The Outrageous Malfeasance of the Press in the Trump Era

When I was in rehab long ago, I was taught how to “play the tape out to the end” when considering thoughts about drinking. This was a metaphor used to teach us that alcoholic thoughts never include the inevitable damage from our actions. Hence, the need to deliberately stop and think about how it will end, which reveals that we are the authors of our own bad habits and their results.

This remarkable exercise teaches us that we can’t always trust the thoughts that drift through our minds like a herd of wild horses. We don’t have to mount every single thought, and this is enormously freeing to the addict. Who knew?

This way of thinking is relevant in our politics today, for while we’re all thinking about today’s latest self-centered and damaging proclamations coming from the West Wing, we really don’t think much about where it’s all going. The press is ignorant of the truth about how we got here and where we’re going.

The press simply can’t believe what’s in front of them, because they try to understand it through their lens as “professional” observers.

The Trump administration was put in place as part of a vast criminal conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Government using bogus tax exemptions to fund it. This conclusion is based on my own experience and the reading of Anne Nelson’s stunning investigative work in her book Shadow Network.

The Trump administration was not simply a political switch, because Trump’s organization functions more as a criminal enterprise than leaders of the free world. Bullying, suing, projection, and downright lies are the weapons of this régime (and that’s a good word for it). By any standard of thinking, this is evident above and beyond the mere distractions that the press attempts to report within the construct of our usual political system. The problem is that there’s NOTHING usual at all about what’s been foisted upon us by first class manipulators of truth. In fact, the Trump Administration exists as a conduit through which flows the aspirations of big, corporate business, also known as the one percent. Big business has overtaken the government, and there’s nothing “legal” about it.

Trump’s régime gets away with it, because he has tickled the ears of white evangelical Christians with promises that he really cares about them and serves their best interests. He doesn’t, because it’s not in his nature, which is to lie, sue, retaliate and threaten. Folks, he’s been doing this his entire life, and his most significant business history is bankruptcy and failure to pay his bills. He’s not the President, for he simply isn’t competent to handle such a job; he’s much akin to a crime boss, and it doesn’t take any “analysis” whatsoever to figure that out.

Good grief, where is the press?

They are far too busy being complicit in the takeover. In trying to shape the news based on old paradigms, including Daniel Hallin’s Spheres of Consensus, Legitimate Debate, and Deviance. But the Trump Administration violates our laws with impunity and the under the threat of lawsuits. It’s not the American way; it’s Donald Trump’s way. And, again, there’s nothing new about Donald Trump.

Attempts to intervene are painted as political, because that’s the only thing the “savvy” press understands. But they’re not political, because they flow from the hearts of people wanting nothing more than to inject a specific brand of religious fundamentalism into the public square. Unawares, these Christians are risking their own salvation in supporting the idolatry of political power over trusting that nothing happens under the sun without God’s approval. They are on very dangerous ground, because their zealotry has been manipulated by people much smarter than they are. Will God hold them accountable? You bet, because that’s the way life works.

The press ignores religion, which gives those driven by religion the ability to speak past the media and directly to their constituencies. And when the press actually “covers” religion, they reach into the sphere of deviance to do so. This is the great shortcoming of the press as it tries to make sense of the world around us in these troubled times. It’s terribly stupid, not to mention naïve and fearful.

It’s particularly gobsmacking to watch these high priests of journalism fawn over each other in their weak and pathetic attempts to provide us with insight and direction for the future. Wake up, press representatives, or we’re going to end up in serious trouble as a nation.

Does anybody remember Steve Bannon and his vision to reinvent government? Friends, our government doesn’t need reinvention and especially not in the views expressed by Bannon. The press has forgotten that he was the architect of Trump’s victory in 2016. Just read his own words and draw your own conclusions:

I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.

The women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate [conservative] women.”

Fear is a good thing. Fear is going to lead you to action.

And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

The church militant? Would somebody please show me this in the Bible? Are we talking about the Crusades? Onward Christian Soldiers?

Bannon has declared his intention to become “the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement.” Right. And he needs the church for this? God bless America!

