Sunday, August 30, 2020

Portland Protests Spread | Lefsetz Letter

And I thought the battle wasn’t supposed to start until AFTER the election!

The best political piece I read this weekend was by Margaret Sullivan, in the “Washington Post”:

“Fact-checking Trump’s lies is essential. It’s also increasingly fruitless”

You’re waiting for truth to save you. The system. But that would assume we were living in the twentieth century, and that’s no longer true.

I’m a late night guy, and when I saw the news about Portland last night I wanted to run to my computer. But I was afraid of burning you out. I’M BURNED OUT!

Earlier in the evening, on my hike in the mountains, I listened to Bill Maher’s “Real Time.” I’m about done with that show, because it lacks a visceral edge, it’s toned-down in an era where we’re all angry. And there are too many talking heads with an investment in the system. Bill asked Trey Gowdy, the Republicans’ prosecutor in the House, if any of Trump’s behavior was worthy of investigation. Gowdy’s answer? Essentially there are good people on both sides. That whoever is in power attacks the other party. Is that what is really going on here?

And yesterday I finished Brian Stelter’s book “Hoax,” which I assume will debut at number one on the best seller list next week. Don’t bother. It’s so inside baseball that if you don’t work in the news industry, or don’t aspire to, you’re wasting your time, especially if you keep up on the news to begin with. I mean if you’re a Martian, and have been out of the loop, maybe. But I’ll save you the time. NEWS IS A CLUB! On both the left and right. It’s just like any other industry, people fight to get ahead, they switch teams, they’re beholden to their bosses, they don’t want to forgo their monstrous salaries. You sit at home and think this is about newsgathering, telling the truth. But it hasn’t been that way since the Fairness Doctrine. Come on, Rupert and his minions make BILLIONS off of Fox News. To the point where they now second-guess their audience. Yes, they don’t want to say anything that might offend their viewers. Who bite back whenever they do. As for the revolving door with Trump, as for Hannity’s influence over the Donald, as for the isolation and ultimate departure of Shepard Smith…you know all that. But, I reinforce that news is a business, and the goal of everybody in it is to survive, and therefore they all know each other, it’s like high school with money. And yes, if you read “Hoax,” you’ll learn that Fox viewers have completely different opinions than those who get their news elsewhere. But did you really not know that?

So, my SiriusXM subscription expired. I found out at 9 PM, too late to e-mail, to call. So I had to rely on Bluetooth, and when I pushed the button in the dash I got the latest edition of Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa’s “Gaslit Nation.” I had not been planning to listen to it, enough with the news, but I could not turn it off, because Sarah was repeating the message she’s purveyed for over half a decade…Trump is employing the authoritarian handbook. He’s telling you what he’s going to do and then he does it. Today he said he’d bring out the military…BINGO!

Yes, to solve problems in Portland. In his speech last week he said he would deliver troops all across in America, primarily in “Democrat” cities which were overrun with violence, all the governors had to do was call. But nobody in power in Oregon called for federal troops in Portland.

So, I get it, you’re at home, you’re burned out. It’s Sunday. You want a day off. As did I, I was busy reading this book “The Last Romantics,” by Tara Conklin. I read a tip somewhere and downloaded it via the Libby app, i.e. the library. I must say I winced when I saw it was one of Reese Witherspoon’s picks, but halfway through the book became riveting, I didn’t want to get up and eat, I didn’t want to break the mood, but ultimately, at five o’clock, still not having had lunch, I got up off the couch.

And I fired up the “New York Times” app because I wanted to see what Ben Smith, the paper’s new media columnist, had to say, he’s a must-read.

Smith’s article wasn’t up yet. Or maybe he’s taking a vacation. So I decided to go around the horn, catch up on what is happening.

It was on the WaPo that I read about Trump’s tweetstorm. And my blood began to boil.

Some people are news junkies. I did not used to be one of them. Sure, I wanted to know what was going on, but I did not want it to take over my life, because there were always new stories, life went on. But will it now?

So, I ask, who is gonna save you?

