I Admit It: I Am One Nervous Journalist

johnnycash

Johnny Cash

“I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die…”

Johnny Cash, in “Folsom Prison Blues”

“I did it (sued a journalist) to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.” 

Donald Trump, in a 2016 interview

 

Folk-rock singer Johnny Cash’s 1955 song, “Folsom Prison Blues”, is the stuff of fable and legend. The image of shooting a man in Reno is clearly not meant to be taken literally.

Not so with Donald Trump’s confession about why he sued a writer who wrote a book making the case that Trump wasn’t nearly as wealthy as he has made himself out to be. Trump knew how difficult it was for a celebrity like himself to win a libel case against a journalist, under our Constitution’s First Amendment and Supreme Court rulings that have backed it up. So he decided instead to punish the writer, Timothy O’Brien, in the next-best way—by forcing him and his publisher to spend large amounts on legal fees. Trump even appealed the case, after it was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge, only to have it rejected again on appeal. This was one of seven libel assaults Trump has filed against the media (he’s lost all but one, when the defendant didn’t appear), together with other billionaires, to weaken the media.

In a few days, Trump will have power to increase the odds he and other corporate bigwigs can win libel suits against members of the media. Here is how he stated his intentions early last year:

“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”

He added this promise to the media:  “We’re going to open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.”

Trump repeated this threat any number of times, while adding language designed to de-humanize reporters and writers in the eyes of the public. He has referred to them as “lying,” “disgusting,” “dishonest,” and “scum.”  (For the record, President Obama has been tough on journalists in another realm, going after whistle-blowers and others who have revealed government secrets, with unprecedented aggressiveness.)

History teaches us to take seriously the rantings of authoritarian rulers—they predictably go after those they scapegoat. And Trump has a Republican Congress that can pass the laws he wants. Moreover, he’ll be able to shift the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court to possibly rule his way on laws attacking free speech.

All this by way of explaining the fears I’ve experienced as I consider a sequel to my investigative book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, in which I describe a federal and state government campaign, carried out with the encouragement of industry, to cripple small farms producing nutrient-dense food.

Because my story included a number of individuals and companies that I knew might take offense at my story, I was concerned about possibly being sued by someone with Trump’s attitude toward journalists. So I was especially careful in my reporting to be able to back up via credible sources all my assertions. I also purchased special insurance protection in the event I was sued for libel. Such insurance is extremely expensive, even assuming you can get it, which isn’t easy; I was fortunate to be able to buy it through a journalist trade organization I belong to.

I’m not providing this background to stir up sympathy. I’m explaining it to give shape and form to the concerns expressed by any number of media commentators about how Trump could limit key freedoms. I know lots of people here have pooh-poohed those concerns as the crocodile tears of upset liberals.

This business about insurance and liability and such are matters reporters generally keep private, much like doctors and other professionals prefer not to discuss malpractice risk with patients. It’s part of the scenery, part of the risk you assume with the profession, but you try to avoid thinking about it too much.

A few readers have encouraged me to take on new investigative projects, most recently Scott Freeman, in a comment following my previous post (about the expanding impact of technology on food). Journalists are, at heart, crusaders, and I’m no exception, so it’s tempting to simply kiss off threats like Trump has made, and move on to new exposes.

Yet any such project is, in essence, a business venture, and as such, I need to take into account the shifting legal, political, and business landscape. The man I quoted at the start of this post, who bragged about making a journalist’s life miserable by suing him, will now have the full resources of the U.S. Justice Department at his disposal, and could have new laws making it easier for big-money types to go after journalists for libel. Moreover, he’s giving encouragement to the Monsantos and Dean Foods of the world to join in on the fun.

When you come down to it,  Trump’s vision of new laws and regulations to trip up journalists would be a very American way to limit free speech. You don’t send soldiers out to shutter news offices, you simply enact costly laws and regulations that inhibit the media. Not unlike what’s been done to small farmers over the last half century or so, with disastrous results.

