At some point, I want to talk about the alleged leak of classified information by President Trump to Russian officials, but as with all the recent scandals—real or ginned-up—I want to wait before coming to a conclusion about what really happened. Implicit in the desire to do that is the discardable presumption that a cogent conclusion can be drawn. The thing is, sometimes it can’t, though I haven’t reached that conclusion in this case yet.
What I suspect is that much of the public is being subject to Outrage Theater by the few corporations which own almost all of the major media outlets–I know, not exactly a revelation. Roughly every three days there’s a new reason for either the Left or the Right to get its collective panties in a bunch; often, there are two or three competing stories and, also quite often, stories intended to drown out other stories.
But if my suspicions are correct, can we really blame major media for what they are doing? After all, it works, does it not?
And what do I mean by “it?” The continuous stirring up of emotions: anger, fear, helplessness, etc. is the tactic and before true investigation of that which is presented as fact can get started, the next bomb is dropped, so to speak. And the cycle begins anew.
By the time the truth is out there, two or three new narratives of dubious veracity have already reached orbit.
Back in the Good Old Days of blogging, we had Rathergate, and those of us in the know about how things work in the military ripped Rather’s narrative to shreds. But we had time to do it and I think that the professional narrative-fashionistas learned a significant lesson from that: don’t give the peasants time to think before the next outrage bomb.
That’s a sound warfare tactic and an old lesson that we peasants need to relearn for ourselves.
One of the most important events of the year happened last weekend in Beijing, but few U.S. news organizations gave much notice.
President Xi Jinping and representatives of more than 100 other countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, got together to hash out how to spend nearly $1 trillion—that’s TRILLION—of China’s money. The United States’ delegation got an upgrade in the growing bromance between President Trump and Xi.
The project, now called “Belt and Road,” is arguably the most extensive and expensive rebuilding program since the Marshall Plan after World War II.
Following the old trading routes of the infamous Silk Road, the projects stretch across 65 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe via land and sea in a mixture of financial investments and foreign policy. Here is just a taste of some of the plans:
–China is financing more than a third of the $23.7 billion cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant on the Somerset coast of southwest England. The project, in a major western economy, was added to the Belt and Road plan to give added prestige.
–China financed most of the $4 billion cost of Africa’s first transnational electric railway, which opened this year and runs for 466 miles from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
–A deepwater port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea will be linked by new roads and rail to western China’s Xinjiang region, creating a shortcut for trade with Europe. The port is part of $46 billion China says it is spending on infrastructure and power plants in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
–China is leading a $6 billion investment to build a 260-mile rail line from northern Laos to the capital, Vientiane. Mountainous terrain means bridges and tunnels will account for more than 60 percent of the line, and construction is further complicated by the need to clear unexploded land mines left from American bombing of the country during the Vietnam War.
Although most of the work will be done by Chinese companies, U.S. businesses like GE and Caterpillar are vying for some of the action.
The plan is not without its critics. India, for example, failed to show up for the weekend meeting because its leaders are not happy about a project that goes through Kashmir, land claimed by both India and Pakistan.
Whatever the case, the initiative will be the signature dish of President Xi—one that is likely to gain more than a few friends throughout the world.
Thus says the LORD: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.'”
2 Samuel 12:11-12
One of my favorite stories about my late mother comes from the days of my youth. It was near the end of the school year, May early June when I was in 4th grade at St. Anthony’s School. School was out and I was waiting on the steps for my mom to pick me up. This was in the days when nuns just started to ditch the habit and there was a young and very pretty nun who had done so at the school.
