Journalism: Where Do We Go From Here?

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​In recent days, as the Democratic field grows exponentially each day, we’ve seen a return to 2016 coverage by the media: Trump takes over every news cycle with new crazy, Bernie is in the lead, Buttigeig speaks eight languages, Elizabeth Warren’s unlikable, Kamala Harris is too hard, Amy Klobucher is too mean, ranch dressing, fried chicken, infer vs implied! Are the women ready? Too emotional? That’s almost sounds like a joke considering who we have in the Oval Office right now.

I saw a headline just this morning that Trump had a new nickname for Pete Buttigeig. How is that a headline for a news organization? Four reporters covered this story for the “news” organization! Have we learned nothing in the last two years?

Not to  mention that news anchors and pundits continue to drown us in whataboutism, false equivalency, and but both sides.

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The Mueller Report

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Before Twitter makes me run away screaming, tearing my hair out, and before listening to a zillion podcasts with a million takes on the “Mueller report”, I have a few of my own takes that may be relevant to the average non-political, what has happened to our country, how can I make it better person.
First, as of this writing, no one has seen or read the “Mueller Report”; at least not those people on cable news and the internet who are talking about it. Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his investigation – there is some debate as to whether or not it came to an end organically or if it was rushed to finish from orders from the Department of Justice – but the crux of the facts are that Mr. Mueller submitted his report to the Attorney General.

At that point, over the weekend, the Attorney General (Bill Barr) sent a four page letter to Congress, of his, let me repeat and emphasize – HIS perception of the lengthy report. Four pages isn’t nearly enough to do a substantial summation of the two year investigation.

That is literally all we know.

As far as the public is concerned, Attorney General Barr is the only one to have read the report, aside from Mueller himself.

A reminder from Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and DNC chair: “I confess to being disgusted with the American media in general. Just heard again in NPR that “the Mueller report cleared President Trump”. No one in the American media has read the Mueller Report.”

What we do know: 

1. The Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

This is a good thing.

However, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t break protocols, share classified information, or set up their Administration to make things better for Russia (China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia as well), and the sanctions. We’ve already indicted thirteen Russian nationals for election interference as well as connected one Russian national to espionage, money laundering through the NRA, and have had Trump campaign officials and Administration officials plead guilty and are in jail currently or will soon be serving their jail sentence.

2. The President was NOT exonerated on the obstruction of justice charges.

How do we know this? Mr. Barr stated it in his four page letter to Congress.

3. This Administration is continuing to undermine the rule of law and prey on our most vulnerable citizens, most recently the disabled athletes of the Special Olympics and trans active duty military service members.

4. It is unusual and without precedent that a Special Counsel looking into presidential wrongdoing would send his report to and suggest that the Attorney General (appointed by the President in question) look into whether criminal charges should be filed, charged and brought to trial.

For one thing, the Department of Justice has a longstanding policy of not indicting a sitting President. Their intention has been that any legal ramifications for the President be adjudicated through Congress’ role of oversight and impeachment (if warranted).

For another thing, looking back at our two most known special counsel investigations – Watergate and Whitewater – in both of those instances, the Special Counsel sent their findings back to Congress to make their determination. It should be expected that Robert Mueller, by all accounts the straightest of strait-laced and examine each page by-the-book former Marine, former FBI director, special counsel would have sent his findings to Congress to determine the next steps; not to the handpicked Attorney General who has already expressed his opinion on Presidential liability in this specific case prior to being tapped as AG.

5. My feelings are that we need to remember that when the Trump Admin people and their surrogates (including essentially state-run Fox News) say there are no indictments we need to remind them that there were over thirty and the Department of Justice, which the special counsel is a part of, doesn’t, according to its tradition, indict a sitting president. There are also at least sixteen other related investigations ongoing into the Trump Organization and Administration’s fraud and malfeasance.

Please also remember that Mueller’s job wasn’t to find anyone “guilty“; it was fact finding. As stated by his attorney general, the President was NOT exonerated; not by a long shot.