I’m still not sure what direction to go in. I’ve been trying my hand at fiction as one option, since it’s a tougher genre for business and governments to regulate (though especially repressive regimes go after novelists as well, to the extent they parody or satire the regime).

I know a lot of people here have drooled over sticking it to America’s mainstream media. All I can say is, be careful what you wish for.

32 comments to I Admit It: I Am One Nervous Journalist

  • Ingvar Ingvar

    That’s a lot to discuss, and all of it worth discussing carefully, even in detail Mr. Gumpert.

    I’ll try to follow-up properly on our last exchange.

    If the new president is, as one of his sons said, best understood as a blue-collar guy with a big balance sheet, and one who would rather talk with the cabbies outside than the hoi polloi inside, then the result of Trump’s administration may not be weighted towards those who are both wealthy and full of themselves as I think that you fear it will be.

    The root assignment of journalism is testimony.

    In my opinion the journalistic world has grossly failed at this root assignment.

    And by that I mean the end result, that which is presented for consumption as testimony.

    I observe this failure, an observation that is not to in anyway justify enervation of the the first amendment to our constitution.

    I may not comment often.
    I am short on time.
    But I always keep an eye on this valuable website, thank you Mr. Gumpert and thank your TCP commentariat.

    Happy New Year To Everyone!

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    David,
    It would be inconceivable to think that the lack of integrity that currently exists in the mainstream media today could get any worse. How can there be freedom of the press when those who manage “the press” have an unwritten policy of prejudice and censorship towards nonconformists?

    History should also teach us that, “what goes round comes round” or “as you sow, so shall you reap”. Unfortunately, and I say this with trepidation… Donald Trump may well indeed be the bitter pill that the media has to swallow as a consequence of its biased manipulation and contempt for of the truth.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Putin and Obama play chess….while Trump plays checkers and refuses intellengence briefings and says he knows more about hacking than 16 intel agencies combined.

    He is a disgrace, a farce, a bully, an ignoramus and a twittering thin skinned ass. While the rust belt may have voted Trump into office….they now swet themselves into a frenzy over the possible loss of Obama care…..something the poor unemployed and uneducated desparately need. The rust belt is going to get what ignorant stupid people deserve. A huge deficit, an arms race, less medical care, and domination by the elite right wing billionaires that played them as fools. The rust belt deserves what is coming to them.

    Let Trump sue me for slander….David, you will be in good company.

    • fan of Edward R. Morrow

      Elitist much Mark? Or are you merely projecting onto Trump an apt self-image of “a disgrace, a farce, a bully, an ignoramus and a twittering thin skinned ass”? We’ve all seen it here time after time on this very blog.

      Obama may fumble amiably at a halting game of chess, but there’s every likelihood when Putin and Trump finish jousting we will end up owning most of Russia (the useful parts, anyway) and Putin will be stiffed out of the agreed purchase price. We shall see. All we do know is Obama and Hillary accomplished nothing with Russia, Putin chagrined Kerry and Obama by pulling their butts out of the fire when they failed to act after Syria called Obama’s stupid bluff with his “red line” over chemical weapons. Putin not only looked like the knight in shining armor, he was in that instance…he got the chemicals outa there…while Obama slunk off to who knows where to do futilely putz around at who knows what.

      It’s about time ‘journalists’ (and I use the term loosely, very loosely) cut out all the political maneuvering and got back to being real journalists. What is a real journalist? It’s been so long since we’ve seen one that no one quite remembers, but legend has it real journalists fiercely husbanded their credibility and policed themselves to assure no bias crept into their reporting, they published only after thoroughly researching all angles of a story, they verified facts and then stuck to the verified facts. Musta been something to see back in the day.

      What passes today for journalism and ‘journalists’ (I refer to them as urinalists) is an atrocity upon humanity. Always spinning, carping, deceiving, even lying. You fakes who call yourselves journalists could benefit from having your lopsided asses sued off a time or two, just to focus your attention and trim you back into balance. So stop whining about libel insurance — it’s just a cost of doing business…dirty business…and the one essential investment that will keep you all gleefully misinforming and indoctrinating us with your entertaining nonsense for years to come.

