Jerusalem Violence: Why the West Doesn’t Care

Hundreds wounded in weekend of East Jerusalem violence | The Japan Times

When examining the roots of the right-wing Christian uprising in the West, observers tend to deliberately avoid the truth that Israel’s resurrection in the Middle East started it all. This is crucial to understanding the religious delusions presented as facts in the region. These fallacies are then presented to whip believers up into a frenzy over modern times and the return of Christ to the Earth. Make no mistake: without Israel, we would not have found ourselves in the predicament of the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

What can possibly make Christians give up their loyalty to Jesus and become political pawns for the GOP? That would be a fallacious faith over what they believe are urgent cues about Jesus’ imminent return to judge humanity, both dead and alive. This means they’re living lives of expectation with eyes fixed on their “reward” of salvation. Cut away all of the social and foreign policy issues that the Christian Right votes for, and they’d still be supporting Israel and the return of their Savior as justification for clinging to a group of manipulators that they’ve been told to support.

Here are the hopeful lyrics from the bluegrass gospel tune “Any Day Now” by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver:

Just any day now our Lord is coming
He’ll be returning for you and me
Oh I’ve been watching and I’ve been waiting
Just any day now His face I’ll see

This is the anticipation manifested among certain Christian sects, and it’s a powerful motivator for political action.

This was reflected in the very first sentence of the Mission Statement of the Christian Broadcasting Network:

“The mission of CBN and its affiliated organizations is to prepare the United States of America, the nations of the Middle East, the Far East, South America, and other selected nations of the world for the coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.”

Mission Statement of CBN, circa 1980.

This could not have been anybody’s successful business strategy in the late 20th Century without the history of what now stands as the nation of Israel on land shared by Palestinians and Jews for centuries prior to modern times. Israel was given status among Western evangelists as a verifiable sign from God that the return of Jesus was imminent.

Remember that Jesus, according to their faith, comes back via Israel and Armageddon, so Israel NEEDS to be there in order for the evangelical message to seem real and relevant. It’s a big part of why we give Israel $10 million-a-day (holidays and weekends included) in “defensive” weaponry and other needs. It’s also why we perpetuate the myth that somehow Israel is the victim in the region. The reality is that Israel (with the U.S.) is the disruptive source in the Middle East, not the Arabs. Israel’s Zionist government constantly rails against the “existential threat” of murdering Arabs who want only to kill all the Jews in the area. This is a necessary position in the perpetuation of murder, maiming, harassment, intimidation, land and building seizures, property destruction, and the steady dehumanization of the Palestinian people through tactics designed to accomplish exactly that.

However, many believers refuse to look at this as Biblical prophecy fulfilled, because, well, it isn’t. Today’s version of the Jewish State is was engineered by people in the wake of the Holocaust, the systematic murder of Jews by the Nazis surrounding World War II. The Holocaust was Hitler’s “final solution” for the Jews. This implies a problem that needed solving, and that problem — known throughout Europe historically as “The Jewish Question” — was the Jews’ refusal to fully assimilate themselves into the cultures of their host countries in Europe. At the turn of the 20th Century, leadership of prominent countries had begun to seriously conceive of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. When it finally happened in 1948, smart Christian evangelists began to claim that this was “restoration” of Israel according to “everlasting” promises made to Abraham about the property. If this was the case, the thinking went, then it means that Jesus’ return was VERY near, because prophecies about that return were validated in their minds, because they claim that Jesus will return in the Holy Land, specifically Jerusalem. This is important, for these believers are easily convinced that Israel was permanently set aside for those with Jewish roots, among which they included themselves. This gave Christian evangelists a tool to use in preaching their message of “get things right, because Jesus is coming soon.” Of course, getting things right began with church attendance, tithes, and offerings, which catapulted prominent evangelists to positions of power, fame, and extraordinary wealth.

Moreover, the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine hasn’t done a thing to resolve the original “Jewish Question,” because the bulk of the Jews living in foreign lands are still right where they were. Other geo-political and business reasons now justify Israel beyond the faith of these Christians end-timers.

My views here are supported by my understanding as Executive Producer of The 700 Club in the early and mid 1980s. Israel and Israel’s future was one of the tap roots of not only The Christian Broadcasting Network, but other prominent big Christian ministries. The reality that this has gone virtually unnoticed by the press in covering events in the Middle East and even back home is a sinister form of ignorance, in part, because wealthy media owners, many among them of Jewish heritage and faith, want it that way.

