, for appearing voluntarily and answering honestly, as opposed to (I’m thinking) his Congressional colleagues who threatened to be hostile witnesses who’d use litigation to tie up their subpoenas to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial for years and prolong Trump’s “unconstitutional” “partisan” impeachment circus until their leader’s 2024 campaign was fully underway.

Bipartisanism 101.    Narcissistic symbiosis…

A friend sent me a great print interview with the brilliant Dr. Bandy Lee, a principled forensic psychiatrist I’ve long admired. Lee’s answers nailed several key points about a dangerously impulsive demagogue and his followers succinctly and clearly enough for anyone but a MAGA believer to understand.

The same friend had earlier sent me the results of a recent “study” that found (surprise!) that people who are slower to make neural connections and have a harder time seeing subtle patterns, points and nuance are more easily drawn to extremism, the black and white, Us vs. Them, world of autocracy, jingoism and racism. With that study in the background, this answer is the clearest, shortest explanation of the phenomenon of our boy Trumpie and his mass of very fine, loyal-to-the-death peeps that I’ve ever seen:

What attracts people to Trump? What is their animus or driving force?

The reasons are multiple and varied, but in my recent public-service book, Profile of a Nation, I have outlined two major emotional drives: narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis. Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship.


Shared psychosis”—which is also called “folie à millions” [“madness for millions”] when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions”—refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals. The treatment is removal of exposure.

The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure.

 The description above also fits any cult, abusive marriage or other one-sided power relationship, for that matter.  The leader needs the followers as much as the follower needs the leader, for the deepest and most compelling of psychological reasons.   Narcissistic Symbiosis!   She lays it out in so few words — inner lack-of self-worth, grandiosity (eternal need for praise) meets injured, stressed yearning for a protective parent. 

Also, read Dr. Lee’s great dismissal of the “Goldwater Rule” (shrinks are prohibited from assessing even the craziest public officials unless they’ve first done an in-person evaluation — in which case medical confidentiality rules would seemingly be implicated). The Goldwater (“extremism in defense of liberty is no vice”) Rule is always cited by media pundits and politicians as some holy grail, like a well-settled, universally accepted law that only cranks and criminals try to violate.   It’s a rule made by a conservative professional association — not actually binding on anyone but its voluntary members. 

Groups like the American Psychiatric Association, promulgators of the Goldwater Rule, always remind me that doctors in Hitler’s Germany were the first professional group to achieve perfect Aryan/Nazi membership, under gleichshaltung [“co-ordination”, the process of Nazification by which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party successively established a system of totalitarian control. Party membership and an oath of personal loyalty to the leader were required to practice any profession or hold any office, just like in the defunct Trump administration.

Instead of holding hearings where fine Ever-Trumpers like seditionist Lyin’ Ted Cruz and fist-pumping insurrection-supporter Josh Hawley can pontificate and create soundbytes for extremist media, just set out the details of the long Trump purge, the constant humiliations, vindictive firings and forced resignations, in Trump’s chaotic administration– the replacement of long-time officials of some expertise with ever less qualified loyalists with a proven willingness to do anything their leader demanded. Then, is it really necessary to hold a hearing to figure out why there was no immediate, coordinated response to protect Congress members and their staffs when the Capitol was attacked by a violent, armed crowd waving Trump flags, and Confederate battle flags, and other signs and symbols of resistance to the duly elected government?  The president, depressed that a rigged election had been stolen from him (his rigging didn’t work!) was finally enjoying something, live on TV. Seemed like a sin for any of his appointees and other loyal underlings to ruin the poor guy’s fun!

Well, as Biden said the other day at a press conference — five years of Trump on the news every minute of every day is enough, I’m done talking about him.   I hope…

Here’s Doctor Bandy Lee, from last month’s Scientific American interview:

The ‘Shared Psychosis’ of Donald Trump and His Loyalists


Forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee explains the outgoing president’s pathological appeal and how to wean people from it

Tanya Lewis on January 11, 2021
The violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building last week, incited by President Donald Trump, serves as the grimmest moment in one of the darkest chapters in the nation’s history. Yet the rioters’ actions—and Trump’s own role in, and response to, them—come as little surprise to many, particularly those who have been studying the president’s mental fitness and the psychology of his most ardent followers since he took office.