      • brad

        Please note that 90% of the media is owned by something like 6 groups of people – and they are all zionists. Thus we have the specific propaganda, agendas, and brainwashing that furthers the aims of a group who has stated intent to achieve world domination.

        Therefore, $$$ comes before integrity – so you see drug ads and get the propaganda that it isn’t the HOURS of drugpusher ads on TV that are the gateway drug – no, it’s the healthier alternative that could replace those poisons AND cut into their profits and thus media income.

        Ideology comes first – so we see lies about Hillary propagated in the lamestream media by the presstitutes who keep pushing that “Russia did it” lying. They keep it up and keep it up because they want the people to become afraid of Russia again for cold-war profits for the weapons mfgrs, the press sales, the manipulation of the people, and if they could manage it – they would love to RE-install that Rothschild zionist central bank back in there like almost every other country in the world has – Rots-child central bank.

        For those not aware who may read this – violence and clandestine violence by the US supported the imposition of Rothschild central banks into the following countries in the last couple decades – and more banks of course, but… Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Venezuela and more.

        Remaining? N Korea, Iran, Russia because they kicked theirs out – and Cuba. Then Rot$childs will have central banks in every country. Thus THEY dictate national policy. One of the Rothschilds stated that he didn’t care who was in political power – allow him to print the money and everyone will do what he tells them to do.

        This is why his pet country – israel – stated openly (Ariel Sharon – 2010) that the US does what israel TELLS it to do, and we know that we have to….

    • “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” Matthew 5:22

      Ah acrimony! Seems like there ought to be a way of getting one’s point across without rancor. Another verse: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Romans 14;4

      At this point in history, with the country facing economic upheaval if not financial ruin, perhaps it’s time to allow someone with the potential to be relentless in his quest for solutions to take the helm. If he does a poor job, if he doesn’t turn things around in 4 years, then replace him. But give him a chance to show us what he can do.

      President Obama had 8 years to turn things around. In that amount of time, with the help of congress, he allowed the national debt to double. I find that troubling. Another verse: “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers.” 1 Timothy 5:1

      Never speak harshly? That’s a hard one isn’t it. Lastly, from the Old Testament: “What is desirable in a man is his kindness,” Proverbs 19:22 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

      One wonders what sort of political speech we would hear if our politicians and journalists were to heed these principles of behavior as a matter of course.

      • Gordon Watson

        you “wonder what sort of political speech we would hear if our politicians and journalists would heed these principles of behaviour as a matter of course” ? … well, wonder no more David Brown. Go read that Bible : and be sure to read ALL of it. The prophets of ancient Israel, and the martyrs of the Faith from then on, did not mince words when it came to telling the King and rulers, exactly which was was up. The pattern was : when they got around to excoriating the religious racketeers, is when things got deadly serious = they payed with their life. The King always requires support of the Priesthood. The false teachers and hirelings and bark less dogs who infest the pulpits of Churchianity in Ham-merica, today. Are the root of the problem. Where were you when the ( so-called ) Pro-Life movement was out on the street, preaching condemnation of sin to the nation? Being hauled away to gaol for using the Free Press to expose wickedness in high places?! That was half a lifetime ago … You-all ain’t seen nothing, yet.

    • brad

      Any huge program will benefit at least some. i know MANY people who are being hammered by Obamacare – and VERY few – (none personally) who claim to be benefitting from it, although i don’t doubt some will get some help.
      The prob with O-bomb-ya care is that it IS NOT HEALTH CARE. It is an anti-constitutional forcing you to illegally pay a farcical “tax” to a corporation. Corporations CANNOT TAX. They have NO legitimate regulatory authority whatsoever – the ONLY authority corporations have is CONTRACTUAL – so where is YOUR signed contract with O-bomb-yacare providers? It doesn’t exist and is unlawful.