Nobody publicly challenges this, because Jews claim the role of sole arbiter in determining who wears the dreaded outcast label of “antisemite.” Hence, the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens avoid Middle Eastern violence or explanations other than what comes from the Israeli propaganda machine, hasbara. Exaggerations about the “miracle” of the 1967 war with its Arab neighbors have fueled it, because in war, the victors get to write the history (or at least they used to have that privilege before the internet). Israel was the smart aggressor, while the Arab armies were sitting ducks. How do you remove an existential threat? By attacking it before it can attack you.

So, if this view of a nearly sacred Israel is what’s behind all of the mischief of today, what’s to come? The answer is easy, if you follow end-times prophecies and Christian extremism. What comes next is that Jesus is supposed to come back via a rebuilt Solomon’s Temple, and what stands in the way of that today? The Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built right on top of what’s known as the Temple Mount. Hard-line Israel right-wingers would love nothing more than to tear down the Mosque and build the new Temple, and here’s the thing. Christian groups would love it, too, so it’s easy to look the other way when Palestinian worshippers at the Mosque are ousted and even killed. Many actually believe that this is “God’s plan” for the whole region, and this is a difficult nut to crack when religious “saints” are busy telling them that they must pray for (the peace of) Jerusalem. In this view, a narrative that includes the sacrifice of any number of Palestinians is simply God doing His thing.

At the rate we’re going, this is quite likely to become reality within just a few years. Think about that. And, all because a group of religious fundamentalists want so badly for it all to be real that they’re willing to subjugate their own minds to fallacy in the name of supporting some of the most blood-thirsty and violent human beings in all of history.

Reality Steve: A Lesson in New Media Ethics

PREFACE:

When I lived in Dallas 10 years ago, I had the great pleasure to be an adjunct profession at the University of North Texas. They needed somebody to teach media/journalism ethics in the Radio-TV-Film Department, so my syllabus was focused almost entirely on ethics in a new media universe and not old-school journalism. My students would for the most part be working in new situations that greatly complicate ethics, so I called my course:

ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING IN THE MEDIA
(JOURNALISTIC ETHICS IN A NETWORKED WORLD)

This course will be unlike any you’ve ever attended for two reasons:

  1. Journalistic ethics are evolving. Tradition and the sacred canons have served us well for nearly a century, but technology and business disruptions are dismantling the institution of professional journalism and the companies that host the trade. In various academic circles, efforts are underway to address this evolution, one of which culminated in a gathering in September of 2008 at Kent State University. There is a sense that we are making this up as we go along, and no one should be afraid to admit that. As a result, we’re going to be teaching each other and learning from others involved in the process together.
  2. As a thought leader in the industries of local media, I am at the forefront of the changes taking place. My clients are dealing with issues in the real world of media that we will be discussing in this class. Therefore, this will be an opportunity for you to participate in a process that is current, topical and relevant. In the end, you will have a significant advantage over your contemporaries who haven’t experienced this class.

In the end, you will have learned how to make complex ethical decisions that will help you in any media endeavor and beyond. Ethical decision-making is critical in American society. Learn it and it will serve you well in work and in life.

And, so I provided ethical situations for discussion that involved a single journalist functioning in running their own brand, whether that was with others or alone. My thesis was that running your own blog or similarly functioning website providing news and information was a veritable minefield of ethical difficulties, because students would be their own owners, publishers, editors, writers, marketing managers, and distributors.

The following essay is a contemporary story of exactly what I was talking about all those years ago.

REALITY STEVE

Let me introduce you to Steve Carbone, known publicly as Reality Steve. A former sports radio guy, the 45-year old Carbone began spoiling the ending and other details of the television series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette in 2011. You can take a man out of the sports talk show business, it seems, but you can’t take that business out of the man. He writes often of gambling trips to Vegas and loves the entirety of sports betting. This is important to understanding his work, because sports gamblers need resources to work with, and Steve has pursued revenue over any thoughts of ethics, one of the many things we talked about in my class.

When you’re responsible for the money and the content, you will face ethical difficulties. There’s a reason, for example, that local media doesn’t take on the car dealers in any market. Too much money’s at stake, and so there’s an unwritten rule in newsrooms that you just don’t investigate car dealers. For individuals competing as media sites, this issue is doubly complicated, because growing such a business demands a degree of ethics not required by professionals working for a media institution.