One such person is Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and president of the World Mental Health Coalition.* Lee led a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and other specialists who questioned Trump’s mental fitness for office in a book that she edited called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. In doing so, Lee and her colleagues strongly rejectedthe American Psychiatric Association’s modification of a 1970s-era guideline,known as the Goldwater rule, that discouraged psychiatrists from giving a professional opinion about public figures who they have not examined in person. “Whenever the Goldwater rule is mentioned, we should refer back to the Declaration of Geneva, which mandates that physicians speak up against destructive governments,” Lee says. “This declaration was created in response to the experience of Nazism.”


Lee recently wrote Profile of a Nation: Trump’s Mind, America’s Soul, a psychological assessment of the president against the backdrop of his supporters and the country as a whole. These insights are now taking on renewed importance as a growing number of current and former leaders call for Trump to be impeached. On January 9 Lee and her colleagues at the World Mental Health Coalition put out a statement calling for Trump’s immediate removal from office.

Scientific American asked Lee to comment on the psychology behind Trump’s destructive behavior, what drives some of his followers—and how to free people from his grip when this damaging presidency ends.
[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]


What attracts people to Trump? What is their animus or driving force?

The reasons are multiple and varied, but in my recent public-service book, Profile of a Nation, I have outlined two major emotional drives: narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis. Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship.


Shared psychosis”—which is also called “folie à millions” [“madness for millions”] when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions”—refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals. The treatment is removal of exposure.

Why does Trump himself seem to gravitate toward violence and destruction?

Destructiveness is a core characteristic of mental pathology, whether directed toward the self or others. First, I wish to clarify that those with mental illness are, as a group, no more dangerous than those without mental illness. When mental pathology is accompanied by criminal-mindedness, however, the combination can make individuals far more dangerous than either alone.In my textbook on violence, I emphasize the symbolic nature of violence and how it is a life impulse gone awry. Briefly, if one cannot have love, one resorts to respect. And when respect is unavailable, one resorts to fear. Trump is now living through an intolerable loss of respect: rejection by a nation in his election defeat. Violence helps compensate for feelings of powerlessness, inadequacy and lack of real productivity.


Do you think Trump is truly exhibiting delusional or psychotic behavior? Or is he simply behaving like an autocrat making a bald-faced attempt to hold onto his power?

I believe it is both. He is certainly of an autocratic disposition because his extreme narcissism does not allow for equality with other human beings, as democracy requires. Psychiatrists generally assess delusions through personal examination, but there is other evidence of their likelihood. First, delusions are more infectious than strategic lies, and so we see, from their sheer spread, that Trump likely truly believes them. Second, his emotional fragility, manifested in extreme intolerance of realities that do not fit his wishful view of the world, predispose him to psychotic spirals. Third, his public record includes numerous hours of interviews and interactions with other people—such as the hour-long one with the Georgia secretary of state—that very nearly confirm delusion, as my colleague and I discovered in a systematic analysis.


Where does the hatred some of his supporters display come from? And what can we do to promote healing?

In Profile of a Nation, I outline the many causes that create his followership. But there is important psychological injury that arises from relative—not absolute—socioeconomic deprivation. Yes, there is great injury, anger and redirectable energy for hatred, which Trump harnessed and stoked for his manipulation and use. The emotional bonds he has created facilitate shared psychosis at a massive scale. It is a natural consequence of the conditions we have set up. For healing, I usually recommend three steps: (1) Removal of the offending agent (the influential person with severe symptoms). (2) Dismantling systems of thought control—common in advertising but now also heavily adopted by politics. And (3) fixing the socioeconomic conditions that give rise to poor collective mental health in the first place.


What do you predict he will do after his presidency?

I again emphasize in Profile of a Nation that we should consider the president, his followers and the nation as an ecology, not in isolation. Hence, what he does after this presidency depends a great deal on us. This is the reason I frantically wrote the book over the summer: we require active intervention to stop him from achieving any number of destructive outcomes for the nation, including the establishment of a shadow presidency. He will have no limit, which is why I have actively advocated for removal and accountability, including prosecution. We need to remember that he is more a follower than a leader, and we need to place constraints from the outside when he cannot place them from within.