      This program is total bullshit to me and the millions who recognize that once you step into our medical system and get beyond a critical or emergency care need – you need to run like hell if you don’t want to be harmed or killed, since the US “medical system” kills far more than any other cause of death every year. Why should i have to support a monstrosity which turns one into a medical slave for procedures that damage – instead of having free choice to see a naturopath or someone that can actually help me improve my health situation? Oh – and emer/crit care has TONS of bad things about it that should also be avoided. Vaccinations, opioid pain killers, and so much more – bad procedures, tired surgeons…..

      Yes Trump must be fought and let’s join in this. i don’t think it is a coincidence that at least 2 dozen of his greatest supporters and advisors are Ashkenazi Zionist Jews. The violent ones intent on ruling the world and reducing populations to about 500,000,000 total. Just, as they state, them and their “goyim” (non-Jew) slaves so they can eat while we grow their food.

      Thank God we don’t have to fight Hillary who was undeniably the worst possible choice for Prez one could ever expect. The most crooked politician – with the BONUS of being incredibly incompetent. Then there is her murderous nature….When she promised in Brazil to remove all borders and to allow corporations to run this country – that was FAR worse than Trump.

      So he is bad, but then again, a Gerbil would likely be a better president…i would. You would. Random Homeless man #23 would……

  • Gary Ogden

    David: As contemptibly as the major newspapers have behaved in regard to actual journalism (for example, in the NYT publishing the opinions of the amazingly ignorant and very wealthy Pharma insider Paul Offit concerning vaccination, and presenting them as facts, to the exclusion of any other voice-RFK, Jr. had to buy advertising space to counter this nonsense), you are right to be deeply concerned. We were given no choice in this election; the political class, along with the media, shot themselves right between the eyes; the Democrats in derailing the clear popular choice’s candidacy, and the Republicans by trotting out the sorriest bunch we’ve seen in quite a while to counter Trump. And the bulk of the media jumping on the DNC bandwagon early on. And now utterly failing to question the “Russian Hack” story, or get to the bottom of the “fake news story.” It is hard on honorable journalists like you (and there are many like you, David) when the big boys show they are cowardly tools of the elites. Obama has certainly set the stage for Trump. What an enormous disappointment he became. If I wish to know something other than the official propaganda about a story, I read what Sharyl Attkisson or Glenn Greenwald has to say about it; they do real investigative journalism, and she has certainly suffered for it.

  • Margaret Cegelski

    Journalism is in a crisis and I use to say that after reading the propaganda from the far left and far right that the truth was somewhere in the middle. Today with 24/7 news, people can hear the same biased headlines and sound clips every half hour which is traumatizing as well as brain washing. The media seems to find the worst pics of people to support their bias and it has become so disrespectful. I have to say, the majority of the time that I heard a sound clip that reflected horribly against the individual and I went to the source and listened or read the transcript, I found it to be false or terribly misleading. I am so tired of hearing/reading the same rhetoric words spouted off verbatim. It is the same technique used to squash any discussion and demonize the opponents whether it is immunization’s, saturated fat and heart disease, climate change, politics, the list goes on and on. The trolls have taken over every discussion and people have sunken into attacking, dispicable language. The media has taken sides. The effect is to silence all dissent and discussion. Too many people do not know what respect is anymore. Civility is lost and was lost before Donald Trump came on to the scene. I believe many people voted for Trump because they want to see him roll back some of the changes to our laws that have liberalized them in some cases or have taken freedoms away in others. Minority groups of people are now emboldened to push for greater acceptance at the expense and discrimination of others. Political correctness and thought police have gone too far and I believe this is what has divided so many. Our laws have stood the test of time and should not have been changed.

    David, I hear and understand your fear of using your first amendment right. Every citizen today of the USA has to be concerned about their speech and action if it is contrary to the populist culture of the day, which is not inclusive of dissent. They might not be sued but they can lose there jobs, income, friends, ect. It does take courage to have a voice and to stand up for your beliefs and this is worth fighting for with a healthy dose of respect for people’s differences. I appreciate your blog so much and the many food, supplement, political discussions you bring up. Maybe one of these days we will be rallying around our favorite blogger for support the way we are encouraged to stand up for our farmer.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Thank you very much, Margaret. I appreciate your cogent description of what ails us, and what led to Trump’s ascension. The Internet has definitely amplified the ongoing barrage of media junk and the effects of polarization. I agree that a lot of this was going on before Trump, but he has definitely taken it to a new level.