Carbone’s website is RealitySteve.com, which he brands as “My Slanted, Sophomoric, and Skewed View on the World of Reality Television.” He is vulgar, inflammatory, fame-hungry, loose with the truth, a gossiper, and damned effective at spoiling the show for his followers. I’ve been a fan since the beginning, because, as a fan of the show, I’ve always found it better viewing when I knew how it was going to end. In fairness to the guy, he’s also been the most vocal voice about the manipulation of producers in reality television, which followers could then watch play out every week. When the New York Times “discovered” him at the end of 2015, his fame skyrocketed, and it seemed that he could do no wrong.

Today, we’re learning that Carbone has done a great deal wrong in the execution of his strategy for revenue growth, chief among them being the creation of artificial drama by spreading partially-cooked rumors that have caused embarrassment and far worse among the show’s contestants. By publishing false accusations as fact, Carbone created an image as extortionist among this group of people. His “friendship” with contestants was based on their fear of him writing something untoward about them, and for this, he’s claimed ignorance.

Contestant Jade Roper was relentlessly hammered over her participation in a Playboy photo shoot before her appearance on the show. Carbone used every opportunity to paint her as a whore. When Jenna Cooper became engaged on Bachelor in Paradise, Carbone published what turned out to be a false accusation that she already had a boyfriend back home. The support “evidence” he used was laughable. He used his connections to arrange a phone call with contestant Demi Burnett in which he told of a sex dream he’d had about her. In the past few weeks, Reality Steve has been outed now as a misogynist, a bully, careless, ruthless, and reckless.

He was naturally all over the story of Matt James’ “winner” Rachel Kirkconnell and her upbringing as a white Southern belle who never considered the grave implications of participating in behavior now considered racist. This was especially problematic considering James was the first black male lead in the show’s history. They were both overwhelmed and hounded by horrible accusations, and they fled to private locations to talk and work things out. Enter Steve Carbone, who’d received an email from a woman in Florida with evidence that James was looking to hook up with her just days before traveling to New York to meet with Kirkconnell. Carbone personally engineered passing this information along to Rachel through her family, thereby setting the narrative that James was cheating on her. Others described him as “creepy,” including Kristina Schullman, a contestant who reported numerous inappropriate contacts with her.

For his part, Carbone has apologized profusely and claimed that he’s changed his ways. He says he’s no longer the misogynist he was, and that these things were from long ago. He’s also publicly stated that he will no longer have personal relationships with contestants, something any observer of the press will recognize as a slippery, slippery slope to begin with.

He’s a victim of believing his own hype, which is the Achille’s Heel of contemporary journalism, whether you’re a gossip columnist, a neighborhood blogger, or covering the White House for the New York Times.

The earliest indication of problems with the guy appeared to me many years ago, for in earlier times — before the NYT article — I used to help him with proofreading and making corrections for his site. I had early interactions with him over the usability of his website and urged him many times to fix issues related to the pop-up ads from which he was making money. These ads occurred one on top of the other and made it nearly impossible to read the blog content. His Twitter feed was filled with complaints that his site was unusable. I even offered him the name and contact information for a WordPress expert who could help him. He refused, because despite the endless complaints from readers, fixing the problems would’ve impacted his revenue.

So today, Carbone finds himself a toxic influence on the Bachelor franchise. He’s shunned by everyone now, and nobody knows what will happen with both the franchise or Reality Steve. He badly needs to stay relevant, even though the rules of media life are changing. You simply can’t get away with this kind of behavior any longer, because we’re all connected, and we can speak to the same people to make things right. In this sense, he is a textbook example of what I was teaching 10 years ago.

According to Ms Burnett, Carbone asked her to keep his sex dream a secret. This far into the #metoo movement, did he really expect she would? Media ethics in a networked world are especially important these days when fallacy seems to have been a regular product of the old world.

Let this be a lesson to all my students and the rest of the media world. In the quest for self-support, be careful not to set yourself up for a big fall.

Let’s Talk About Substack

Atelier Ventures' Portfolio

About a year ago, a friend asked me what I thought of Substack. For those who don’t already know, Substack is a Silicon Valley start-up providing software for people to publish their own newsletters and charge for subscriptions. It’s all the rage today with promises of monetizing the work of individual journalists. The site has even been promoted as the future of digital media, a way to cut out the middleman in the process of monetizing the content of mostly opinion writers. The company considers itself a pioneer in the new media struggle to pay journalists in the wake of disruptions to their formerly well-paying employers.

