A flag warning Cape Cod visitors of sharks blows in the wind at an entrance point to Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass., on Aug. 31, 2018.
(John Tlumacki/Boston Globe via Getty Images)
The residents of a Cape Cod town have urged local officials to secure the safety of their beaches after a deadly shark attack claimed the life of a Massachusetts man earlier this month.
Hundreds of concerned locals turned out for a community forum at an elementary school in Wellfleet on Thursday to discuss the uptick in shark sightings along the coastline, and to learn from experts and officials what can reasonably be done to prevent another attack.
BEACH MANAGER SAYS PEOPLE WILL NEED TO USE ‘COMMON SENSE’ FOLLOWING FATAL CAPE COD ATTACK
Suzanne Grout-Thomas, the Wellfleet Director of Community Services, began by outlining the steps officials have taken to increase awareness in previous years, including more training and updated first-aid procedures, CapeCod.com News reports. Thomas, however, said there was no way to ensure shark-free waters.
Visitors to Newcomb Hollow Beach on Saturday stand near a sign urging residents to “Be Shark Smart” when entering the water.
“We cannot put anything out there that will guarantee that you’re never going to run into a shark, that no one will ever be attacked by a shark or tasted by a shark,” she said, per CapeCod.com.
Residents later pushed for officials to decrease the seal population in order to deter sharks seeking them out as a food source, either via a “birth control system” or by reducing seals’ protections, The Boston Globe reports.
Others cited the less-than-ideal cell phone service on the beaches, which could slow efforts to reach emergency resonders.
Residents, like Gail Sluis of Brewster, also took the floor to plead for drastic action.
“They’re eating our fish, now they’re eating our children,” said Sluis, according to the Globe. “No sharks or seals are worth a young man’s life — they’re just not.”
Thursday’s meeting comes following the death of 26-year-old Arthur Medici, of Revere, who succumbed to his injuries after being attacked by a shark off Newcomb Hollow Beach on Sept. 15. His death is believed to be Cape Cod’s first fatality attributed to a shark in 80 years.
In a news release issued shortly afterward, Cape Cod National Seashore confirmed that Wellfleet’s beaches – including the Newcomb Hollow Beach, where Medici was attacked – were “closed to swimming,” though surfers and paddleboarders were spotted in the water the same day.
SCARY VID SHOWS TOURISTS RUNNING FROM COLLAPSING CLIFF AT GREEK BEACH
Warning signs had also been placed at beaches across Cape Cod in the weeks prior, around the time a 61-year-old man was attacked at a beach in the Cape Cod town of Truro.
Thomas had also said in a statement to Fox News that the town would “have to rely on people’s common sense and will to survive” in order to prevent similar attacks.
Officials placed signs telling visitors beaches were closed following Medici’s death.
(Merrily Cassidy/The Cape Cod Times via AP)
Thursday’s forum ended with officials vowing to fund safety improvements and technologies that may help detect sharks, and even said they would look into the possibility of using drones to monitor waters, as per a suggestion from a local, CapeCod.com reported.
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Officials were also open to the possibility of another forum, the Globe reported.
It’s not all about Barbados and Antigua – there’s more to the Caribbean than you might think
Standing on the beach at Baracoa, I felt like I had arrived somewhere important. It wasn’t just that I had crossed – by car and bus – east to west, almost the entirety of Cuba – a stringy island 777 miles long. It was also because that morning, Oscar, the guide I’d hired to take me on a hike to a coffee farm, had mentioned in passing that Columbus “came here before anywhere else – and he said it was the most beautiful place in the world.”
As soon as I could get online – and this being Cuba, it wasn’t that soon at all – I looked it up. It was true, even if the exact date of the landing was open to interpretation….
This summer we not only begin a new year, but a new decade and experts say it’ll will bring about an entirely new set of travel trends.
Website Booking.com has released research that analysed data from more than 22,000 travellers and over 180 million verified guest reviews, to find out what trends we can expect in the new year.
The rise of the ‘second city’ traveller
Second-city travelling is when someone opts to visit lesser known destinations in an effort to reduce the effects of tourism on more popular areas.
Would you consider visiting a ‘secondary’ city? Photo credit: Getty Images
Over half of global travellers involved in the research said they want to play a part in reducing over-tourism, while 51 percent would swap their original destination for a lesser known but similar alternative if they knew it’d leave less of an impact on the environment.
There was also a significant amount of people who said they would use a website or an app that was based on recommending more eco-friendly destinations and activities.