  • Gary Ogden

    David: Here is an example of journalism at its best: From the March 25, 2011 issue of Scientific American, “Health Care Myth Busters: Is there a High Degree of Certainty in Modern Medicine?” (No, only about 20%). Just trying to cheer you up.

  • Joe C.

    I personally subscribed to this blog for updates and news on raw milk throughout this country. I did NOT subscribe to this blog so I can keep reading anti-Trump posts. David, I know you’re against Trump. If you want to write about how you are against Trump, feel free to start a new blog about it. You have the freedom to do that. Please keep this blog on the topic of raw milk.

    That being said, I want to briefly mention that the mainstream media has been extremely biased against Trump and very much in favor of Clinton and Obama. I believe what Trump wants to do is deal with the media’s bias, so that they report things in a more neutral way. I personally think the media is a bigger enemy than Trump, Clinton, or Obama, because they distort the facts which lead people to think a certain way that is different from what the facts are. That includes facts about raw milk being distorted or told incorrectly. So I would say that Trump is onto something with regards to dealing with the media. Based on what you have historically dealt with in this blog, I believe you want to create awareness about raw milk and different things going on with it. I think that’s great. Just please keep this blog on that topic. If you want to write more about politics, please start a new blog on that topic.

    • Cliff M

      I am 100% in agreement with Joe C. on this topic! As a “rust belt” raw milk/livestock farmer that sells direct to consumers I would love to see this blog get back to food freedom and raw milk topics (as a side note to Mark not all rust-belt residents are ignorant and stupid, nor did we all vote for Trump)

      I am neither a Trump nor Clinton fan, however our government was organized by our forefathers very carefully to limit the powers of any one individual, group, or agency. All this hysteria about Trump turning this country into a dictatorship over the next 4 years is a bit overblown. We have a Congress and well established judicial system that will limit his craziest moves. He runs his mouth and tweets without thinking through things very clearly but when it comes down to it most of his ideas will not get very far in the light of day. I certainly am not factoring any of his rants or ramblings into the future business plans for our farm.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Joe, the theme of this blog was originally “the business of health.” It became heavily geared toward food freedom, as personified by raw milk, when raw milk became hugely controversial and a big target of government regulators. My blog posts have, in the past, served as the basis of books I have written. My current blog post was really about my concerns about whether to carry out a new investigation, for a book, on a food freedom topic, in the face of the threats being made against journalists by the incoming president. But you’ll see more here about raw milk, probably sooner rather than later.

      On your point that Trump wants to “deal with the media’s bias,” the First Amendment to the Constitution says nothing about changing “media bias” or getting media to “report things in a more neutral way.” “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” The courts have been diligent in upholding this, and this is part of what Trump is upset about, and what he wants to overrule. It’s interesting that many people demand no exceptions for enforcement of the Second Amendment, allowing the right to bear arms, and yet are willing to include all kinds of exceptions to freedom of the press.

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    Everyone…

    Mainstream media is in shock. None of the ethical measures that have been used in the past to measure truth apply any more. Why is that??? because liars, haters, and the right wing and a lying Trump has changed the entire media news milieu and normalized lies and made FOX News media relevant. FOX News is a total joke….a dangerous joke. Trump now believes and quotes a treasonous traitor ( Julian Assange ) to America, who is hold up in a Peruvian Embassy instead of our own intel agencies. He threatens to sue everyone including those that he has sexually abused in the past and anyone that attempts to appose him!

    That’s the last straw for me. Obama should immediately arrest Trump and charge him with treason and actions against America. Trumps actions are solidly anti-America.

    This is the end of Rome guys and gals. Cancelling the affordable care act….will enrage all of the Rust Belters that want their cake, want us all to pay for their cake and to eat it also.

