2020 Election: Money, Racism, Misogyny, Brutality

From a Google Image Search – Big Blue Tent – Travel Wisconsin

Today, 1.13.2020, Cory Booker dropped out of the 2020 race. America lost out on Kamala Harris. And Julian Castro. The press is pointing out the ironies of a “big tent” party, a party that would like to back so-called “minorities” like Americans of African descent and Americans of Spanish descent and women (not a minority at all but still classified as such). In fact any Democratic candidate who is trying to run a grassroots-funded campaign will continue to be in trouble in the race for office in 2020. 

Democrats are strong opponents of the Citizens United decision which, in a sense, gave votes to corporations, to money (not an organic life form) and to wealthy Americans (they can buy votes with ads and deeply-strategized ground games). If you saw Rachel Maddow’s wall graph showing the campaign war chest for each Democrat in the 2020 presidential race (except Mr. Deval) then you saw the enormous funds backing the billionaires and you saw the puny amounts raised from individual voters. Our donations are small and they still impact our personal budgets. It begins to seem ridiculous to even bother sending in our ones, tens and fifties. We are each a David fighting a Goliath and it is becoming clear to us that even hundreds of thousands of us are unable to make even a dent in what the Goliaths can come up with. And, although they may feel pained by their enormous expenditures, we know they will not be poor when this is all done.

So it is interesting to note that there is not a pool of Americans of African Descent who can run as billionaire candidates even though African Americans have been in American longer than most of our ancestors. Racism and its effects on black fortunes couldn’t require any clearer evidence than this. Nor is there a pool, or big enough pool, of billionaires of Spanish descent, or billionaire women to try to buy the Presidency. This election looks difficult enough without trying to inject financial purity into it.

There is also the Trump factor infecting all of our decisions about the perfect 2020 candidate, and it is hardly inconsequential. Trump has the charisma that Jack Nicholson displayed as the Devil in the film Witches of Eastwick, which some of you probably did not see because you are too young. For a while that devil charmed us all, until he didn’t. (The analogy seems to fall apart because some of us have never been charmed by Donald Trump, but it is apt in many ways.) Time marches on and we have now seen many sides of Donald that never bothered us much as long as he wasn’t our President. One of his worst sides is his belief in white supremacy and another is his misogyny. Lying of course, and cheating are also sins that have served him well in getting elected.

Because Trump runs a very duplicitous, alpha male, white-Europeans-rule kind of race Democrats realize that he would, most likely, have greater success demonizing minority candidates than he would against white male candidates, although they have not proven better at standing up to Trump’s patter (which should not work). We worry that with all the racist undercurrents being called forth once again in America and all the anti-immigrant feelings being whipped up and with the fact that Trump empowers white men (who knew they needed to be more empowered) a “minority candidate” could be brutalized in the 2020 election and that however hard they punched, Trump’s long years of practice with counterpunching and his lessons from expert counterpunchers like Roy Cohn and his dad, would leave these opponents bloodied and would give us four more years of a ruinous Trump presidency. Perhaps we are simply being protective of the members of our party most likely to be obliterated by the meanest old man we have ever encountered who isn’t spending his senior years in a recliner.

I’m still reading David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass (it’s a long one). Mr. Douglass’s long career as a warrior who used words to fight slavery, which he understood intimately having been a slave himself, made him feel a bit despondent at the actual unfolding of the Reconstruction which was bloody and deadly for freed slaves in the south. But he immediately recognized that many white slave owners feared reprisals. He also recognized that the South never had to feel the real sting of losing the Civil War. These slave states were welcomed almost immediately back into the Union and as soon as the war was over many southerners returned to serve in the Senate and the House. By then Douglass could see that being set free did not mean that southern hearts had been changed. They still saw black folks as inferior to whites and they certainly did not want them to vote or own land or amass fortunes. Douglass would be saddened to know that these racist elements still exist in America, and be appalled by the amount of time that has passed, as time should have changed such prejudices far more than it has. He rejoiced when the 15th amendment gave freed slaves the vote, but despaired at the horrific backlash in some southern states. 