Tech-spect the unexpected
Technology will continue to play a massive role in the travel industry in 2020.
Apps that can guide you, advise you and update you are believed to become more popular, with particular growth in crowdsourced travel information and feedback.
More tech, more travel. Photo credit: Getty Images
Travel feedback websites are common, but more and more niche apps are emerging to cater to travellers passionate about certain things, such as history tours or conservation.
Nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed also liked the idea of an app deciding their holiday activities for them completely at random. You just push go and all of a sudden, you’re booked to go bungee-jumping.
Slo-Mo is the new fomo
Instead of suffering from FOMO and racing through every possible activity or Instagrammable moment at your holiday destination, in the 2020s you may take your foot off the pedal and slow down.
Take your time and enjoy your surroundings. Photo credit: Getty Images
Of those surveyed, 61 percent said they would prefer to take a longer route to their destination, allowing them to experience more of the journey itself.
Different types of transportation will be used on slow-mo travel such as bikes, scooters, trams and boats. More than half liked the idea of a historic experience, such as a steam train ride, like the Flying Scotsman or the Orient Express.
Another expected trend is time-poor travellers wanting to experience as much as possible in a short amount of time in destinations that have a variety of experiences all within a short distance of each other.
The perfect holiday attraction for fans of diggers. Photo credit: Diggerland
For example, someone who wants a taste of French culture may choose a smaller town rather than Paris, allowing them to experience the food, wine and lifestyle all within walking distance and without the long queues of tourists.
Making great memories with ‘grand’ getaways
2020 is believed to be the year of the ‘grand’ as more grandparents are expected to take epic vacations with just their grandkids, leaving the middle generation behind.
Grandparents feel younger after spending time with their grandchildren. Photo credit: Getty Images
The survey showed 72 percent of grandparents agree that spending time with their grandkids keeps them feeling young and 71 percent believe that parents need alone time, without their children.
Pair that with the fact that today’s older generation is generally healthier, more adventurous and more keen to stay young and active than ever before, it’s likely we’ll see ‘grand’ vacations that offer an array of active experiences for both generations to take part in becoming even more popular in the year ahead.
What trends do you hope to become more popular, or disappear altogether? Let us know on our Facebook Travel Tips and Tricks group.
The video features one of the most popular bands in Korea. Credits: Korean Air
Korean Air has released a new safety video that has become an instant hit thanks to capitalising on the enormous popularity of K-pop.
The video, starring boyband SuperM, began playing on all Korean Air flights from Monday and online has racked up millions of views within hours.
It features a specially composed song by renowned songwriter Kenzie, with lyrics explaining the safety features of the aircraft.
After a string of popular safety videos from airlines including Air New Zealand, Korean Air’s latest is the first to star a massively successful boyband.
“Safety does not have to be serious or boring,” a Korean Air spokesperson said.
“We hope to deliver clear safety messages to our passengers through the brand-new safety video.”
The safety video song from SuperM, entitled ‘Let’s Go Everywhere’, will be released as a single later in the month, with all profits going to a group focused on ending extreme poverty, climate change and global inequality.
Korean Airlines flies between Auckland and Seoul up to seven times a week.
Kellyanne Conway just flat-out rejected democracy. Here’s what that means for the Trump team’s impeachment plan
I’m not sure there’s any other way to put it. A few minutes ago, Conway told Chris Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, that she—presumably on behalf of Donald Trump—rejects democracy. Wallace brought up the White House’s policy of seeking to prevent potential witnesses from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry, and then asked whether that would continue now that the “full House” has authorized the process.
“Fact check,” Conway replied. It wasn’t the full House, but only the Democrats, she said. Let that sink in a minute. Last time I checked my copy of the Constitution, when a majority of our elected representatives votes in favor of a matter, that means that body has passed it—even if no one from Kellyanne Conway’s party is on board. I wonder if she’d also say that the “full American people” didn’t elect Donald Trump, given that only 46% of voters cast a ballot for him, and given that he lost the popular vote by 3 million. I’m waiting for her to connect those dots. Not really, of course.
The point is this: remember that nothing, ever, that goes against the interests of Donald Trump will be pronounced legitimate by anyone who works for Donald Trump—at least if they want their employment to continue. There is no principle of democracy or constitutionality they won’t throw overboard in service to their overlord. Any journalists interacting with a Trump employee who don’t recognize that will be unable to do their job effectively. And that describes too many in our media today.