I’d never heard of it, which bothered me, because, despite retirement, I still think of myself as pretty informed about new media. I watched as others wrote about its great value and speculating it would provide financial relief for the Fourth Estate. More people asked my thoughts, so I put my new media guy hat back on, and this essay is the result of my analysis. I’ve been following the goings on enough that I’ve developed my own opinion, and I’m confident this falderal is mostly a pile of steaming bullshit. Here we go.

It’s an attempt to provide an OnlyFans model for content other than the salacious.

Substack, it turns out, is an investment child of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and a host of other investors all in the business of disrupting media. So much money is being thrown at Substack that the newest round of investing has set the company’s value at $650 million. Is it worth that? Not even close, but that won’t stop the money tree. Disrupting media is big business these days with roots in many places, so building a successful business here may not be the point.

Substack is unnatural as a new media player in 2021. It’s old media pretending to be a breakthrough. It’s a high-priced, glossy, and expensive magazine. It’s what we used to call an aggregator. The value proposition flows from the oldest mass media play in the books, bringing an “audience” to a “show.” In this case the show is the many newsletters brought together in one place for subscribers to read and enjoy.

The idea that its uniqueness is built around the term “newsletter” is actually pretty hilarious. The first journalists were paid to travel to foreign countries that were in competition with their benefactors back home. They wrote “letters” back to those business moguls who were eager to know how their competitors were doing. These were called “newsletters,” so the word actually represents the oldest form of journalism, not some bright and shining new object. Fun software notwithstanding, the content sure resembles blog posts, and there ain’t nothing groundbreaking about that! The rush of big-name journalists to the platform has gotten a lot of attention, but this really has nothing to do with excitement over this “new” model. They’re being given enormous revenue “advances” ranging up to $350 thousand dollars in order to marry their brands to Substack. If a guy knocked on your door and handed you an envelope with that much cash, I suspect you’d quite quickly join your personal brand to his. Here’s a paragraph from a Substack blog post last month:

Six months ago, as a demonstration of our confidence in the model, we started a financial program to help writers launch their own businesses on Substack – and it’s working so well that we are going to expand it rapidly. In fact, the viability of the Substack model has become so clear that Facebook and Twitter are now chasing us.

The truth is closer to the reality that you can do things with somebody else’s money that you could never justify in a more realistic business plan. It’s like a giant thumb on the scales, and therefore, the fruit of this “financial program” can’t be used to judge the value proposition presented by Substack. Anybody who thinks they will make up for all of this with future revenues likely also has a prescription for medical marijuana. It’s all bright and shiny right now, but that simply can’t last.

Today, the press is just beginning to discover things my tribe used to write about 15–20 years ago and longer. It was all there for anybody to seize, but newspapers thought they knew better than the geeks who were actually building the technology of the web, so they simply copied their print model and moved it online. This is why media companies use words like pages, display ads, and below the fold. We can now look and see our prophecies coming to pass, even though we all went to great lengths to reveal the coming disruptions before they occurred.

The point is there is nothing new or different from Substack. I don’t think there’s a viable subscriber fee big enough to support this kind of journalism model for the writers absent the investment money tossed at them ahead of time. A newspaper was itself a form of aggregator, but its offer was many for one relatively small fee. If that’s Substack’s ultimate business plan, well, that’s already failed. If anything, it’s a model for the rich, because only one percenters could afford more than a handful of these newsletter subscriptions. This, of course, makes great sense, because there are right-wing forces present in our world that would love to own the narrative that everybody else has to follow. Trump taught us that, if nothing else.

But, there’s another huge problem with this, and that is the tangible way it supports the idea of celebrity journalism. I wrote of this in 2010.

The press changed forever during and in the wake of Watergate. Never before had the press “brought down” a sitting President of the United States. The Washington Post did this through an FBI source that we now know had an agenda. It was the pinnacle of professional journalism and spawned a whole new genre known as the “investigative reporter,” a redundant term if there ever was one. It also spawned the age of the celebrity journalist, because Woodward and Bernstein are enshrined forever as sterling examples of what to emulate in the world of professional journalism.