What do you think will happen to his supporters?

If we handle the situation appropriately, there will be a lot of disillusionment and trauma. And this is all right—they are healthy reactions to an abnormal situation. We must provide emotional support for healing, and this includes societal support, such as sources of belonging and dignity. Cult members and victims of abuse are often emotionally bonded to the relationship, unable to see the harm that is being done to them. After a while, the magnitude of the deception conspires with their own psychological protections against pain and disappointment. This causes them to avoid seeing the truth. And the situation with Trump supporters is very similar. The danger is that another pathological figure will come around and entice them with a false “solution” that is really a harnessing of this resistance.


How can we avert future insurrection attempts or acts of violence?

Violence is the end product of a long process, so prevention is key. Structural violence, or inequality, is the most potent stimulant of behavioral violence. And reducing inequality in all forms—economic, racial and gender—will help toward preventing violence. For prevention to be effective, knowledge and in-depth understanding cannot be overlooked—so we can anticipate what is coming, much like the pandemic. The silencing of mental health professionals during the Trump era, mainly through a politically driven distortion of an ethical guideline, was catastrophic, in my view, in the nation’s failure to understand, predict and prevent the dangers of this presidency.


Do you have any advice for people who do not support Trump but have supporters of him or “mini-Trumps” in their lives?

This is often very difficult because the relationship between Trump and his supporters is an abusive one, as an author of the 2017 book I edited, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, presciently pointed out. When the mind is hijacked for the benefit of the abuser, it becomes no longer a matter of presenting facts or appealing to logic. Removing Trump from power and influence will be healing in itself. But, I advise, first, not to confront [his supporters’] beliefs, for it will only rouse resistance. Second, persuasion should not be the goal but change of the circumstance that led to their faulty beliefs. Third, one should maintain one’s own bearing and mental health, because people who harbor delusional narratives tend to bulldoze over reality in their attempt to deny that their own narrative is false. As for mini-Trumps, it is important, above all, to set firm boundaries, to limit contact or even to leave the relationship, if possible. Because I specialize in treating violent individuals, I always believe there is something that can be done to treat them, but they seldom present for treatment unless forced.

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Fair is fair!

The Supreme Court ruled today that Mr. Trump’s long hidden financial records, including his tax returns, must be turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney to be presented to the Grand Jury looking into allegations that Trump committed financial crimes. It has taken only four or five months, since lower federal courts rejected Trump’s lawyers’ idiotic, increasingly weak arguments that now private citizen Trump still has an absolute right to hide anything that might prove incriminating. Only a few short months for the Supreme Court to state the obvious, in accordance with its own opinion on the same matter issued in July. Here’s the NY Times today:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch attempt by former President Donald J. Trump to shield his financial records, issuing a brief, unsigned order requiring Mr. Trump’s accountants to turn over his tax and other records to prosecutors in New York.

The court’s order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump, who had gone to extraordinary lengths to keep his tax returns and related documents secret. There were no dissents noted.

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Compare the deliberate speed of this decision (and the going on two years non-decision on whether it is lawful for a president to instruct former subordinates — Don McGahn, John Bolton [1], et al — to defy lawful Congressional subpoenas) with the overnight overturning of the stay of execution of a psychotic federal death row inmate in the days before Trump reluctantly left office after a rigged, stolen election deprived him of his rightful second term as POTUS.

The reasons for this are clear.

In one case, we have the public’s right to know if the president is a long-time felon and the extent of his seeming corruption. A decision like that takes time, and requires extending multiple bites at the legal apple, and every available appeal, to protect Trump’s presumption of innocence. In the case of an immediate decision on state killing, we have the president’s undisputed right to expedite the execution of any condemned federal death row inmate, especially when he is about to leave office.

A several day stay of execution would have been fatal to the president’s unquestioned right to kill anyone he has the legal power to kill. Lisa Montgomery and the others he chose to kill had to die! [2] Imagine the harm to all of us if Biden had extended the stay of execution, or, God forbid, commuted the tortured, heavily medicated murderer’s death sentence to life in prison without parole!