Ian Reifowitz is the author of The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh’s Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)
Fox News’ Chris Wallace torches Kellyanne Conway for blowing off testimony about Trump’s quid pro quo
Combative Kellyanne Conway took her show on the road to Fox News Sunday this morning where she battled host Chris Wallace over testimony given by officials in Donald Trump’s administration.
Sitting down with the persistent Fox host, Conway once again said she saw no evidence of a quid pro quo, only to have Wallace note the multiple high-level presidential appointees who have testified that is exactly what they saw in the president’s talks with Ukraine’s president.
“All of them top foreign policy officials to this president have all testified about repeated instances where they saw the support for Ukraine dependent on Ukraine investigating the Bidens,” Wallace began. “Isn’t that the definition of a quid pro quo?”
“The fact is Ukraine has that aid, they’re using that aid as we sit here ” Conway shot back.
“You’re missing the point,” the Fox host protested. “The aid was withheld until –” as Conway cut him off to claim, “The Ukranian president says he has no idea the aid was withheld.”
With host Wallace asking if “it mattered” that the top diplomat to Ukraine admitted that a quid pro quo was involved, Conway retorted that she questioned the diplomat’s “interpretation.”
On FOX News Sunday: Kellyanne Conway reacts to a new report that some GOP members are ready to acknowledge quid pro quo. #FNS #FoxNews pic.twitter.com/TcRxk0NWhP
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) November 3, 2019
Now that Ivanka can’t pretend there’s not a gigantic mess in the White House, she appeals to her core audience
On Thursday, as the House of Representatives voted to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, his Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump — first daughter, daughter first — met the extraordinary circumstances of this historic moment with an unusual reaction of her own: She acknowledged that the dumpster she’s sitting in is actually on fire.
“…surrounded by enemies and spies catching and perverting every word that falls from my lips or flows from my pen, and inventing where facts fail them.” -Thomas Jefferson’s reflections on Washington, D.C. in a letter to his daughter Martha.
Some things never change, dad!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 31, 2019
She did so in the most self-aggrandizing way, of course. Ivanka is capable of donning a mask of decorum, even a designer skinsuit of faux humility, when it serves a purpose. But in those moments of stress when her position is directly challenged, her Trump tends to show. In this tweet, Ivanka cast herself as Martha Jefferson Randolph, our third president’s daughter who also served as first lady since there was no pesky third wife in the way, and her own dear daddy as Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father whose face is on the nickel, not on a giant diapered-baby balloon that hovers like a revolting apparition over all the best political protests.
Yes, she compared an author of the Declaration of Independence to the author of this tweet featuring a clumsily photoshopped good dog:
In a sweeping subtweet aimed at everyone from House Democrats to the media to government employees who bother to tell the truth, according to Ivanka her father is “surrounded by enemies and spies catching and perverting every word that falls from my lips or flows from my pen, and inventing where facts fail them.” (I can’t unsee the word “pervert” now, can you?)
Ivanka cites the source: “Thomas Jefferson’s reflections on Washington, D.C. in a letter to his daughter Martha” and ends the tweet with a chipper coda, in direct address to Daddy, purveyor of the “invented fact” that he would touch a dog on purpose: “Some things never change, dad!”
Things have to be hot in the White House this week for Ivanka to break her own protocol of relentless self-promotion and emoji-laden administration cheerleading to post such a desperate message of direct support to her increasingly unhinged father, who spent Thursday morning weathering the public roll-call of his many facets of corruption inflaming his carpal tunnel as he rage-tweeted about witch hunts, CNN, and the Federal Reserve, among others.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2019
Ivanka’s tweets that don’t feature photo after photo of her being a #WomanWhoWorks, nodding solemnly at an issues table or smiling through a factory tour, generally fall into two categories: insipid Jared content and shameless correctives to her father’s grotesque actions and words and their fall-out. On Twitter, Ivanka is something of a human Poo-Pourri, deployed strategically to trap and cover the smell of her father’s latest debacle. Even the dumbest, smallest stumbles can be met by one of Ivanka’s stealth rejoinders. The internet mocks Trump’s janky photoshopped-dog tweet? Ivanka posts a very normal one honoring the canine hero, the very kid of tweet Trump’s less goonish supporters surely wish he would have gone with in the first place.
4 years, 50 combat missions! #AmericanHero https://t.co/RZlih2AKEv
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 31, 2019
A brazen example is Ivanka’s tribute to the late, beloved Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, whom she praised after his death last month as a dedicated and courageous public servant and a tireless champion of community and country, with seemingly no awareness of how her father had just months earlier called the distinguished member of Congress a racist and sneered at the community he championed — the city of Baltimore — as “a rat and rodent-infested mess.”