For celebrity journalists, attention must be given to brand identity and marketing, which is usually done on somebody else’s dime. Unwanted thoughts enter in, like “I can’t say that” because I’ll have to defend it later,” or “I have to get my hair done and don’t have time for that.” It can so burdensome to be a star, right?

Of course, with celebrity comes status and with status comes compensation for such. Who knew that journalism was such a big money business? Murrow was not on the same social rung as the people he covered, but such is not the case today. Celebrity is a trap of the God/mammon variety, and the pursuit of such status cannot help but produce shaky ethical behaviors. Not always, but often enough to take a step back and ask ourselves what we’re doing.

I’ve worked big egos all my life and especially in the business of TV News. There’s something about the people who are willing to risk complete embarrassment and even shame in front of a camera that lends itself to an emotional fragility that would probably surprise those who only see them on TV. Now that new media is producing a whole slew of reporter/anchor type personalities, this thing about ego is going to continue for the industry. Substack plays to that ego by making them feel good about themselves as celebrity journalists. “Come join us” is their cry, but the bag of cash in their back pocket reveals something untoward to me.

Journalism in 2021 is a living organism consisting of millions of cells working together in real time to keep us all informed. That’s it. Twitter and Facebook are much closer to a contemporary, participatory, 21st Century news organism than anything that came before. There’s no role in that for thousands of thousands of subscription newsletters, so I can say with confidence that Substack is not only doomed but likely not what it appears to be. In the modern news rivers (h/t Dave Winer) of today, it’s pretty stupid anyway to link to pieces that require a subscription in order to read.

Moreover, news is no longer a story with a beginning, middle, and end. That was the finished product model of the deadline-based news of the past (see: News is a Process, Not a Finished Product). This means that the Substack model is bucking the movement of the news model by dangling big cash in front of writers with the fallacious belief that the OnlyFans model will work for content other than the girl next door taking her clothes off for a few dimes.

Call me a nut, but I think we’ve just about reached the end of milking the mass media model. The web is a 3‑way communications medium, the first of its kind. Yes, you can do a form of one-to-many media, but that’s a terribly juvenile approach to such a powerful technology. Fatted calves are being whacked with regularity by the evolution of those who use the technology. I’m sorry, but that’s exactly what Substack’s investors are seeking.

Substack may surprise me yet, but I doubt it. Instead of jumping head first over a big (BIG) check in their hands, perhaps these journalists who are transferring their work to Substack should instead try playing out the tape that leads to tomorrow.

Finally, this is a classic case of plausible hyperbole, which is what big investment money can provide.

My conclusion? Proceed with great caution.

Do You Believe in God?

Tickets Required for Easter Sunrise Service at Chimney Rock - Chimney Rock  at Chimney Rock State Park

If so, what is it you believe? Is He a He? Is He the God of my youth who demanded absolute dedication and was ready to whack me if I even thought about stepping out of line? Or is He the love god, who is so full of mercy that all you have to say is “I’m sorry,” and everything will be okay? And, what is your reaction to Him? Do you believe in the concept of sin and salvation, the act of redemption with God, so that you are guaranteed a seat at Heaven’s table? What is it exactly that you believe about the rise of “Christian” political power these days? Does God want or need you to change things here on earth? Is that something God wants or needs from you? What about faith? In what is your faith based? Do you believe that God helps those who help themselves? Do you believe your behavior — after having discovered God for yourself — in any way can send you to hell? If so, what kinds of behavior? Do you believe it’s your job to educate others about God and how to achieve the same rewards you have? Do you believe America is a “Christian” nation? If so, what form of Christianity is the “real” Christianity? What is that?

I personally don’t believe that white Christian nationalists actually believe in God, certainly not the God presented in the Bible. They practice the “form of godliness” warned of in the Good Book. They are modern day Pharisees and Sadducees who, like their counterparts in Biblical times, just knew that the man Jesus could not have been their Messiah, because He was promised to THEM as one who would save THEM. The guy they saw was a mere carpenter, a rabble-rouser who was organizing people to a form of religious freedom that the Israelites didn’t practice, a healer who served the needs of the commoners as well as those higher-ups who had crossed over to believe what their own eyes were seeing and what their ears were hearing.

Jesus told them of the Publican who gave of his need and was deemed righteous, while the Pharisee stood observing from a distance and said, “I’m glad I’m not like this Publican.” He was found wanting.

