President Fraud & Resistance Fighters

fairhope-1

I read an essay about Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. It was a highly well-produced article that disputed the mainstream media’s reporting on Flynn. This particular essay claimed that Flynn was more “patriotic” and more disciplined than even General McChrystal. Flynn, the writer claimed, was a master at working with coalition partners.

I’m not putting up a link to the piece because it is nothing more than propaganda produced by Trump’s son-in-law. Did you know that his son-in-law owns the New York Observer? It sounds like a newspaper, right? Like something that might compete say with the New York Times or Washington Post. Only it’s tagline gives a reader more insight: A sophisticated take on news, culture, politics & luxury.

In other words, a weekly dose of propaganda and ad writing.

There has been a lot written on fake news sites over the past few weeks. I hope you are paying attention to that.

I have worked in newsrooms across the country. I’ve taught classes on Media & Culture. I understand what Trump is up to. Megyn Kelly sums it up accurately in her interview with Don Lemon:

“I think Trump has a disdain for the media. And I think he is hoping to discredit the media in a way that will render any criticisms of him unnecessary and unbelievable. If he can paint all of us with this wide brush – We are disgusting. We are scum. We are not to be trusted.  – then it doesn’t really matter what we report or what we write because we are scum, we are disgusting and we are not to be believed. So I think it’s a strategy of his. I also think that he really gets upset when he sees negative press, even though he generates it intentionally. I do think we are going to have to steel our spines cause I think it’s only just begun.” 

 

I want you to re-read that passage from Ms. Kelly. Then I want you to come back and read it again tomorrow. I want you to read it until you know it because understanding what she says here is critical to the strategy already in place by Steve Bannon, Mr. Apprentice’s chief strategist.

We have this thing called the First Amendment. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In our culture, the 1A is generally regarded as the right to “bitch and moan” as I used to tell my college students. That’s what it’s most often quoted for, as in “I can say whatever I want!” That’s not exactly true, as most grown-ups learn but Trump did not.

Civility isn’t a lesson he studied very well.

At any rate, the subject at hand today isn’t the speaking part of the 1A but rather the “free press” part. Thomas Jefferson summed up the importance of a free press in a democracy this way:

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

And by free, here, we mean the freedom to report and inform the people, because without a free press, there is no accountability.

No accountability is what Mr Apprentice and his band of merry chaos makers are seeking. Unfortunately, voters who failed to vote in this past election gave them a path toward no accountability. It is up to us – We The People – to make sure that we don’t end up with a government without newspapers.

Trump’s Chief Strategist and his son-in-law are working at making sure they control every bit of information that WE THE PEOPLE have access to. Megyn Kelly has it right. By discrediting the press – something this president-elect has done for the past 18 months – he renders them unnecessary. “Come to me for the real information,” he says. “I’ll tweet it. I’ll post it to Facebook.”

Newspapers and serious news outlets need to cease quoting Trump’s tweets in their news stories. To quote those tweets is to render journalism useless and to validate the propaganda machine he has put in place. If they are unable to speak to Mr. Trump directly or through a press secretary, they just need to report that he had “No comment.”

Quoting his tweets is exactly what he wants people to do because it enables him to control what is news about him.

Take this weekend for instance:

  • Mr. Trump settled a lawsuit with Trump University to the tune of a $25 million tax-deductible fine. The settlement included all the standard language of such a settlement. You’re familiar with it. Trump makes no admission of guilt but agrees to shell out millions so that he can focus on “Making America Great Again.” (Propaganda slogan).
  • The public isn’t stupid. So we all know that if Trump was innocent of fraud he wouldn’t be paying out $25 million. He’s guilty as sin. But his people go on talk shows to talk about how magnanimous this new president-elect is, that he has volunteered to give up $25 million so he could focus on helping all of us.  (This is propaganda.) Or as my mother might say: Total Bullshit. Mr. Trump is the first president in US History to be guilty of committing fraud against US citizens, the very citizens he’ll swear an oath to serve.

  • Mr. Trump didn’t want this story to be significant. So he strategically took to Twitter to rant about his running mate getting booed at a Hamilton concert. Theaters should be safe places, he tweeted, chiding the cast & audience, demanding an apology. (Theaters are to be safe but America isn’t?) Because we love a good tweetstorm, Trump was successful in distracting the voting public from seriously contemplating what it means to have a sitting president who has committed fraud, but who won’t acknowledge the wrongness of his actions. Keep in mind elderly and young people alike lost their savings in search of the promises Trump made and didn’t fulfill. This will become even more apparent in the near future as voters find out how much Trump has defrauded them. The fraud case was a much bigger story with much bigger consequences for us all, but it got lost in the hoopla over Hamilton, which is exactly to his benefit. And that’s how propaganda works best.