    This is what happens when simpletons vote for their own kind. I have lost all hope for the bloggers here. I am speaking to the rational and the intellectuals.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Mark, I certainly share much of your outrage. But I think the absence of outrage, the support for this new regime (and it’s way beyond anything on this blog), stems more from the fact that Americans have never had to live under tyranny, have never had to confront the possibility that their president is an out and out traitor. That’s what happens when you have 240 years of mostly peaceable constitutional rule. The tyranny of King George’s rule over the American colonies was so so long ago.

      I’ve come to conclude that you can’t explain to people how horrible it is to live under tyranny. They don’t understand what you are saying. It’s as if you are speaking a foreign language. Some people learn from a serious study of history. Others who have traveled to countries ruled by tyrants get a little bit of a sense of what it is like during a brief trip, and are usually relieved to return to the good old USA. But most Americans have little knowledge of history and haven’t traveled widely. The only way for them to know what it’s like is to live it, to experience it. That little excerpt I included in my response to Dennis gives a pretty good description of what happens in tyrannical societies. Unfortunately, by the time people realize how terrible things have become, it’s too late.

      • A New Day for Old Dogs

        Oh, “tyranny” again David? Seriously? Exactly by what path will Trump become King George III of England?

        Sure, Trump will take inspiration from Obama and go wild with the executive orders. Many thanks to Barry Obama for isolating the executive branch of government and acting as if to rule from on high. Of course, every idiotic executive order Obama rammed down our throats will be rescinded by executive order of Pres. Trump, and so it will go with the Trump orders in the following administration.

        My goodness, for a political group who has always taken pains to act superior, to put up a strong front as being the rational, coherent, accepting and compassionate ones, the left and the Liberal Elites are certainly showing their true colors with the exposure of their mean spirited rigged primary campaign machine and now with their over-the-top bigotry, rage and rancor as sore losers. Suddenly the ‘wise ones’ are all gone quite literally berserk with frustration, hate and anger. Here on this blog we have Mark McAfee exposing his true feelings, dominating the conversation with some of the most vicious, hateful heart-felt bigotry and name calling I think I’ve seen puked up anywhere by anyone in years! It is not becoming of you titans of the left, a truly embarrassing sight. Really opens our eyes and makes most of us finally understand that we dodged a bullet when Hillary’s coronation did not go off as planned. Her courtiers have gone mad with grief, as they had intended to go mad with power.

      • Gary Ogden

        David: Quite right. What too many Democrats fail to understand is that tyranny is being shoved down our throats by both Democrats and Republicans. Here in California it takes the form of medical tyranny, brought to us by Democrats. Not only are parents denied informed consent in the medical treatment of their children, but the medical board, in collusion with the California Department of Health (which receives substantial funding from the CDC) is threatening the licenses of physicians who write medical exemptions. David, this is a horrifying abuse of power. This is tyranny directed at our most vulnerable, infants, children, and new parents who will protect their offspring at great cost. They are given virtually no information about the very real risks of vaccination, which for some of them (flu and HPV, for example), far exceed any possible benefit. There is a very good reason why the Nuremburg Code demands informed consent for medical procedures. The Nuremburg Code gives moral weight, but there is no statutory authority for its enforcement. This abomination (SB 277) is why I left the Democrats, why I no longer consider myself a progressive, and why I never again will vote for a Democrat for state office (federal office is a different matter). This is the main reason I voted against Hillary. Tim Kaine tried to make HPV vaccination mandatory in Virginia, while Pence, with whom I disagree on most things, stopped this nonsense in Indiana. This election was a no-brainer for me. As awful as Trump sounds when he opens his mouth, he couldn’t possibly be any worse in office than Dubya, or Obama, or Clinton, or any of the rest of them going back to JFK, our last president who may have charted a different trajectory for the nation.