What is it about religious extremism that feels so good? They “just know” that they’re saved and therefore going to Heaven, and that emboldens them to speak their truth. Let me just say that God didn’t care about Adam and Eve’s truth, and He doesn’t care about yours. There is only one God, and there is only one Truth. Jesus came to give freedom to all, not just those who call themselves the “elect.” This is the great, anti-Christ deception they practice.

They will all perish as they must, for God does not suffer fools forever.

I mean, we’re talking about God here, people. God. You know, the supreme being of the universe. The guy who created everything, and through whom we live and breathe and have our being. The same God who produced a method of redemption that applies to one and all, not just a select and self-appointed few. He said, “Many who call me Lord, Lord will in no way enter the Kingdom of Heaven” and this directly applies to this ENTIRE group. There is no fence, my friends. Either you believe God or you don’t, and in my experienced opinion, this group falls into the latter. If it was any other way, their behavior would be significantly different. They would welcome the sojourner, feed the hungry, and care for the afflicted. We are judged, not by what we believe, but rather by what we practice, and these selfless practices are close to God’s heart. It cannot be reasoned away, because it takes a false witness to convince them in the first place.

I recently saw a comment on one of my Facebook friends’ stories that said, “I hate poor people, because their minds are only fixed on evil.” This wasn’t something this person made up in their own mind; it was taught and learned, and that’s exactly where the problem lies. All of this is heresy, dangerous heresy for these people from any religious perspective. The trappings of mammon are having a field day with these Christian troops.

And now after 500,000 deaths from the Covid19 virus, we have to ask, where has God been in all of this? God is merciful, but He’s also just. Who is truly surprised that we were delivered a deadly virus at the time of the rise of this Christian Nationalism heresy? I most certainly am not! I’m sorry if you lost somebody as a result (I did), but again we’re talking about God, which I firmly believe is Life itself. Do you really think you can get away with sticking your thumb in Life’s eye? Long-suffering? Yes, but not forever.

And now, with the approach of the 2022 elections, the GOP has turned off — for a season — any rationale for their own policies and are pointing their crooked fingers at the only strategy that works: focus their lies on everything that they view is wrong with the Democrats. As long as they can be presented as the enemy, the devil personified, there’s no need to talk about what the GOP wants and needs. This is the arena chosen for USA politics, and it really resonates well with these fallen Christian groups.

Meanwhile, people are leaving this form of the faith, and there is great travail and disarray within the church, and the only place for them to begin to find their way out of the hole they dug for themselves is by answering the simple question posed in this thesis.

Do you believe in God?

Google News Presents Two Equal Realities (But Only One Of Them Can Be Real)

Here, Fox displays a small truth as something sinister. Unfortunately, the New York Times also didn’t get called on, so there goes the conspiracy theory.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to get above the fray in order to see what’s happening around you. So, let’s do that today, as we look at the continued failure of our culture to stop the nonsense emanating from what’s known as Fox News.

Never has the division between the haves and the have-nots been so large and so crystal clear as it is today in the United States. The silk stocking Republican elites seek absolute license when it comes to profiting off the labor of others, while the have-nots argue on behalf of themselves and their families, many of whom are at or below the poverty level. One seeks avarice; the other wants to feed their families. It’s the most visible depiction we have of the hierarchy that runs the country from the shadows.

However, the ideological meshing of working class people with the silk stockings is necessary for the Republican Party to win elections. It’s because the real matter of profit drives only business owners, but ideology can move masses, with the key conservative ideologies today being abortion, school prayer, religious freedom, and gender. This is not by accident. These people can be convinced to side with even their own oppressors in fighting what they believe to be sin. This group, we’ve learned, is easy to manipulate in the name of ideology, but let’s always remember that the party’s primary aim is license for business practices that lead to profit. That will NEVER change.

And let’s never forget January 6, 2021, for it revealed the end game of all this manipulation.

A lot of people think that right-wing Supreme Court justices are chosen by their views on abortion, but the truth is that the real litmus test for the high court is their views on business and government. So, no matter how loudly any Republican is screaming about morality, it’s a straw man shield against talking about their self-centered values, because those values are most certainly not about you and me.

The silk stocking’s wants and needs are the real issues as we try to make sense of politics — and especially media — in the months after Trump. Trump was all business, all the time. His transparent business bias, visible through his lies about anything and anyone in opposition, was rejected by the electorate last November. America is in a state of recovery now, but those lies are finding traction through the lens of so-called right-wing media, namely Fox News.