Lisa Montgomery, dead of lethal injection hours after Supreme Court instantly vacated the stay of execution, a week before Trump left office

[1]

You remember the patriotic Bolton, the hero who joined McGahn’s federal law suit to determine whether he had to obey a congressional subpoena, and, months after Trump’s first impeachment, published his tell-all book about the many reasons Trump should have been removed from office

John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, says in his new book that the House in its impeachment inquiry should have investigated President Trump not just for pressuring Ukraine but for a variety of instances when he sought to use trade negotiations and criminal investigations to further his political interests.

Mr. Bolton describes several episodes where the president expressed a willingness to halt criminal investigations “to, in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked,” citing cases involving major firms in China and Turkey. “The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept,” Mr. Bolton writes, saying that he reported his concerns to Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mr. Bolton also adds a striking new accusation by describing how Mr. Trump overtly linked tariff talks with China to his own political fortunes by asking President Xi Jinping to buy American agricultural products to help him win farm states in this year’s election. Mr. Trump, he writes, was “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.” Mr. Bolton said that Mr. Trump “stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.”

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[2]

Montgomery was the 11th prisoner to be killed by lethal injection since Donald Trump resumed federal executions last July after a 17-year hiatus. The president is an ardent supporter of capital punishment.

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Anti-worker propaganda from the world’s richest man

Can’t even read the aggravating New York Times these days without pandemic-profiteer Jeff Bezos continually sticking his expensive free speech in your face (he has the most insistently intrusive ads I’ve seen anywhere, this one popped up over and over as I scrolled through the online NY Times).

First, more than doubling the federal minimum wage, a radical idea only a few years ago, seems only fair. It’s not like the $600/week for a full-time worker is going to make anyone middle class, but the $15/hr. wage will lift millions out of working poverty. Imagine the difference between making $290 a week and $600 a week. If there is concern about bankrupting small businesses, there can be a tax adjustment for small employers, or some other offset, but none of that has anything to do with the Bezos ad about why he’s supporting this pay increase for our lowest paid citizens.

I guess it’s the same reason Bezos hired some heavy hitters from the stable of Charles Koch to fight back against the ungrateful Amazon sweat-shop workers in Alabama, and elsewhere, who are trying to organize to attack Bezos’s absolute right to have a union-free workforce.

Probably the same reason for the massive public relations effort to villainize the fired New York City Amazon warehouse worker who, during the early days of the pandemic, when the virus was ravaging New York City for the first time, organized a strike seeking safety measures in the warehouse he worked in.

Amazon employees who go public with their complaints are likely to lose their jobs. The corporation prohibits its workers from commenting publicly on any aspect of its business, without prior approval from executives.

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It’s not as if 20,000 Amazon workers came down with COVID-19 (that number comes from Amazon itself) or a bunch died of it (nobody can prove those six deaths by May had anything to do with infectious conditions in the crowded warehouses).

A traitorous executive at Facebook released a recording of Jeff’s fellow-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg telling Facebook executives that if the government comes after your company seeking to regulate its operations, its profits, “existential threats”, “you go to the mat” to fight those efforts. You fight like hell, with all the weapons you’ve got, or you’re not going to be one of the ten wealthiest men in the world.

When you are very, very rich, and defending your wealth with top lawyers, public relations teams and advertising is deductible as a business expense, you fight like hell with every means at your disposal not to be taken advantage of by hoards of smelly losers.

You can understand why the freedom loving owners of Texas energy providers would be against coercive regulations that could prevent them from charging $2,000 a day for electricity during a massive, deadly power outage. Supply and Demand, Free Market, motherfuckers.

So, sure, it’s good that the world’s richest man supports a minimum $30,000 a year income for full-time American workers. Nobody should be forced to work for less than that in our wealthy nation. And, yeah, Jeff has long been devoted to seeing the federal minimum wage raised to the same generous $600 a week/$31,200 annually (based on 52 weeks of work) he already voluntarily pays to the vast majority of the full-time workers in his massive workforce. God bless him for it.