It is such a sad commentary on American progress with respect to acceptance and tolerance, that in what could be America’s  “space age” (if we aren’t too engrossed in simply trying to survive), we are still fighting the Civil War and battling for equal rights for Americans of color and for women (who achieved the right to vote last).

Don’t be too hard on the Democrats right now because we can only conjecture, run the numbers, employ a great ground game and accept what a tough road it could be to beat this bad man who is still an incumbent and who has both the Republicans and the Fundamentalist vote-getting machinery behind him.

If Donald Wins the 2020 Election Blame the Mainstream Media

From a Google Image Search – Left Voice

Reading the reactions of pundits and press to two nights of Democratic Party debates should actually soothe Donald Trump’s anxieties. The press, especially the mainstream press along with a few temporary volunteers from the Conservative Party, is going to do Trump’s job for him. We are being whipped up into a sense of panic for a number of reasons, all related to the reactionary judgments of people who have reached “a certain age” and beyond. 

The angst over the use of the word socialism could be enough all on its own to put DT back in the oval office. Progressives are not trying to turn America into a socialist nation. Some progressives may one day manage to overturn capitalism, but not today. Most Democrats see ways to be progressive without displacing the capitalist system we have. Admittedly it would be much easier if wealthy capitalists pitched in to help keep America’s core values alive, but change can be legislated step-by-tedious step if necessary. Or we can start with blue states and use envy to get working Americans to insist that their red state follows suit. If we the people decide to make a budget that offers social programs rather than an obscene tax cut for billionaires, it’s a democracy, we can do that. All we have to do is get enough other Americans to agree. As long as the media keeps asking Democratic candidates about their view of socialism this will remain an unsettled question in the minds of many voters. Democratic socialism is not the same as socialism.

As more Democratic candidates design more and more programs to meet the needs of parents in a world where two parents probably work, or where there are many single-parent families, the mainstream media raises questions about their ability to get these things done. As long as they vow to pay off everyone’s college loans, pay reparations to Americans of African Descent who have been held back economically by discriminatory practices, offer everyone free medical care even though you might have to pay taxes that are a bit higher (offset by free medical care), make the economy more equal, and many more great ideas, the mainstream media passes on the message that these left-wingers are fringe people who will not be able to deliver on their promises. Then the media reminds us of how centrist most Americans are, and implies that we the people don’t want these things and will, as usual, vote against our own best interests. Clearly it is unlikely that all these benefits can accrue to working Americans at once. There are designs that must be debated, bills that must be written and passed. These things take time. And, although all of these programs would be paid for by the federal government they would be paid for with our money and most likely would be run by free-standing agencies with federal oversight.

Everyone who offers Progressive ideas admits that we will have to raise taxes on those at the top of the economy. There are justifications for this. Whether you think they are valid depends on your own ideological bent and perhaps how big you bank accounts are. (Most of us have only one bank account; some of us have none.) The biggest argument offered up so far is the “you did not build it”/”you did not build it alone” impasse in which some people say (“the makers”, in this scenario) that without the business they established society would be poorer. They call the rest of us “the takers”. Well that can’t be right. Without workers they could never have made such great products or offered such in-demand services and they would have stayed very small or failed. What they mean is that, now that they have found new workers, cheap workers, they don’t need us anymore. Except now we are their best consumers. And we can’t consume as much as they would like because they did not share the wealth with us. Workers did not think of themselves as “takers”. It’s insulting. Workers thought of themselves as partners, as family, but now they have been disinherited. New worker families are reaping the benefits of corporations and they are slowly becoming new consumers.

Are corporations American corporations, or do they belong to whatever country has the least expensive workers? If they can switch nationalities for economic reasons, haven’t they switched their nationalities altogether. If they strive to pay as few taxes into the government of the nation they still like to claim as their own, are they still patriots? If they pay no taxes can they still lobby as insiders for more favors from a federal government they no longer support? If they do not contribute to the federal budget should they have any say in deciding how the budget is divvied up?