      • Charmcat

        I support David in his warning of tyranny. I have not posted here since the days of the cod liver oil debate, and have changed my name to protect my self from former attackers. I have not read all the blogs lately or comments but enough to have had an ah ha moment while reading a first hand account by the Russian author, ( Teffi) of the revolution in 1917 and her escape to from Russia to Paris. Her short stories were compared to Chekov’s and were reportedly loved by both the last Czar and Lenin. She actually worked on a newspaper that Lenin took over and she hated him, said he was not human, But in her trek from Moscow through Kiev and Odessa, the horror of the Bolsheviks and even the some of the white army, the executions for no other reason than a local bully in the government felt like it, the excruciating cruelties and inhuman tortures that even people who had been ordinary citizens before the revolution, took part in. She and others in her party only escaped because often at the last moment, some one still kind or some one who knew her reputation as a great writer would step in and speed her on her way. And I thought, to myself, WE as US citizens have not a clue what tyranny really means, but then I am white and I remember there was a segment of Chris Rock doing an interview with Jerry Seinfeld when they were out driving and a cop stopped them and Chris later told Jerry he would have been scared, as a black man, if he was alone in the car and not driving with a white person. Anyway it isn’t just that there is a dictator at the top, it is that all the way down the line the bullies the have nots, people wilth no feeling of self worth who will rise up and batter and steal and lie about whom ever they can, the whole social structure will go mad. And I remember reading the book THE THREE SWANS, about a girl growing up in communist China, there were always jealous informers watching your every move.
        And the government would always send the brightest students to live in the provinces and teach there, it was considered bad form to do well in your classes and so forth. The only way I can relate to tyranny is remembering survival jobs I had when I was younger and having bullies as bosses, but that was just at work, horribly unpleasant, and I needed to stay for the money at times, but I had an outside life. Imagine always having to be on your guard because of the local bullies in your neighborhood who had been given or had taken permission to take over and rule every facet of your life and if you did not do what they liked or give them what they want, you could be killed or carted off to a concentration camp. So It is not just one dictator over the country, it is many little dictators too. And to give Trump a chance? Good God, look at the terrible and mostly ruthless people he has picked to surround himself with. Time to find ways to protect and potentially hide your own love of truth and justice and kindness and love of other humans and eating healthy food as best you can. Not that I think Hillary was so great, still am wondering about Pizzagate and her many ties to those people.

    • blesse\'d are the cheese makers

      Mark —

      Your name calling, stereotyping, intolerance toward viewpoints that differ from yours and unsubstantiated rants prove to me the following point. You just can’t fix stupid when it comes to liberals.

      From: A rust belt deplorable

    • Blesse\'d are the cheese makers

      What an idiotic post. We have been witnessing treason for eight (8) years. You live in a world of cognitive dissonance, Mr. M. You should stay with subjects of which you have knowledge. The political arena is not the place for you and your emotional irrational rants and raves. You sound like those has-been Hollywood Chicken Little’s like Martin Sheen, et, al, who are preaching the end of the world now that Trump has been elected. As far as MSM is concerned — they are and have been the biggest problem in America. They never let the facts get in the way of a good spin on their agenda. Mr. M — Get real and grow up, will ya . . .

    • McAfee, you prove Ron White correct.

      • Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

        Bob Hayles,
        I just dropped in here, what is the Ron White reference a reference to? Is it to a comment, here, somewhere, by Ron White? Is it something in the “news?”

        Thanks for any help you can provide in this.