Hannah Arendt on “ideology”

I just heard a great discussion with Masha Gessen about the autocrat’s (or cult leader’s) imperative to replace thought and inquiry with unthinking, unquestioning belief, based on an overarching worldview (or “ideology”). No totalitarian leader can come to power without convincing multitudes that debate based on so-called facts, truth, outmoded common agreement about empirical reality — what their eyes and ears may tell them — means nothing compared to the belief system their leader instills in them.   This destruction of belief in “fact” and its replacement with narrative-driving “alternative fact” is a precondition for any takeover by an authoritarian regime (or cult leader, though Gessen didn’t speak of cults, cults and autocracy have the same operating system).

The only sure route to the autocrat’s desired end is by instilling an “ideology,” a belief system that eliminates the need for doubt, instantly invalidates all criticism and cuts off the need for thought, replacing these things with loyal obedience to the inevitable historical imperatives dictated by ideology. The expression of ideology is often reducible to an easily remembered phrase.

Why do thousands gather on January 6th to enthusiastically support the outlandish and many times disproven proposition that there was massive voter fraud among Democrats and an illegitimate communist-puppet president is about to be sworn in? Why do 140 Representatives in the House and a dozen Senators stand to voice this baseless objection to certifying an election that was deemed fair by members of both parties and certified in all 50 states? Because tens of millions are angrily repeating these “ideologically-driven” allegations, tens of millions who voted to keep #Stop the Steal proponents in Congress, and therefore, those allegations of a rigged, stolen election might be true, must now be investigated! Before it’s too late!!!!

Here’s Hannah:

GESSEN: The way Arendt saw Hitler’s ideology – and she wrote about ideology a lot, but not in a way that you probably would intuitively imagine she wrote about ideology. She didn’t write about ideology as coherent thinking or as a system – as a worldview. She wrote about ideology as definitely a bad thing, as a kind of unthinking system.

SHULZ: (As Hannah Arendt) The last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.

GESSEN: And she broke down the word ideology into its component parts, one idea taken to its logical extreme to derive from this ideological thinking the laws of history, right? So if history is inexorably moving in that direction, then we can help history along. And so they see themselves as agents of history. So then they go start – go about exterminating the other masses because the laws of history dictate that that be done. In the case of Germany, the idea that the Aryan race would come to rule the world…

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Arendt broke down the word ideology into its component parts, one idea taken to its logical extreme to derive from this ideological thinking the laws of history.

With a client’s ideology on trial, and a sufficient number of jurors working with the defense and committed to acquittal, all a lawyer must do is show one incident where the other side is “lying” to prove his case that every enemy of his client is a fucking liar. As Mr. Trump’s lawyer, the sabbath observing David Schoen did with this arguable lie by Adam Schiff [1], who deliberately pronounced the commonly misspelled word “cavalry” in Kylie Jane Kremer’s tweet as “cavalry” [2].

You see how these filthy, lying socialist Jews do it?” asked last-minute Trump attorney David Schoen, silently, referring to the alleged trickery of his sick and dangerous co-religionist.

Of course, as any Christian knows, and any clever (or even just choleric) Jewish lawyer knows, Calvary was where Jesus Christ was crucified. So, obviously, when talking about the modern day crucifixion of Donald Trump… this Trump supporter clearly meant that the place where Jesus was crucified was on its way. Exclamation point!

You could argue, of course, that in the context of Trump’s December 19 call for a march (no mere protest rally) on January 6, retweeting his “be there, will be wild” promise, the tweet by the person Schiff deliberately and cunningly misquoted could refer to the troops Trump was calling for to march on the Capitol and Stop the Steal (which they, in fact, did).

Of course, “context” is just more lying bullshit, calculated to obstruct and distract, if there is sufficient fervor for your “ideology.” The Trump supporter’s tweet was clearly referring to Our Lord’s crucifixion, which was coming, lying libtards!!!

Meanwhile, in other news, youth around the world are suffering massively from pandemic-induced social isolation. The New York Times reports ‘What’s the point?’ Young People’s Despair Deepens as Covid-19 Crisis Drags On. We philosophical old bastards have years of experience to compare this disorienting, historically unusual situation to, a world before we were all locked down in fear of infection and death. The young have not had as much time to become this philosophical, yet.

[1]

[2]

But this [misspelling] is also a mistake that Trump himself has made. On Jan. 1, promoting the Jan. 6 rally, Trump retweeted a user who also used “calvary” — prompting Merriam-Webster to troll the president by publishing an article on the differences. “Although they begin and end with the same groups of letters, cavalry and calvary are not related in either origin or meaning,” the dictionary company wrote.