The problem is that these propaganda arms of the GOP are finding a strange form of equality with traditional media companies even though they present another reality altogether. The last time I looked, there was only one reality, so this is a bit more than problematic.

Google News, that massive news aggregator presenting an overview of important, link-worthy stories 24/7, does a massive and destructive disservice to humanity by including Fox News in its aggregator. As I noted in my book The Gospel of Self, Fox isn’t really a news organization. Just as we weren’t at The 700 Club back in the 80s, Fox is a propaganda platform for the extreme Right. Nobody seems to argue with this, but it’s very difficult to find anybody who’s actually fighting against its participation with the form of the press that has served our democracy well since the beginning. You know, the press that’s protected by our First Amendment.

The Washington Post recently offered an opinion piece with the headline: “Fox News would be in trouble without ‘actual malice’ standard.” The article references the legal defense of the press that one offended in the press must prove actual malice and not merely the presence of the offensive item in the press. It is very difficult — and deliberately so — to sue the press over libel and slander and win.

The problem with this premise is that Fox — as a propaganda arm of the Republican Party — doesn’t qualify for the standard. It is not and doesn’t even try to be a member of the press. Therefore, it is not afforded the same rights and privileges granted the press. You can’t claim to be one and then behave in a manner that says otherwise. The Fox narrative assumes that the press is the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, which is arguably false. Nevertheless, this is foundational stuff, and their “news gathering” process is based on it.

The issues with our Southern Border are referenced by Fox as “The Biden Border Crisis.” See what I mean?

They’re treating Biden and the Democrats as they view the mainstream press treated Trump and Republicans when he was in office. Let me repeat that. Fox is treating Biden and the Democrats as they view the mainstream press treated Trump and Republicans when he was in office. This is an extreme version of false equivalency. For example, the mainstream press noted that Trump had trouble walking down ramps, so Fox makes a HUGE deal out of Biden slipping on the steps of Air Force One. It was their lead story, for crying out loud. The assertion in this false equivalence is that Biden is weak and frail (and out of touch). Anything that they view as a mainstream news political strategy (there’s no such thing) presented while Trump was in office, they are applying to Biden and the Democrats. And this is deliberate, for the worldview they espouse is one in which north is south and light is dark.

Fox and its clones are hammering Democrats over border issues left after years of fence-building bravado from the right. The assertion here is that the border is a HUGE problem that Republicans got right and Democrats have wrong. This storyline will continue for the foreseeable future. But, here’s the thing. We don’t ever talk about why the right hates immigrants. The GOP wants immigrants out, because when they are assimilated into our culture, they vote for Democrats, so the reality is that this is actually a strategy of voter manipulation. Georgia’s Republican governor signed into law a bill last week that was designed from the get-go to make it more difficult for the black population to vote. GOP leaders know they can’t win elections without help, which has been the core motivation for gerrymandering throughout our voting history.

And, let’s face it, as long as the white folks refuse to do the crummier jobs in our culture, immigrants will more than serve our society as a whole. It’s always been that way, folks.

But the drumbeat from the right is steady and strong:

  • Democrats are the socialist enemy
  • The media is liberal politically
  • The press is the enemy of the people
  • Liberals are the enemy of the people
  • Socialists are the enemy of the people
  • In politics, everybody does the same things
  • Pro-choice is pro-abortion
  • Anti religious freedom is anti-God
  • Evangelicalism is the true Christianity
  • Capitalism is the true provider of America’s greatness
  • The New World Order is anti-American

Here’s a statement that comes up in “discussions” with extreme right-wingers. “Obama got a free pass from the press (because they’re liberal).” Actually, this is quite absurd, because it assumes Rush Limbaugh’s fallacious narrative is truth, and it’s just not. Obama’s disdain for Fox News was explained in a FactCheck.org article that fact-checked the complaint.

Anita Dunn, who was then the White House director of communications, told the New York Times in an interview on Oct. 11, 2009, that Fox News was not a legitimate news organization.

“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” Dunn told the Times. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

She also said, when asked about snubbing “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, “we’re not going to legitimize them as a news organization.”

This is the “fray” of which I wrote that we must rise above. We must view every daily drumbeat through this reality, and it’s doubly difficult due to the symbiotic relationship between the news and the business community. Simply put, you don’t see a lot of news investigations of car dealerships, right? Car dealers are BIG local advertisers, and news entities in their markets can’t afford to lose all that revenue. Practicality, it would seem, wins out in the end, and the hell with ethics.