She was coming down the stairs near where I was sitting just as my mother was pulling up to get me, but ahead of my mother came by a guy in a convertible with the top down who seeing a very pretty girl coming down the stairs pulled over and said something to her. I didn’t hear what he said and it’s likely my nine year old, pre-internet/cable TV era ears might not have understood it at the time, but I remember sister getting very visibly angry as the man pulled away and my mother pulled up. I didn’t say goodbye to sister as I normally would (even out of uniform we kids knew enough to keep out of the way when one of the nuns was mad) so I just headed for the passenger seat of mom’s car, when the nun, still steaming walked over to my mother to vent her outrage at about that guy trying to pick her, a nun, up, Till my dying day I’ll never forget mom’s answer delivered in a tone that was reserved for my and my brothers when being scolded:
Don’t go blaming that man, if you want to be treated with the respect of a nun, DRESS LIKE ONE!
The shock on sister’s face (and my own since I’d never seen anyone talk to a nun like that) was complete and had not gone away when I had gone. I went to a public school built practically next door to my house for the next two years and didn’t come back to St. Anthony’s till 7th grade but to my memory from that day on either in school or at church at St. Anthony’s I never saw that nun without at least her nun’s coif (the headscarf) on again.
The lesson I learned that day was this: While my mother was a woman of discretion, you would never hear her make a negative public or even private comment about anyone even an enemy, but if you invited her opinion you had better be ready to hear it because it would be blunt and merciless.
And that brings me to Morning Joe and their attack on Kellyanne Conway
Until I started doing daily mass and working overnights, Morning Joe a staple of my day. It was practically the only outlet for conservative opinion on MSNBC and I liked the fact that Mika didn’t pretend to be “objective” as many liberal members of the media do.
I also had a good relationship with both Joe and Mika. Joe hit DaTipJar at least once and in my early days it got back to me that he had good things to say about the site. I admired (and still do) their commitment to their fans who made the show and still believe Mika’s willingness to discuss putting on a few pounds was an important cultural symbol and a positive message to women who think they have to starve themselves to look good. Both, Joe & Mika have been interviewed by me and despite their current Trump Derangement Syndrome, this show is, based on content, chemistry and sanity the best choice of viewing on MSNBC and it’s not even close.
I have written a lot about the show itself but have been silent on their personal lives. I heard plenty of rumors over the years but ignored them because first of all you don’t know whose saying things for the sake of an agenda and second of all it wasn’t my business. When those rumors eventually turned into a public engagement I still said nothing since it was no more my business when it’s now a matter of public record and planned to have no comment on it on the grounds of decorum.
Assume it’s all true, though. Why are Joe and Mika telling tales out of school like this? Whatever Conway said to them about her reluctance to flack for Trump was doubtless said in confidence. They’re breaching that confidence and seemingly doing it in hopes that Trump will hear this, get pissed off, and fire her. If you’re one of the eight thousand establishment political/media people who frequent this show as guests, why would you ever say another candid thing in Scarborough’s or Brzezinski’s presence? Obviously they’ll try to use it to destroy you, publicly, on their own show, if you end up on their sh*t list. Sheesh.
I found the sheer brazen hypocrisy in a public forum for political and ratings gain is so offensive that it becomes necessary to say the obvious rejoinder aloud:
Did I actually just wake up and see that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski who, newly engaged after divorcing their respective spouses during the run of their show, excoriate Kellyanne Conway in public for doing her job of defending her boss in public even if some of his past actions displeased her, rather than abandoning him to help the much worse Hillary Clinton?
Do Joe and Mika really think it’s a good idea to public suggest KellyAnne Conway is two faced over a campaign when they apparently spent years keeping up a pretence, saying one thing on air and making one pose in public, while doing something completely different when the cameras are off and not only doing so but asking others to go along with this masquerade?
Not only is their attack on Kellyanne Conway dishonorable, but it boggles the mind that Trump derangement Syndrome has driven them to say this given their own efforts to hide their relationship from the public as long as possible. It terms of stupidity, that move is so remarkable, so incredible and so clueless that I’m shocked that they would resort to it.
This act, at least to me was so incorgroutious that, like my mother listening to that young Nun’s rant, it’s worth the likely fallout and the burning of bridges to call them out on it.
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