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Dream with a win-win happy ending

I woke from a dream a few weeks back with a sense of wonder about how everything worked out much better than expected throughout. I still clearly remember the dream, the kind impulse leading to oddness and incoherence, the escalating danger, the surprise happy ending. There was every reason to anticipate the worst, things looked worse at every turn — instead, it turned out well for everybody, man and beast alike.

It used to be, prior to our current bellicose, threatening, highly infectious epoch, that sometimes grim-looking situations turned out fine. The unlikely thing happened sometimes and everyone walked away relieved instead of skittering sidewise like agitated crabs on the ocean floor. In our present moment, most of our hope for this kind of mutually beneficial outcome is forgotten.

The encounter where everybody comes away better than they were before was commonly called a win-win scenario, something that is almost impossible to remember, the black and white, toxic way things are now. Surprise happy endings are really not that rare, they certainly weren’t in the past, but this dream hit me with some force, reminded me how unlikely any kind of humane resolution to anything seems in our troubled, troubling, increasingly violent times.

I generally don’t remember dreams in any detail after I’ve had them, this one stayed around for a few days afterwards, is with me now weeks later. I intended to write it out and eventually made a note in my drawing book days that I didn’t need to even look at before writing this[1]. The only detail I forgot was the owner’s threat to call the local police on me — the law and common sense being completely on his side.

I was in the large enclosed porch, or maybe an unfurnished room with floor to ceiling windows. It was in a stranger’s house, a place I wasn’t supposed to be, I was trespassing. When I passed I’d seen there was a dog in there, alone, seemingly trapped, and in some distress, the door to the room was unlocked, or at least easy enough to pop open. The dog seemed traumatized, did not approach me, but watched me, cowering. There was no food or water anywhere to be seen. I was trying to figure out a way to help the poor devil.

As I puzzled over what to do about this dog, in a place where I didn’t know anybody (it seemed to be a small seasonal community, perhaps Cape Cod, during the off-season), a guy walks in the door on the other side of the room. He’s got a dog on a leash, he’s glowering and at the same time seems slightly sheepish. He was a short, stocky black man who reminded me of Cleveland on Family Guy, only he was angry and defensive.

As I began telling him about the dog he admitted that the dog used to be his, that he’d abandoned the dog. He looked guilty when he told me that, but also determined not to take any shit from me about about it. He didn’t know why he did it and he didn’t want to talk about it, was trying to be a tough guy but was obviously hurt, somehow. I told him I wasn’t from around here and asked him if he knew anybody who might be interested in rescuing or fostering the dog, maybe a local vet.

Suddenly the owner of the house, an imposing looking white man in a plaid flannel shirt, entered through the other door.

The scene was set for something bad to happen. The white guy was not happy to find two strangers in his place, trespassers, sitting, engaged in a tense conversation, as if one of them owned the place. He stood at the other end of the open room, demanded to know what the hell we were doing in his house. He may have had a shotgun, if not pointed at us, at hand, it might have been a baseball bat. He was about to call the police, told us he’d let us explain to the cops (his good friends) what the hell we’re doing in his house. I was at a loss for words, start gesticulating toward the dog, began to say something.

The man looks at the dog, as if seeing it for the first time, and it is clearly love at first sight. The dog immediately goes over to the guy who starts petting the dog and ruffling its fur. The man is happy, the dog is happily wagging its tail and gladly accepting the affection. The sheepish, angry black guy leaves quietly through the opposite door with his dog as this is going on. I’m sitting there, relieved to no longer be a suspect or in any jeopardy, watching the man and the dog happily enjoying each other. Everything is suddenly clear, the right thing is happening, no need to explain anything to the man and his new best friend. If anything, the guy will express gratitude toward me when I get up to leave.

I remember a great feeling of peace, of being in a universe where everything is in its place, for the right reason. The feeling was with me when I woke up. It is with me, a little bit, as I write these words.

I woke up (this was maybe three weeks ago) thinking “damn!” and feeling amazed about this dream long after I woke up. It has stayed quite vividly in my memory ever since, very rare for even my best dreams.