It’s bad but not nearly as bad as deliberately presenting falsehood as news in order to manipulate consumers (and voters). How far are you willing to go in trusting anybody who spins the news for profit?

I view this as a huge question, because the generation after me will have to deal with the results.

Robert Jeffress is a Dick!

Image result for robert jeffress
Courtesy Politico

So, that didn’t take long.

America’s pastor of the white evangelical branch of Christianity, Robert Jeffress (Q) Dallas, has taken less than a month to shift the focus of his narrative away from the insurrection and back onto the good, old, unforgivable sinners of the political left. You know, those awful liberals and their socialist, communist, wealth-redistribution ideas of taking from the well-off to give to the lesser-thans, to say nothing about killing babies and forcing clean Americans to fellowship with the dirtiest kind of poor beggars and filthy sinners.

“I’m glad I’m not like that Publican over there.”

On the surface, the recent Jeffress essay on Fox Populi is about the dangers of holding on to bitterness, and Jeffress feels his followers are filled with bitterness for having been “offended” by the election results and in need of forgiveness, presumably from God. In essence, he’s saying:

I’ve forgiven myself and so has God. That means you should you, too. I’ve already turned the page on that, and look how happy I am as a result? That’s because I’ve let go of my bitterness over the election. You, too, could be happy, because we’ve got righteous work to do in making God a part of the way we ALL live 24/7. Now, let’s get to work doing the exact same things that we’ve always done.

Folks, this has nothing to do with the church, and it certainly has nothing to do with God. It is a political land grab by dangerous forces that his false witness drags along with it. It would be nice if Jeffress had bothered to mention the word “repentance” as part of the deal, but he sees his followers as having nothing for which they need to repent, except possibly bitterness in their hearts.

…if we feel justice has not been served, we trust God to ultimately right the wrong…While God doesn’t always settle the score immediately, He will settle it ultimately.

Republicans certainly have the right to believe that the election was stolen, but after they have exhausted their appeals it is time to move forward and try to win the next election.

Did you see that? By talking about his followers’ “relationship” with God, he’s able to slide in political views as if they are the same thing. Read on:

It is no secret that I was, and continue to be, an enthusiastic supporter and friend of President Trump.

I believe Donald Trump’s presidency made our nation’s laws more just by protecting unborn life and promoting religious freedom.

I was disappointed by the results of the election. During his first two weeks in office President Biden signed a number of executive orders that I find deeply troubling and wrong.

I have every intention of pushing back against the torrent of ungodly policies that I believe the Biden/ Harris administration will unleash on our country. But I refuse to allow that determination to devolve into an all-consuming anger that poisons my spirit and infects everyone close to me.

I would encourage my fellow Trump supporters to do the same. As the writer of Proverbs warned, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23, The New Living Translation).

My concern about next week’s impeachment trial is that once the expected acquittal comes half of the country will refuse to accept it, giving Democrats the ammunition they need to continue their relentless attacks on the former president. This will be akin to continually picking at a scab, ensuring that it never heals.

Jeffress wants our attention redirected away from January 6th, which is necessary for these Christian Nationalists to be granted a mulligan. No thank you, Dickhead. We know how this ends. Here’s a great response to such from Dan Rather:

“January 6 is not ancient history. And neither are the lies that brought us to the brink. Those who peddled in these lies (or even just excused them) and thus stoked an insurrectionist mob, should not be allowed to slink back into credible discourse without a serious reckoning.”

It’s truly amazing how these people think they did nothing wrong, that God is very happy with them, and that their job is to simply continue the pressure that comes with the arrogance of self-righteousness.

Fox Populi tweeted their own view, hoping perhaps to get back the thousands of followers they’ve lost since the insurrection: “Liberal media, CNN try to paint QAnon loons as new face of Republican Party.” What other options do we have? That’s the facts, ma’am, and I’m sorry that your prodding and promotion of lies has put you on the precipice, but behavior has consequences, so kindly go screw yourself!

I’ve lost all patience for this. It’s a flat-out manipulation by false witness, and Pastor Jeffress can go directly to hell for all I care. (Careful with that bitterness, Terry)

We must be diligent and never allow ourselves to be fooled again that this religious zeal is anything other than the Republican-sanctioned overthrow of the U.S. Government.