6. Additionally, we don’t need a special counsel to tell us what we’ve witnessed over the last two plus years: this administration failing our most needy, promising to protect health care and pre-existing conditions and now taking that away, promising not to touch social security and medicare and now reducing the budget to unsustainable margins, raising the taxes of the middle class to give billionaires and corporations tax cuts that they do not put back into the economy as promised, starting a trade war with China and sending our farmers into bankruptcy, the disturbing policy of separating families at the border and putting kids in cages, sexual abuse in detention of children, deaths by negligence of children in detention, tracking minor girls’ menstrual cycles but refusing pre-natal and post-miscarriage health care, and detaining American citizens without due process, and a host of other promises broken.

7. We need to continue to speak out where we see bigotry and hatred, especially when it comes so easily from the GOP.

8. We also need to remind everyone, in particular that the press is not the enemy of the people. They are the enemy of authoritarians who like to do their work in the dark. Journalists shine a light on the corruption, although with this administration, a lot of it has been done in the light.

9. We also need to address the culpability and complicitity of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell who has singlehandedly allowed this undemocratic takeover of the Senate and the judicial branch, holding the American people hostage.

I will leave you with this tweet from former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who I agree with one hundred percent:

“Again, I am relieved that our president did not conspire with Putin during the 2016 presidential election. Think about what a mess we’d be in as a country if he did. At the same time, Trump et al did a lot of things with Russians in 2016 that maybe weren’t illegal but were wrong.” (3/26/19)

What Was This Week?

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It’s been next to impossible to write about politics this week. I started to, a number of times, but they all ended with me tearing my hair out, and screaming into the void.

I began the day before Election Day in a flurry of anxiety and excitement for Tuesday, and then the Blue Wave hit. I started keeping tabs on races, and began an excited post that I planned on posting sometime late on Wednesday.

Then the President had his news conference, and he was quite nasty to some journalists, including Yamiche Alcindor, Jim Acosta, and Peter Alexander, not to mention April Ryan.

Then Jim Acosta had his credentials revoked.

Jeff Sessions, Matt Whittaker, Robert Mueller, Tucker Carlson’s lunacy, which I’ve just discovered doesn’t match up to the police report, but wait, there’s more.

Then the President attacked journalist, Abby Phillips.

Then he backed out of the Veteran’s Day visit to the American Cemetery in France during the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the end of World War I.

Then he was two hours late to dinner with the other leaders.

I’ve been offline for most of today, and I have to say it’s been a blessing.

I need to catch up, but I think I’m waiting for tomorrow’s podcasts to catch me up. I especially like MSNBC’s Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace.

So, what I’ve decided to do is to write a short piece on my feelings on Jim Acosta’s credentials, a slightly longer one for Tuesday, the one week anniversary of the Blue Wave about the Blue Wave, and completely ignore the disgrace of the man in the White House as he manages to embarrass this country once again with his petty, selfish, unAmerican conduct.

In his place, many others have stepped into the open space, and added their messages of honor to the veterans, all of them, but especially those we remember from one hundred years ago as they defeated the enemy, and brought the world together in peace.

I’ll leave you with these words from Laurence Binyon‘s poem, For the Fallen, published 21 Sept 1914:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Are we a Nation of States What’s the State of Our Nation?[*]

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i wrote a piece, a second part to last week’s Now What? about Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony and the fall out. It was supposed to post Wednesday morning. I had intended to re-read it, tweak it a bit, and then post, and I did finally do that last night. However, the last two days since the original first draft have been a minefield of emotion and anger. Rage. Continue reading

Border Update. 10:05pm EST, source: MSNBC

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​I don’t know what just happened in Texas about babies and toddlers at the border and shelters but Rachel Maddow just lost it on the air and couldn’t finish her show.

Did Lawrence O’Donnell just say babies are being arrested?

We still don’t know where the girls are.

We just pulled out of the UN Human Rights Commission.

I need to look into this.

Election Reflection – Self-Care

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Here are a few links to help you be politically active but also take care of yourself. If you have any links or self care suggestions, please add them in the comments. We are here for each other; now more than ever. 

How to Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed by Your Newsfeed

How to Call your Reps when you have Social Anxiety

How to Get Out of the Cycle of  Outrage in a Trump World

How to Stay Outraged without Losing Your Mind

Self-Care Ideas for a Trump Presidency

Watching Janelle Monae’s Women’s March Speech is your Self Care Homework for the Day

What to do when you’re so Overwhelmed by the Trump Presidency 

Two of my Own: 

Let’s Make a Coping Skills Toolbox

Make a Self-Care Thing

And this helpful graphic: 

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