 

  • Let’s talk about how Trump hasn’t held a press conference. How he isn’t making any of his announcements of any of his Cabinet members. This allows him to control the narrative that we hear about people like Jeff Sessions, a man declared too unfit to be a federal judge because of racists statements he’s made in the past, but whom Trump has slotted for his Attorney General. Reporters from the leading newspapers across the nation have been denied access to Mr. Trump. They are not allowed to sit in on any meetings so far. They’ve been relegated to a roped off area in Trump Towers. This roping off is a way to demean and discredit the media. (Corralling them in public view is a propaganda technique.) And about doing business at Trump Towers? Never before in modern history have we had a president-elect dispense with all the protocol that honors the office he has accepted. By holding his meetings in his home, Trump is sending  a subliminal message to everyone – the public and the Legislative Branches of government, the very entities established to hold him accountable – that he is the King of the fiefdom. He, after all, not the taxpayers, owns Trump Towers. If he conducts business in his own home, then it’s his business and not ours, not the Legislative Branches. He’s free to do as he wills. There is no accountability. That is propaganda. It is a way to control the public. And it certainly limits the ability of a free press to report freely on say things like that business meeting Trump had with investors in India, another evidence of the blurring of the lines over Conflicts of Interest.
  • If you aren’t yet worried, you are brain dead . These techniques are all the same techniques used by dictators. Bannon has made it clear that he and Trump want to establish a “nationalistic economy.” On the surface, that sounds great, right? Jobs for everyone. That’s the propaganda piece. Words like patriotism and nationalism are used by those in authority to evoke a blind trust from the peasants in the kingdom. (That would be me and you). A nationalist economy is what Hitler promised the Germans, which is one of the reasons that the Nazis and KKK are marching in the streets, shouting gleefully over Trump’s election. They are genuinely excited about this candidate because they see what so many who voted for the man have refused to admit to: His affinity for White Supremacy. Trump is old school. He thinks the world is run better by white men. Just look at his cabinet picks thus far. The inner circle. He has yet to denounce the Nazis or KKK.  He’s denounced Mexicans, Muslims, and fat people, but not the White Nationalists who praise him.
  • Now about the demanding thing Trump does. Trump is either demeaning someone or demanding something. This is the role of the autocrat. Trump wants to keep people on edge, afraid, despairing. It’s part of the propaganda campaign. In order to be the only one who can “Make America Great Again”, he has to keep the masses in fear. The lower we sink, the higher he rises. The more beaten down and despondent we become, the more power he has over us. Think of it like an abusive parent. He is the perfect abusive parent. Slapping us around one minute and telling us how great we will be the next. 

Propaganda is designed to make Trump look powerful and us to feel helpless, needy, despairing.

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state. – Noam Chomsky

Is it any wonder some are on medications, trying to cope with the Post-Traumatic effects of this election? Donald Trump is the most abusive man to ever run for presidency. The fact that he won only intensifies the feelings of despair, we, his victims, are enduring.

So what are we to do?

The thing a victim of abuse should always do – Fight back. Speak up. Resist. Join voices with others. Here’s are real tangible ways you can overcome that feeling of despair and take back your power:

  • Write or call your Senators/Rep. I don’t care if you live in Red State. Senators and Reps know their job is to represent the people. They hate hearing from you, especially when the phone lines ring off the hook or thousands of letters pour in. Don’t believe for one minute it doesn’t matter. It matters. I think of it this way. After Karly Sheehan was murdered, and the facts of her case were made public, person after person asked, why didn’t she tell somebody? Karly was only 3, but she was a bright and articulate 3 year old. Why don’t abused children speak up? Why don’t they tell somebody? That’s was the question I put to the people who work most closely with abused children. The answer? “Because they love their parents.” They don’t want anyone to get in trouble or get harmed. So they end up dead themselves. We are like abused children that way. We don’t want to speak up. We love our country. We love democracy. But we are too scared, too ashamed, or simply don’t know what to say. How do I tell my Senator that our president-elect is abusive? How do I tell my Senator that Mr. Bannon is a manic who threatens me from the sidelines? We are all at risk for harm until we learn to speak up and identify the abuser and his abuses.