I wonder how long it has been since I pictured anything besides troubling, dangerous things inevitably turning to shit, the worst playing out in an escalating death spiral, inevitable as the next bit of widely broadcast lying propaganda enflaming angry, stressed out people on both sides.

The possibility of love and connection and things working out wonderfully for everybody — it hasn’t really gone anywhere, odd to say. It’s just that we’re living in disorienting times, beaten down by a long relentless war to keep unfairness firmly in place and we can hardly remember a time when it wasn’t this relentlessly bitter and threatening, no longer even dreaming of the possibility of things not being exactly as angry as they are right now, or worse.

You’re in trouble, you explain (no words needed), you are understood, no longer in trouble. Instead you get to watch the first flush of new love playing in front of your eyes, everybody getting what they need. Not a bad win-win, I’d say.

[1]

NOTE (from my drawing book):

dog dream

happy ending

dog adopted by guy about to call cops

former owner had no excuse

How do we counter evil liars?

I was never a big believer in the existence of “evil,” in spite of abundant proof that evil is out there thriving and scheming. It’s hard to put another word to an administration that ignores a deadly national emergency, and, while repeatedly lying about its severity, allows tens of thousands of us to die preventable deaths during a pandemic, based on how our state voted in the last election. The divisive narcissist who just got voted out of office (arguably), when you boil down all of his other traits, is an evil guy. A malignant narcissist, if you prefer a more clinical term.

It is finally, as extremists have long phrased it, an open battle to the death between good and evil — like the war between the right to participate in the Peculiar Institution and those intent on abolishing human slavery once and for all time.

I don’t know any other word to fully describe this knowing lie by Tucker Carlson, outside of evil — you may have heard this clip on the most recent On The Media (or seen it posted here yesterday).   

Hearing this outrageous lie, smugly delivered, to enhance the wallop of its provocation, was like being sucker punched in the face by a smirking, preening rich boy punk, then kicked by said punk, while police stand around watching and laughing.   Made me want to throw Tucker on the ground and keep my knee on his neck, just until he lost consciousness:

BROOKE GLADSTONE 

Later that evening, Fox primetime hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity drew on increasingly deranged conspiracy theories to denature the evidence [in the impeachment trial –ed].

[CLIP]

TUCKER CARLSON 

They’re just flat out lying. There’s no question about that. The question is, why would they lie about this? For an answer, think back to last spring. Beginning on Memorial Day, BLM and their sponsors and corporate America completely changed this country. They changed this country more in five months that it had changed in the previous 50 years. How’d they do that? They used the sad death of a man called George Floyd to upend our society. Months later, we learned that the story they told us about George Ford’s death was an utter lie. There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop. The autopsy show that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose. Fentanyl. 

[END CLIP]

BROOKE GLADSTONE 

Right. A full autopsy report by Minneapolis police found that Floyd had fentanyl and other drugs in his blood. He also had Covid-19. None of that killed him. His death was ruled a homicide. Maybe Tucker will move on to flim-flam less foul, but why would he? 

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When divisive, ugly, infuriating, easily disprovable lies are broadcast to millions as indisputable proof, and millions then believe them and support, say, the violent nullification of an election based on echoing and re-echoing baseless allegations, the beast broadcasting this false and inflammatory information must be starved.

Sometimes advertisers and donors will abandon a particular celebrity “personality,” when they cross a line, like publicly referring to someone as a “dirty nigger” instead of saying “dirty n-word”, for example, although, for the most part, corporations are, at best, amoral and driven by their responsibility to maximize shareholder profits. There is another source of revenue for outlets like FOX, Newsmax and One America (and you know which one) News Network — massive fees from cable contracts.

When you buy a monthly cable package from Spectrum, or one of the other regional monopolies that provide basic cable service “bundles,” you are also paying fees for other channels you will never watch. A Rachel Maddow fan will automatically pay for FOX, Newsmax, OANN [1] and other extreme rightwing outlets when they buy a package to watch MSNBC. The same goes for sports. Sekhnet, for example, hates sports, but the package she buys contains a roster of sports channels she will never intentionally watch. Sign up for cable to watch Glenn Kirschner, pay for Sean Hannity, Tucker and the rest of the lovable extremists at Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing love and propagandafest. Here is one group organizing to fight to end this massive automatic payout to FOX and friends.