Ivanka, the family’s What Daddy Meant To Say Is . . . shield, runs a ruthless online denial operation projecting a fantasy for the deluded and squeamish that crucial things about the presidency itself and democracy as a whole have indeed not changed. Ivanka’s feed helps Republicans believe it’s mostly workforce development and child care credits and everything else is just a distasteful distraction — that this president is more or less like most presidents, which is to say a person you could leave in a room with two female astronauts and no rape whistles.
Ivanka’s job since childhood has been to make her father look better than he is, and it has paid off for her professionally, culminating in her current role in his administration. This is not to be confused with actually making her father a better person, or even convincing him to make better decisions, though some continue to be confused on that point.
Take dear sweet James Corden, who confessed on Wednesday during a truth-or-dare segment on his “Late Late Show” that whilst drunk at a recent wedding, he and Orlando Bloom gently accosted Ivanka at the bar about her father’s trainwreck of an administration.
“You can do something,” Corden says they pleaded with Ivanka. “You can make a difference! You can make it better!” In response, Corden says she told them, “I’m trying!”
Corden’s shtick is cuddly optimism so it makes sense that he would at least pretend on TV to believe she was telling them the truth. Indeed, Ivanka may well hold more cards than she lets on. Just don’t bet on her wielding them in service of anything but her father’s self-preservation — which is to say, the Trump family’s now and future fortunes.
Many of Ivanka’s tweets are crafted ostensibly with a viewing public in mind hungry, despite all visible evidence to the contrary, for the hint of a poised adult in the White House exerting a classy, articulate, law-abiding influence. But when the rubber hit the road in the House, and talking about impeachment inquiries turned to an actual vote on what Americans will be watching on TV for as long as the hearings take, Ivanka made sure everyone could hear her speaking the family language of paranoia, petty grievance, and arrogance — delivered straight to Dad. This should lay to rest, once and for all, the inane hypothetical in which Ivanka can or will do anything to “make it better” for anyone but the Trumps and their patriarch. Her show has always and only had an audience of one.
Gideon Cohn-Postar, Northwestern University
A federal judge ruled on Nov. 1 that he would not stop Mississippi voters from electing a governor on Tuesday under an old, Jim Crow-era election law that a civil rights lawsuit argues perpetuates “white supremacy” and violates the principle of “one-person, one-vote.”
U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan wrote that he had “grave concern” about the unconstitutionality of part of the law. But with the election nearing on Nov. 5, he ruled that time was too short to issue an injunction altering the state’s voting scheme for statewide officers.
Under the state’s current law, a successful candidate for governor of Mississippi must win an outright majority of the popular vote – and a majority of the state’s 122 House districts.
If no candidate does both, the state House gets to select the next governor, regardless of who got the most votes. No African American has been elected statewide since 1890.
Similar laws once common
Four African Americans filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in May, asking the court to invalidate the law. Republican legislators in Mississippi defended the law, saying the plaintiffs provide “nothing more than conjecture” that they would be harmed by this election method.
Media coverage of the lawsuit has emphasized, as one story noted, that “no Mississippi candidate who won the most votes for a statewide office has been prevented from taking office because of the other requirements.”
As a historian of 19th-century voting rights in the U.S., I believe this analysis ignores the history of anti-democratic gubernatorial election laws.
Mississippi now faces its first close gubernatorial election since 1999.
Candidates are from three parties as well as one independent. State Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat; Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican; Bob Hickingbottom, Constitution Party; and independent David Singletary are all competing in the election.
In the 19th century, many states had laws similar to Mississippi’s. They were intended to entrench the rule of the party in power.
Disenfranchisement by law
The gubernatorial election law dates to 1890, when it was drafted into Mississippi’s constitution by a nearly all-white convention.
The Southern Democrats in charge of the convention were intent on removing African Americans from politics. The constitution they crafted subjected prospective voters to a literacy test and poll tax – effectively disenfranchising nearly all African Americans.
They included the majority vote and state House district provision in the constitution as a backstop to preserve white control of Mississippi. However, voter suppression and a racially polarized electorate have produced few competitive elections in Mississippi, ensuring that the backstop has rarely been necessary.
In the 19th century, many states with similar election laws had much more competitive elections. The bad results these laws produced in close contests demonstrate the worst-case possibilities of Mississippi’s system.
The crowbar governor
These anti-majoritarian laws in governors’ races caused what legal scholar Edward B. Foley termed “a veritable epidemic” of crises during the Gilded Age.