 

  • Subscribe to a newspaper. Local or national. Last week I went online and bought subscriptions to my local newspaper, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Now more than ever we need to support these journalist that Trump and Bannon seek to undermine. Those of you who read my family’s memoir know I tell a story of meeting a young man in Vietnam who told me about how the fascist government wouldn’t even let his mother hang a picture of their father in the home. They could only put up a photo of Uncle Ho. Imagine if Trump were to send soldier into your home and burn all your books, cut the wireless connection to your home and tell you that you could only watch a state-run TV station and read state-run newspapers. This has happened in countries the world over. Is still happening. The best way to hold Trump accountable is to help pay the salaries of the boots-on-the ground journalists who are slogging it out each day with him and his propaganda machine.
  • Avoid the red meat. Don’t retweet Trump’s tweets. Don’t share the salacious news about him. Look for the hard-hitting. The policy stuff. The fraud cases. The appointments he’s making. The lack of his taxes. The conflicts of interest violations. Hammer away at the hard hitting wrongs he has done. Don’t call him President. He’s a lot of things but presidential isn’t one of them. Beat him at his own game of propaganda. Call him for what he is: a man who has committed fraud, and bragged about sexually abusing women. He is a bully. He is a cheat. He is a tyrant. He is impetus  & unreliable. All those names you would call an abusive mate, he is all of that. What is he not is presidential.
  • Don’t be silent. Silence gets people killed. At the very least, it is being complicit to the abuse.
  • Read the stories of resistant fighters. Watch Norma Rae or Iron Jawed Angels.  Listen to Dr. King and Maya Angelou and Nelson Mandela.  And every time you think you got it wrong about Mr. Apprentice, go back and listen to his campaign speeches. Watch him mock the disabled. Listen to the interview with Billy Bush – an interview that got Bush fired from a TV news anchor job but which didn’t disqualify Trump for the White House.
  • Join your local ACLU or Quakers or any other group fighting for the civil liberties of others.
  • Speak up with your dollars. Join the #GrabYourWallet movement and refuse to shop where Trump brands are sold.
  • Donate to the Democrats or Independents or orgs fighting for the First Amendment.
  • Be kind. Do good work. Be engaged. Be informed. Study up on the techniques of propaganda.  Protest peaceably.
  • Get some rest. Pray. Eat well. Exercise. Take care of yourself. We need you to be your best self
  • Write your Senators/Reps again.Your letters encourage them to be their best selves.

 

 

 

Book Karen

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Gold Star Daughter. Trump will never be my president.

4 Comments

Rose blackwell

about 4 months ago

Karin I'm so happy you are back educating me. I can see what your saying . I lived in the south during the 60 ,I learned more about WW ll and the Nazis here after my immigration. America is not speaking up we the Hillary voters are dumbstruck. Both of the Carolinas voted republican. So here we are.

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John in PDX

about 4 months ago

"So why am I sitting here in my office trying to wrap my brain and heart around how I am going to forgive so many people I love for putting Trump in office?" You asked the question. Forgiveness? Really? Trump is not Satan. Trump is not Hitler. Trump is not Genghis Khan. Trump is not KKK. That's just silly talk. He is a lot of other bad things but I think he wants what is best for his country. I just sat thru the second worst president of my lifetime for 8 years and at no point did I question his loyalty to his country. I just didn't like the way he was doing it. Obama just bought/leased over $10,000,000 in real estate to live in come February. He must have done something right. I still have a job. I hate to say anything because people brand me as stupid around here for voting for Trump. My sailboat almost threw me overboard a week ago. Don't think that I am uninformed - if anything I may be over-informed. I think the best choice for president was Fioriana Please consider this - I (and maybe a few like me) were not voting for Trump - we were voting against the establishment - and we feel like the country was going down the wrong road. We are tired of politicians selling out the country time and time again for their own good. I want to 'drain the swamp'. I didn't want to vote for somebody that was already paid for. I didn't want to vote for status quo. In my opinion Hillary is crooked as a barrel of fish hooks. So are the Bush dynasty - that's why nobody voted for him. Both of them could not understand why everyone shouldn't vote for Queen and King. So you know - I left the Republican party after the election - they are all bad. The best government is the one that leaves me alone. I choose my form of freedom over safety. Your humble friend PS I bought Sunflowers on Amazon for Thanksgiving reading.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 4 months ago