Their petition reads:

Fox News and OAN broadcast factually inaccurate and offensive material into millions of homes daily.  Just as people should not be subjected to and thusly offended by materials that are outside the common standards of decency, they should not be subjected to factually inaccurate, inflammatory and racist ideology masquerading as news.  People who desire such entertainment should have to opt in and pay extra to receive these materials, just as they do for premium services such as HBO, Showtime, etc.

We therefore request the cable carriers and providers to exclude this offensive programming from the basic cable bundle.

We are prepared to boycott to achieve this objective!

#BlackLivesMatter

#EnoughWithTheBS

Sadly, this movement so far seems to have very few participants [2].

There are also lawsuits available to rein in this kind of maddening propaganda, when it crosses a line into defamation. When My Pillow Guy went on the far right Newsmax, after Newsmax was threatened with a lawsuit by Dominion voting machines, and began repeating Trump lies about dead Venezuelan presidents and other scary spooks flipping millions of Trump votes to Biden to steal the rigged election, Newsmax read a statement written by their lawyers, informing viewers that what Pillow Guy was saying was false, that the results of the election were legal and final. The interviewer tried to shut My Pillow Lindell down immediately. When Pillow Guy energetically persisted, as his ilk always does, talking over the attempts of the interviewer to stop him, the host literally got out of his chair and walked off the set. Here you go, Mike Lindell’s Newsmax mini shit show on youTube, taking a principled stand against Cancel Culture.

I note, with characteristic snideness, that the latest victims of Cancel (or Censure) Culture include every Republican who voted for impeachment or conviction of the, like, totally innocent MAGA-man. USA! USA!!!! One America NOW!

[1]

Almost as scandalous as Barack Obama brazenly wearing a flesh colored suit to a news conference, Biden is already at it with the dirty tricks, according to One America News Network:

[Biden] added he would ask FEMA to speed up the paperwork so he could sign it as soon as possible, but Biden hedged on whether he would visit Texas to assess the situation first hand.

“It depends. The answer is yes. The question is, I had planned on being in Texas the middle of next week, but what I don’t want to be is a burden,” Biden stated. “When the president lands in any city in America, it creates, it has a long tail, and they’re working like the devil to take care of their folks. If, in fact, it’s concluded that I can do it without creating a burden for the folks on the ground while they’re dealing with this crisis, I plan on going.”

His unclear response drew criticism, with some pointing to trips President Trump took to states hit hard by natural disasters.

Fucking hell, devils and darkness! Was Biden unclear, did he stutter? Some pointing to Trump’s often exemplary responses to national tragedy? Did we pay to subsidize that shit? Or OANN’s next headline:

MORE NEWS: Don Jr.: I Won’t Jump On Bandwagon To Cancel Sen. Cruz

[2]

This petition, on Moveon.org, has 370 of the 400 signatures needed to submit. It gives more detail about the monetary split and the involvement of cable giant Spectrum:

Customers should have the choice to remove Fox News from their Spectrum Cable package. If customers overwhelming say, we don’t want to financially support Fox News, then Spectrum should allow us to make the choice.

Why is this important?

From the misinformation about the coronavirus to the anger and hate it promotes across the board, Fox News is something I find hurts society. But we don’t have to support them. Every TV channel charges cable providers a fee for carrying a channel set during negotiations. This is called a subscriber fee. The provider pays this fee for each customer they have and not viewer. Providers (like Spectrum) bundle channels into packages and pass costs to subscribers. News & info channels’ subscriber fees are normally small. EXAMPLE: MSNBC gets ~$0.33, CNN gets between $0.70-0.90 per month (and includes CNN and CNN Headline News). In contrast, Fox News charges near or over $2 a month. This is way higher in comparison with industry averages. Fox News’ fees are extremely inflated. Fox would not be able to sustain itself in its current state (because it doesn’t have the ad dollar support it once had) without forcing cable providers into overpaying. We need a Fox News fee correction (by losing even more customers) and the ability to hold them accountable. Hurt them where the money is if you want true change.

their petition