We need to heed well the words of John Milton in calling out certain people who similarly wanted power, “License they mean when they cry liberty.” Exactly, because this group doesn’t believe in responsibility to others; it’s all about power under the sun. They think their radical form of conservatism is something new. It’s not. We’ve seen this before from those who’ve wanted dominance over the planet.

“Conservative non-profit” is a euphemism for the radical right’s playbook. A tax exemption can be a license to steal, and the extreme right has used such to fund themselves illegally, for the IRS is (was?) very particular when it comes to political action funded through tax exemptions. I know, because we lost our 501©3 status at CBN for the years 1986 & 1987 and paid a substantial penalty for doing exactly that. You simply can’t use such tax exemptions for political purposes, but it’s a moot argument as long as Republicans control the administration. If the Democrats retake the White House in November, watch for wholesale actions by the IRS (something you won’t hear about from the press until it happens).

To be sure, there are facets of the press who are actively working to present our current danger to the people, but their efforts don’t speak to the underlying realities. Anne Nelson has done the initial investigation.

How about the rest of us pick up the ball and run with it?

Finding order amidst chaos

scalesjusticeThe Bible teaches that God is completely just and completely merciful, which is hard for us to grasp. To humans, the concepts of justice and mercy are a zero sum game. It’s impossible for us to be BOTH just and merciful at the same time in judging the morality of any particular event, situation, person, or experience. One usually contradicts the other in the sphere of human order.

I’m reminded of the old racial redlining question about a white family selling a home in a white neighborhood to a black family. Who is the neighbor the white family is supposed to “love?” the black family or the remaining residents who believe their property values will go down? The just answer may be different than the merciful answer, but it certainly will be one or the other, depending on your bias or worldview.

Is it possible to be both right and wrong at the same time?

This is why human logic and reasoning are such poor vehicles for studying the spiritual world. An anthropomorphized God is less troublesome, and so we put Him on a distant throne and worship Him from afar. It’s also easier just to conclude that the world of the spirit “doesn’t exist” than to venture off into the unmeasurable. This is the great challenge for the postmodern era and why I’m so thrilled to be offering ideas here for your perusal.

Those Christians who preach and teach about postmodernism — even as a cultural era — often only go so far as to use the postmodern term “deconstruction” to define the individualized process of shifting one’s faith from a distant God to one that’s present with us. The problem with this is what’s presented on the other side of such a shift, because it’s really just more of the same. As a group, there seems to be an overarching attempt to create new hierarchies to replace the old, and this is a million miles from postmodernism. It’s the pouring of new wine into old wineskins, and this is a profound failing of the so-called Emergent Church. If the pulpit is a modernist control tool, why then are we elevating so-called “leaders” of the movement? It is doomed to fail, if we are, in fact, entering into a new era of epistemology — “I participate, therefore I understand.” Listening to a sermon may be an act of participation on some level, but there is absolutely nothing postmodern about it.

There’s no such thing as being “a little postmodern.” It’s like the cliché of being a little pregnant. Borrowing from it to better your modernist self is absurd, regardless of the motive.

My point is that many of those who write about “postmodernism” are merely seeking a way out of the chaotic mess that is postmodernism. That, I’m afraid, is just another symbol of modernity, as stated best by Henry Adams in the early twentieth century: “Chaos is the way of nature, but order is the dream of man.” As we’re discovering in the ongoing debate about the American dream, our way of order serves only the top layer of the culture. Maybe it’s justice over mercy but more likely, justice absent mercy. Regardless, it is the result of modernity’s logic and the principal reason that our connectivity is driving a new era. When the haves speak the old French saying Noblesse Oblige (nobility obligates), they are being quite self-serving in assigning a form of mercy to themselves, because they reserve for themselves the right to determine how much “mercy” is required of them. This is one of the core debates that divide us as a nation today.

The road ahead is going to be very rough, bumpy, and full of the sinkholes you might expect from chaos. The institutions of the West won’t survive without complete reinvention, and that is the task we face in the twenty-first century. Thusly, the creation of new hierarchies to replace the old is nothing more than a form of masturbation, which while perhaps satisfying to the actor is nonetheless disgusting to anybody else in the vicinity.