In West Virginia (1888), Rhode Island (1893) and Tennessee (1894), partisan legislatures overruled the voters to install governors in office who had failed to win the most votes.
The 1890 drama in Connecticut provides the worst example of these laws in action.
Democratic candidates running for governor won the most votes in every Connecticut election during the 1880s. But with multiple parties running, they never captured a majority. The legislature, gerrymandered to favor the Republicans, installed their candidates in office four out of five times, even though they never even won a plurality.
In 1890, the Connecticut legislature was evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. That year’s gubernatorial election was thrown to the legislature. Deadlock ensued. In a three-way race, where the Democrat had won nearly 4,000 more votes than his Republican opponent, Republicans in the state Senate refused to seat him.
Though the Democrats held the moral high ground, the Republicans had the election law on their side. With the stalemate, the sitting Republican governor, Morgan G. Bulkeley simply stayed in office for two more years.
While Bulkeley’s supporters commended him for stepping in to “hold the fort,” his unelected tenure provoked a crisis of legitimacy that ground state government to a halt.
When the legislature refused to appropriate funds for the state budget, Bulkeley borrowed US$300,000 ($8.3 million today) from his family’s company – Aetna Life Insurance – to pay for state operations. Neighboring states refused to acknowledge the legality of arrest warrants he issued. At one point, the Democrats changed the locks on the governor’s office and Bulkeley popped them off with a crowbar.
“Nothing short of a revolution,” said the disgusted governor of New York, could end the tyranny of the minority in Connecticut.
But Bulkeley’s methods had damaged the Republican Party’s reputation. In the regularly scheduled 1892 election, the Democrat who had won the most votes in 1890, Luzon B. Morris, won an outright majority and became governor.
Bad track record
If the winner of the most votes in the Mississippi gubernatorial election does not also win the majority of House districts, it could set off a crisis of legitimacy in Mississippi similar to the one that took place in Connecticut in 1890.
If that happens the case could return to court for an expedited hearing that could overturn the challenged provision.
Laws that place anti-democratic restrictions on the popular vote have a bad track record in competitive elections. At best they add unnecessary complexity and instability to what should be a simple system.
At worst they undermine the principle of popular rule, damage voters’ faith in democracy and provoke crises of legitimacy. The Mississippi civil rights lawsuit continues after the election. If it succeeds, it will mark a repudiation of Mississippi’s legacy of racial disfranchisement.
If it does not succeed, then Mississippi’s legislature and governor might want to consider Connecticut’s example.
This is an updated version of an article that originally ran on Sept. 23, 2019.[ Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter. ]
Gideon Cohn-Postar, Graduate Student in History, Northwestern University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
‘Treasure trove’ of Mueller memos shows Trump benefited the Russians ‘beyond their wildest expectations’
On Sunday morning, an MSNBC “AM Joy” panel took up the release of a batch of memos from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that were released on Saturday that shed light on even more connections between aides to the president and Russian officials.
Reviewing the documents obtained by Buzzfeed News, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin said Russia lucked out with Trump as a presidential candidate.
Asked for comment, Rubin smiled and suggested, “I think what it reminds me is that this whole presidency succeeded for the Russians beyond their wildest expectations.”
“It’s all about the Ukrainians,” she continued. “This is preposterous. We know our entire intelligence community confirmed it’s the Russians. We know that Putin was involved in the decision. It’s the Russians, nevertheless, by setting this bug into the campaign and circulating around to Trump — he is still obsessed with this.”
“He is still doing, in essence, Russia’s bidding by trying to, frankly, discredit the Mueller investigation which pointed to Russia,” she added.
False ‘balance’ infects the entire mainstream media — making it regurgitate nonsense as if it were news
The other day, while listening to that liberal bastion, NPR, the newscaster mentioned that another witness had given testimony that would be damaging to Trump in the House’s impeachment inquiry. In a transition so seamless it was an integral part of the story, the anchor immediately went on to say that Republicans claim the process is flawed, illegitimate, and partisan.
Well, yes. But is this news? Of course, they object to the process. Don’t criminals object to being arrested? Don’t speeders object to getting a speeding ticket? The only reason to give the Republicans’ objection essentially equivalent status to damning testimony in a Presidential impeachment inquiry would be if it were valid.
But it isn’t. Not even close. And NPR isn’t alone in this false “balance” which infects the entire mainstream media, making it puke out nonsense as if it were news.