Well, maybe if there’s a free and fair election and Biden emerges victorious things can start changing on January 20th. But that’s a long way away. And Biden’s victory is suddenly becoming a big if. Did you read Michael Moore’s pronouncement?

“Michael Moore warns that Donald Trump is on course to repeat 2016 win – Film-maker says enthusiasm for president in swing states is ‘off the charts’ and urges everyone to commit to getting 100 people to vote”

There’s that dreaded enthusiasm gap again. The Democrats played it safe, will it come back to bite them in the ass? Come on, who is fired up about Biden? It’s just about casting a vote against Trump. BUT IT MAY NOT MATTER!

But it can’t happen here. But think of all that has happened here already. Like the failure to have a comprehensive Covid-19 plan that ensures people’s safety. And then there’s this:

“No More In-Person Election Briefings for Congress, Intelligence Chief Says – Lawmakers in both parties worry the move will block their ability to question and test intelligence assessments that can be crucial to ensuring that foreign powers do not undermine election results.”

Our country is operating on a need to know basis, and the only people who need to know are Trump and his associates.

And then you’ve got Trump saying Ivanka is more fit to be president than Kamala Harris. Yes, and there was a fair and free election in Belarus!

So what are you supposed to do about all this?

Be informed, get prepared. Otherwise when the penny drops you’ll lose not only your power but your freedoms and will wonder what hit you.

But we keep hearing THIS IS AMERICA!

And according to Trump and his cronies, it’s just not good enough, we’ve got to cut off trading with China, stop paying to protect the rest of the world and look inward, take care of ourselves. The rest of the world is laughing at us!

And social media won’t save us, that’s a given. But what people still fail to understand is we are no longer living in the teens, never mind the aughts. The internet is not the new new thing, it’s been front and center in the public consciousness for twenty five years. The game of musical chairs has ended, there are only a few companies left, so big and powerful that no one else can get a foothold. As for hardware…you may not replace your computer or phone for five, six or seven years. I’ve got an iPhone 11 Pro Max, do you need one? ABSOLUTELY NOT! If you want one, be my guest (although you should really wait until October for the next iteration, with 5G capability), but there’s nothing you can’t do on most older models. This is not the late nineties when your computer was obsolete by the time you got it home. And we venerated the techies to the point where we thought they could do no wrong, and since they’re rich they’re revered and think they can do no wrong.

Why bother to watch the VMAs? What difference are these people making? They say they’re independent, but they’re just slaves to the system. Isn’t that what Black Lives Matter is all about, leveling the playing field, offering opportunity? The Dems in control have been promising it forever, has it arrived? No, the people put the power in their own hands, THEY TOOK THE POWER, and there’s been a ton of resultant change.

But now people on the other side are taking the power (many working class who were abandoned by the elite Democrats in control of their party). Egged on by Donald Trump so he can stay in power. Twelve more years! Do you think it is all a joke?

I planned to sign off on political pieces, like Margaret Sullivan said, it just did not make a difference. I was gonna wait until the election itself. I’ve had enough of the talking heads, the opinionators, it just does not make a difference.

And neither does the news. They print these stories, and nothing happens. They move on to something new the very next day. Read about Roger Stone being pardoned recently?

So this is a warning. If you think it’s business as usual in these United States you’re sorely wrong. If you think it’s solely about rallying around Biden and Harris and keeping your fingers crossed, you’re sorely wrong. If you think winning the popular vote is the only thing that matters, you’re sorely wrong. If you think it’s going to be a fair election, you’re sorely wrong. Not to mention that there are so many ways to wiggle…the special powers of the President, the lack of clear information in the Constitution re disputes.

And Trump and his minions are fighting to the death. Isn’t that what yesterday proved?

So stream your shows, listen to your music, tune it all out at your peril. We’re heading for a great conflagration. History tells us a small spark can cause a big fire, whether it was World War I or the Arab Spring or George Floyd. Everyone’s been told for so long how great America is, how it’s the best and most free country, the greatest in the world, that they’ve been resting on their laurels, they believe it and go on their merry way. The system depends on the faith of the people, and that’s already lacking. If you still believe…I feel sorry for you.


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