        Ingvar

  • Gary Ogden

    Mark: The Affordable Care Act should never have been called Obamacare. He had nothing to do with putting it together, nor did any elected member of Congress . None of them even knew what was in it. It was written, as most legislation is, by a nameless, unelected Congressional staffer with input from lobbyists, in this case from the medical industry. Our medical system is broken, vastly expensive, and the ACA hasn’t and can’t fix it. It is little more than a gift to the medical industry. A single payer system, like Medicare, would have been far cheaper, and likely better, but it was politically untenable. Obama, and the majority of Congress refused to consider it. When a politician claims something it doesn’t mean he will do it (Obama promised to hire an Autism Czar, but forgot to), nor that he is capable of doing it. Congress is incapable of fixing the ACA. The medical industry has by far the largest number of lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Most in Congress no longer represent their constituents, but those who supply the campaign funds. And Trump, for all his bluster, won’t be able to fix it, get rid of it, or change it for the worse much. The medical industry won’t let that happen. The United States has become a nation whose government is run by multi-national corporations, and so have many other nations. What I can’t fathom is the media’s obsession with Russia. She has one aircraft carrier, so old and decrepit it had to make numerous stops on its way from its home port to the eastern Mediterranean because it kept breaking down; then the cable which arrests aircraft when they land broke, and they couldn’t fix it in time to capture one of the returning aircraft, which ran out of fuel and ditched in the sea. Yes Russia is a threat to us and its neighbors, just as we are a threat to Russia., but no more so than she was 35 years ago after the end of the Soviet Union. Nato practically surrounds Russia now. Don’t you see, that this is nothing but a new Red Scare? The only ones who benefit from this are the Pentagon contractors, who also have powerful lobbyists in Washington. And it probably sells more newspapers.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Gary, I must agree with much of what you have said. Obamacare was a compromise made by all parties and benefits big pharma and big insurance mostly….but there is no denying that Obama wanted a single payer system and that was dead on arrival. The only thing that could get passed was a compromise and that had to be good enough to get something done at least. That is why I completely dispise Trump as he speaks to his simpletons. Remove and Replace Obama care with Trump Care is a sound bit and a tweet….it is not a strategy or a proposal. Trump has nothing to replace or improve the ACA with….not a damn thing. Remember….everyone including the republicans helped form the ACA. Now….those that need it most will be left with nothing…..nice job Rust Belters. You just shot yourself in your right foot while trying to get a free check in your back pocket.

    • Blesse\'d are the cheese makers

      No. “Obamacare”, as you call it, was NOT a compromise made by all parties. That is a laughable assertion. I mean, are you serious? Obamacare came into being when we had a House controlled by the Democrats and a super majority of Democrats in the Senate after one turncoat Republican, Arlen Specter, switched to the Democrat party taking the Senate count to 60 Democrats. The Democrats rammed this unread bill through in the 11th hour of 2009, with not one Republican voting in favor of it. The Little Dictator, Herr Obama, signed it into law, unread, in March 2010. That, by most definitions, is no compromise. But, what do I know? I’m just a Deplorable Simpleton.

  • brad

    If only the nut-job opened up TORT lawsuits -our only protection against the psychopath billionaires.
    Yes – that is a large accusation, but look at the starving and homeless in the world. When you figure that 62 individuals with the “greatest wealth” own MORE than the poorest 3,500,000,000 people combined – these rich people ALONE (not to mention all the other excessively rich morons out there) DIRECTLY CAUSE; hunger and starvation. Diseases induced by those conditions. Poverty. Stress. Violence. War. EVERY ECOLOGICAL PROBLEM ON THE PLANET which can be remediated.

    When we look at society at large, all the value of consequence is created by workers who increase value of goods through goods or services. A tree is very valuable (underpriced in this sick age) but when it becomes a log it has increased value. When workers turn those logs into lumber, or furniture wood the value increases yet again. When a house is built the value again grows.

    When Herman Caine made jobs at Godfather’s Pizza – that’s okay. But how many pizzas does he flip? How many olives does he grow, or transport to his stores? How many stores has he mopped at the end of the day? Did he balance the store’s books? No – it takes hundreds of workers for these functions to happen so that HE can get paid many millions.

    Now think about how many workers it takes to keep the grid going, the roads open, build his stores, grow the wheat, ad infinitum. In this societal tapestry the uber-rich are responsible for very little actual VALUE – but they rape a disproportionate amount from us.

    Since they HAVE that wealth – they don’t just buy groceries – they buy political whores, and the govt passes “acts of congress” and other anti-constitutional legislation (technically invalid, null and void from signing) which further increase the societal largesse toward the rich and squeeze you and i.

    So they make it “legally” difficult to sue them because they are infantile in their greed, and retarded in their spirituality. They (in general) don’t care who or what is hurt, killed, or destroyed as long as they squeeze another nickel out of you.

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