Republicans are mounting a counter-narrative that is not only baseless and intentionally deceptive, but it is also motivated by a dangerous tendency to put loyalty to party above loyalty to country. Things like the constitution, the rule of law, and the truth are swept aside in order to preserve the party’s grip on power.
Remember those Republican Congressmen storming the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility – a highly secure meeting room – just before Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper gave damning testimony confirming Trump’s use of public money and abuse of national security policy to blackmail Ukraine? Many of those demanding entry were, in fact, members of one of the committees in charge of the investigation and therefore allowed entry. This whole charade was simply a desperate attempt to change the narrative from Trump’s increasingly obvious guilt to one about a flawed process. And of course there was a press conference, and of course, the press repeated Matt Gaetz’ utter nonsense about Democrats running a “kangaroo court.”
Yes, Vox and a few others noted that the Republican’s stunt may have compromised national security; and yes, many deplored the lack of decorum, and yes, there were calls for less partisan behavior – as if both sides were equally at fault for the riot.
But those are the least of the problems with the media’s coverage of the impeachment proceedings.
When even the so-called liberal media’s response to any impeachment story is a knee-jerk reaction that gives equal time and credence to Republican talking points and red herrings, something is deeply wrong with the media in America.
And it didn’t begin with Trump’s impeachment.
In a recent column, Paul Krugman pointed out, once again, that the media has given credence to the Republican’s hypocrisy on budget deficits for decades now. The on-again-off-again hysteria over the deficits corresponds precisely with who’s in power. When Democrats control the White House, deficits are horrible, no-good, evil things to be avoided at all costs. When Republicans are and they want to pass a deficit exploding tax cut, no worries.
And the media has been complicit in giving their obvious lies legitimate coverage. It’s all done in the name of “balance,” an attribute NPR has lately taken to bragging about in their news.
One of the beneficiaries of the partisan political food fight is cable news, as partisans from both sides constantly tune in to get their “side” reinforced. Fanning the national id has been profitable for them.
Social media gets clicks galore and the nation descends into rabid screaming matches as each side squares off in preparation for the now dreaded Thanksgiving Dinner where Uncle Al holds forth on the latest conspiracy theories and threatens civil war if Trump is impeached.
If discourse in the US has descended into the level of the insane, it’s because the media doesn’t treat idiotic red herrings and bald-faced lies as what they are – attempts to distract, deceive, and destroy. And it’s not just Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Their misinformation campaigns couldn’t withstand a concerted effort to actually inform Americans by the rest of the media. But that’s not what they do.
The Ukraine incident is – if it occurred as witnesses and Trump himself have described it — a high crime. It appears – by his own words – that Trump used the public’s money in an attempt to extort a personal political favor from an ally, putting them at risk and compromising the US’s security in the process. Certainly, it’s an impeachable offense, if he did it, and certainly, it must be investigated.
When Republicans storm a secure facility; knowingly lie about economic policy; block legitimate inquiries into impeachable offenses; deny climate science; or roll back environmental, health and safety regulations, the real news story should be that one of our major political parties has gone off the rails and turned bat-shit crazy, not a he-said, she-said appeal featuring balanced reporting, and bemoaning partisanship – which the media itself inflames by according the same weight to utter nonsense and lies as it does to factual reporting.
One can achieve balance by putting a ton of bullshit on one side of the scale, and a ton of gold on the other, but that doesn’t make them equivalent. Unfortunately, our media doesn’t see fit to report the fact, that’s what’s going on.
It doesn’t help that they also present the progressive candidates and policies that most Americans favor as unpopular, costly, or … gasp … socialist, while they present the neoliberals in charge of the Democratic Party as “prudent” and popular. This makes obvious the role of big money in our politics and media for both parties.
But it’s one thing to be beholden to corporate money, and quite another to be beholden to corporate money and to be conducting an assault on government that is – literally – dangerously tyrannical.
The Constitution was written on fragile parchment. It has no power other than the history of respect, reverence and custom supporting the principles written upon it since it was ratified 231 years ago.
The real story in journalism today is that one party has abandoned that respect and reverence. It is a party that hates government, yet wants to govern. It is a party that puts power over principle. It is a party that routinely lies. It is a party that rejects science, the Enlightenment, and seeks to usher in a New Dark Age. And finally, it is a party that threatens the principles and institutions we rely on for whatever semblance of freedom remains.
That’s what should be in the headlines; that’s what should be leading off the news at 7; that’s what should be blaring from the radio. It’s the story of our time, and it’s barely being told.