That book will make you think. A lot. Glad you bought it. Also glad the sailboat didn't get the better of you. RE: Trump. I get that people voted for change. I understand that. What I can't understand is throwing your vote to a man who c'mon, in no way whatsoever can be compared to Obama. With Obama it's policies people have a problem with. At no time has Obama demeaned people, called them names, spoke in such vulgar ways about anything or anyone. (As a man thinks in his heart so he is ... What is in the heart of man flows from his mouth). People may not like the direction in which Obama led the country, but that in no way compares at all to Trump's ills. What does it benefit us if we make lots of money if in the process of doing that we sell our democracy down the river. We turn a blind eye to Trump's pussy grabbing. We turn a blind's eye to his financial investments worldwide and how those interests compromise his policy dealings. Or how he exploits his position to make more money. We turn a blind's eye to his demeaning Muslims, Mexicans and fat people but embraces Nazi's and KKK and White Supremacy? People may not agree with Obama's policies, but what kind of man leads the country by bullying others? No, John, the argument falls apart. Putting Trump in office is going to prove to be the worst thing any voter in modern history has done. If we thought Bush was bad, just you wait. You say he's not as bad as Hitler and I agree with that. But his ideas and his ambitions for power and greed are not all that different. Stay tuned. Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful you felt safe enough to speak out here.

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AFRoger

about 4 months ago

Hi, John. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank God the cold Columbia let go of you and that you are here to observe the day. Thank you also for writing and continuing the discussion in a way that invites continuing. I've thought about your words for two days and hope to do the same. I respect your desire to vote for change. We will have that. A bit like taking the saddle off a tired Shetland pony and attempting to cinch it onto a shark. The ride will be different. Will we survive the ride? We really don't know what that will be. If you voted in Oregon or Washington, however, you actually did not vote for change because your vote was invalidated by the Electoral College. You were disenfranchised. I hope you will join me and others who want to see that system scrapped. Unlikely since it has resulted in a GOP victory and the party will control all three branches of the Federal Government as well as a substantial majority of state governorships. // I agree that Mr. Trump wants what is best for his country. My concern is what his view of that might be and how that plays out. Right now, we are in the projection stage. We can all project our best hopes and our worst fears onto DJT and his administration. He spoke plenty of words for hope. There are more than ample grounds for fears--based not only on his words but his past actions. I do not believe the man's (IMHO) call for unity and "binding up the wounds." Not after his campaign, not after his inability to apologize to a Gold Star family, not after his call for an apology to his VP by an actor who spoke respectfully about respecting the rights of all Americans. A person who cannot admit mistakes (birther issue???) but must make it all someone else's fault lacks both character and maturity. // That said, I predict we will have Mr. Trump for eight years. I don't think I am projecting in saying that his modus operandi is to grind differing points of view (and the people who hold them) into dust, not often by better ideas but by taking them apart as human beings. We'll see how much he does that as President. I predict it continues. Hard to reinvent seven decades of habit. We do have a clue what motivates the man, though. Money. All the best science in the world could be dismissed as a "hoax perpetrated by China" until a few businessmen could say, "Hey, it's cheaper to address climate change and its costs than not to." Gee, praise the Lord! There are probably Kindergarten kids who get that. But money should not be our cause for doing the right thing. It should be our respect for and understanding of Creation as the only source of life we know--and therefore pretty important to stop destroying. Has Mr. Trump really opened the door to a new understanding? Or is it an orchestrated move to give a placebo to those of us concerned about where he will go? Time will tell, of course. But back to the MONEY thing. Here is where I have my greatest concern. Here in Oregon, we got rid of a Democratic governor and his sidekick over corruption and conflict of interest that involved several hundred thousand dollars. That's a 5-foot dinghy compared to the Titanic-sized Trump financial empire. Mr. Trump has fundamentally discredited and disrespected every citizen of this land by refusing to disclose his finances, his tax returns, and his business dealings and contacts with Russia and Mr. Putin. Insisting that he still have his left hand on his business while holding onto the country with his right should be unacceptable to anyone and everyone. Giving the presidency his undivided attention? Conflict of interest? I hope you would agree to its potential... But if we allow it in the first place, how impossible will it be to ever control it or undo it? I come back to my metaphor of saddling a shark. I am concerned in my deepest gut, and all I have as an aging veteran, person of faith and part-time engineer and pastor without a corporate, government or church pension awaiting me... all I have is my impotent pleas via e-mail to representatives, and a few opportunities to write such as this. That's all I have to raise anything that my attempts a vigilance alert me to. I trust your instincts and your heart. I need your vigilance and your voice, too. It's all that we citizens have left, but the voice of power enabled by money has grown so much louder. A government cannot leave us alone because citizenship cannot leave us alone. We are in this thing far deeper than voting. We are in it with hearts and minds--unless we abdicate. We are not free citizens at all unless we exercise that responsibility 24/7. Along with my daily prayers, it's all I know to do. None of this is new since the election. It's how I've understood things ever since my oath of enlistment in 1969. // Thank you for reading, if you have. Keep dry on the Columbia. Thanks be to God.

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