Drain The Swamp

This is a new HBO documentary riffing on the Trump campaign’s (false) promise to drain Washington of moneyed interests. Based on this article, I think it’s going to offer a very revealing picture of the “backrooms” of Washington.

The article reports that filming of The Swamp began in 2019 with “an understanding of money’s corrosive role in representative democracy, especially in the near-decade since the Citizens United v FEC decision by the supreme court uncapped donations by large political groups known as Super Pacs.”

However, according to directors Morgan Pehme (R-FL) and Daniel DiMauro (R-CO), the choke-hold of money “was just so much worse than we could have imagined.”

Unfortunately, I don’t have HBO, so I’m requesting those who do to put aside some time to watch the documentary and report back on its contents.

The film is scheduled to premiere on August 4th at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO GO and HBO NOW. It will be available on-demand on Aug. 5. (A UK date to be announced).

Thanks to all who can … and are willing … to view this film and offer feedback.

Why?


Some months back I subscribed to “The Morning,” a daily email from the NY Times that includes synopses of various news stories. In one of the more recent editions, there was an item entitled, “Information Contagion.”

The article included a brief discussion about a recent video that claimed Dr. Anthony Fauci created the coronavirus using monkey cells(!). It then went on to point out that this isn’t the only misinformation being spread related to the virus. In fact, as many of us already know, there are several dubious sources; for example, Fox News, Sinclair (which operates almost 200 television stations), and Breitbart. (In fact, Breitbart recently produced a video that claimed the drug hydroxychloroquine cured the virus.)

The article then asked what I thought was a very relevant question:

Why is the U.S. enduring a far more severe virus outbreak than any other rich country?

Following is the answer … which I think is spot-on.

There are multiple causes, but one of them is the size and strength of right-wing media organizations that frequently broadcast falsehoods. The result is confusion among many Americans about scientific facts that are widely accepted, across the political spectrum, in other countries.

Canada, Japan and much of Europe have no equivalent to Sinclair — whose local newscasts reach about 40 percent of Americans — or Fox News. Germany and France have widely read blogs that promote conspiracy theories. 

(Emphasis added.)

The article further points out that …

Fox is particularly important, because it has also influenced President Trump’s response to the virus, which has been slower and less consistent than that of many other world leaders.

I don’t think any of this is new to my readers, but sometimes seeing it in print confirms what most of us already know.

It Is NOT Antifa!

This sentence, related to a recent incident in Eugene, Oregon and reported on a Fox News web page, angers me to the core:

In Eugene, crowds blocked the streets and prevented one man in a pickup truck from passing, according to conservative journalist Andy Ngo, who made headlines last summer after an attack by members of the far-left militant group Antifa sent him to the hospital.

Read the following slowly and carefully:

“Antifa” is NOT far-left. 

As many of my readers know, “antifa” is simply a shortened term for “ANTI-fascist.” That means if a person is a member of Antifa, they are against fascism. Here is a refresher for anyone who isn’t familiar with the definition of fascism (from Dictionary.com):

Fascism: A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. 

(Remind you of anyone?)

Now consider the following, which is an excerpt from an article on Snopes.com:

Fascists go beyond viewing particular categories of people as inferior, based on gender identity, race and ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. They believe it is imperative to use violence to oppress and ultimately eliminate those groups.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that ANTI-fascist is the opposite of the above definition. In other words, “Antifas” actually oppose categorizing people based on gender identity, race and ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Nor do they wish to “eliminate” these people.

Admittedly, as with any political group, there will always be “fringe” members. While the core movement is to defend the rights of everyone through reasonable means, there will always be militants who believe their only recourse is force.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that Trump has been (incorrectly) using the term to convince his followers that Antifa is a violent group of individuals who are trying to take away their “rights.” (You know, their “rights” to hate and reject all who are “inferior.”)

Just remember … “anti” means against. So if you are anti-Trump, you most likely understand what the Antifas movement is all about.

Singing vs. Free Speech?

Courtesy of clipart-library.com

It’s just off the top of my head, you understand, but I tend to think singing in church is a WHOLE lot different than the “right to free speech.”

Anyone agree with me?

I recently read about some church leaders that don’t …

Churches Sue California Governor for Banning Singing in Church 

Yup! Three EVANGELICAL church leaders are very unhappy with Governor Newsom because they contend his closure ban violates their First Amendment rights and that it’s an “unprecedented attack” on the freedom of worship. In their view, singing and praying aloud as a body of Christ is a biblical mandate. 

Question: Does a biblical mandate override a State Governor’s mandate?

It’s been well-documented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that singing is a proven way to spread the COVID-19 virus. Yet it seems these pastors (along with scores of other people) prefer to ignore medical advice and instead follow the instructions put forth in a book that is several thousand years old.

Further, what these individuals seem to overlook is the governor also mandated that all bars across the state must close and that restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms must suspend indoor activities.

Contrary to their objections, they are not being singled out. The governor’s action is not discriminatory, nor is it persecution. It is a desperate attempt to reduce the number of cases and deaths that are occurring everyday in his state from the spread of the coronavirus.

And finally … a few absurd words from Jordan Sekulow (one of the plaintiffs) whose father is Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump’s legal team: “Banning singing in California churches is an unconstitutional abuse of power, and to do it in the name of a pandemic is despicable. This ban is clearly targeted at religion.”

A quote from Isaac Asimov seems an appropriate closing for this post:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.