I believe that if corporations continued to invest in America and American workers this nation would blossom and could, once again, become the hot crucible of innovation that it used to be. The media keeps telling Americans how centrist they are, how moderate. They do not ever get Americans excited about how lifting away some of our worries might free the nation to explore new technologies, medicines and medical treatments, ways to keep the planet clean and healthy and to solve lots of pesky problems that seem inherently solvable, but never get solved.

And finally, Progressive or Moderate, whoever becomes the Democratic candidate must not be obstructed by a moderate mainstream press from having a real shot at beating Donald Trump because he is an existential threat to our democracy/republic. Unless we have decided to stop flirting with authoritarianism and to actually become an authoritarian state; unless we kiss the forefathers goodbye – you tried, you lasted two and a half centuries – but close only counts in horseshoes and (I forgot the other one) but Google says it’s hand grenades. In the 2020 election there are only two choices, Trump or the candidate the Democrats choose. You cannot afford to be an independent voter. Not this time. You cannot afford to sit this one out. And if you saddle us with Donald Trump for four more years we may not be as nice to you as we have been so far.

Shine a Light: Is it OK to Sign OK?

Shine a Light Oxford Brookes University

Conspiracy theories and conspiracies come from dark places. Hard to tell if it is best to let them remain in those dark spaces since they seem to keep seeping out into our lives in secret slips or leaks that make them seem tantalizingly real. The human mind loves being privy to gossip, loves to pass on a secret, especially a secret that hides an evil idea behind a veil of exclusivity, a sense of belonging to a private club. However, perhaps it is better to shine a light on the darkest corners of the human soul to make hiding evil impossible.

So I am going to discuss a human activity which looks like it signifies a dark reality. It may be about a private ‘club’ but not one I want to belong to. I am doing this in the interests of shining light on dark spaces. But I am also trying to decide if our President lives in this dark space and likes to signal it surreptitiously to his followers

If you watch Trump speak at a rally you will notice him making a gesture with his thumb and ring finger in a circle, other three fingers upright. We think of this as the sign for OK. That may be true for Trump also. He may just be used to incorporating that OK sign as one of his regular hand gestures. Here is an article with a video of the speech Trump made in March, 2019 at a rally in Michigan. You don’t have to watch the entire thing to see what I am talking about. Make sure to look at around the 41-42 second mark, at 2:51-1, at 3:28, at 4:02-06, at 4:35-36, 4:55-5:00, 5:36-37, 5:50-5:51 and I’m sure it comes up many more time.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/03/28/watch_live_trump_hosts_maga_rally_in_grand_rapids_michigan.html

It turns out that many sources say this OK signal, once so positive is now used by white supremacists as a sort of secret ‘gang’ sign to show the omnipresence of this group in our culture, especially among Trump supporters. Now Trump is an ‘old school’ kind of guy so his use of this sign or gesture could just be a coincidence. Or perhaps white supremacists noticed that Trump used this gesture a lot and decided to copy it. I have no idea if Trump’s use of this sign signals his America First, white power stance, which he telegraphs but likes to deny, or if it is a gesture so ingrained in his repertoire that he cannot break himself of an old habit that is no longer really culturally appropriate for the President of the United States to use.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

In 2017, the OK gesture was at the center of an online prank in meme culture related to alt-right and white supremacyoriginating from anonymous message board posts on the website 4chan.[40] The Boston Globe reported that users on 4chan’s “/pol/” (Politically Incorrect) board were instructed in February 2017 to “flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,” as part of a campaign dubbed “Operation O-KKK”.[36] The association of the gesture with white supremacy derived from the assertion that the three upheld fingers resemble a ‘W’ and the circle made with the thumb and forefinger resemble the head of a ‘P’, together standing for “white power”.[41] While some members of the alt-right used the symbol after the launch of the 4chan campaign, it remained ambiguous whether or not it was being used to communicate genuine adherence to white supremacy, or with deliberately ironicmotives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OK_gesture

More sources if you are interested:

https://medium.com/s/story/does-the-ok-sign-actually-signify-white-power-or-what-6cf3309df985

https://nypost.com/2019/03/15/suspected-new-zealand-shooter-appears-in-court/

OK-Hand-White-Power-Emojipedia

https://blog.emojipedia.org/no-the-ok-hand-is-not-a-symbol-of-white-power/

 

Is Trump trolling us, is he bonding with his peeps, or is he just an old guy using a symbol that used to have only one connotation? It’s a mystery as so many things are these days.

Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches, Oxford Brookes University, Emojipedia.jpg

Mueller Report-Trump, an Escape Artist

Escape artist Time Magazine

The Mueller Report – what a mess. Many of us knew as soon as we watched the hearings on the appointment of William Barr to take over as AG that two years of hard work was about to disappear in a puff of smoke, or a summary in four very expensive pages of a document that is most likely longer than most books. We now know we were right in deciding that Barr was appointed as just another Trump stooge. Today he declared that the ACA is unconstitutional. There is chaos ahead.

However, as to what Trump did or did not do, we know what we saw. We saw a candidate for the American office of President flippantly request that a leader of a foreign nation, who often is seen as our adversary, and who governs by fear, find the emails his opponent had deleted from her server. He now says this was a joke but I never found it at all funny and many Americans agree. It is also beside the point to wonder whether he was joking or not. He said it and it seems to have been a request that was taken seriously as we then got a document dump from Wikileaks and the DNC was hacked. I have never seen a candidate on network television appeal for help from Russia.

We know what we saw when Lester Holt interviewed Trump and he said that he fired FBI head, James Comey, because the Russia investigation was a ‘witch hunt’ and he wanted to stop it. He also fired Andrew McCabe who took over at the FBI for James Comey. This was public evidence of obstruction. Who even needs a Special Investigator to determine that this President tried to obstruct any investigation into his business. The passion with which he pursued maintaining secrecy about his taxes and his business dealings looks pretty damning also. What does he have to hide? Well I contend that his business dealing are transparently crooked. However, Trump has found ways to make sure that his transgressions don’t accrue to him.

Donald J. Trump is a slippery man. He is always accused and almost never convicted. This is because he has others do his dirty work. He understands deniability probably better than anyone we have ever experienced. He inspires loyalty in his cohorts but why is difficult to understand. He abandons them to bear the consequences of the underhanded tasks he signals them to take on for him. Despite the evidence we have of what happens to his hapless lieutenants he maintains an army of loyal souls who continue to do his bidding. Incomprehensible and frightening. Small wonder that Mueller was unable to get through this man’s cluster of protectors and defenders to connect Trump to anything. He’s an escape artist.

 

It seems that being President of the United States offers Donald Trump some big perks. He still needs a few fixers in the Justice Department, the courts (the 9th circuit he is always going on about), and the Supreme Court, but he no longer needs his old cronies, his henchmen. Good thing since they are all in prison or under indictment.

Turns out the guy he put in charge of “his” Justice Department, the new AG, William Barr, does not believe we can indict a sitting President and he also believes the President has powers that are just about unlimited. From Trump’s point of view the Office of the President of the United States is a perfect spot to land in if you have cheated and lied in business, in life, and in an election campaign. Now he is free to act alone, to sign all the executive actions he pleases and there are no consequences if he is wrong. Of course he has to get reelected. But for now this is the greatest achievement of all time for an escape artist. It is the Great Escape.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Time Magazine

 

 

Sheldon and Donald

Sheldon and Donald

In many ways Sheldon Cooper may have prepared us for Donald Trump, given us stamina to make it through the daily displays of Donald’s character eccentricities. Just think about Sheldon’s many quirks. He is set in his ways and is making obsessive compulsive disorder more mainstream. He is convinced of his own superiority to everyone around him, and arrogant with it. He is certain that he is a genius, the new Einstein, although he often makes simple mistakes in his research which prove to be fatal blows to his achieving the Nobel Prize he covets. He is very jealous when someone is more successful than him. He uses his “idiosyncratic” (spoiled) behavior to exert absolute authority over his little world. He manipulates everyone with his stubbornness and inflexibility. Sound familiar?

We can’t discuss this comparison of Sheldon and Donald without remembering some of Sheldon’s most overbearing behaviors, humorous in drama, but possibly not so much if Sheldon were a real person.

Sheldon’s First Time at the Cheese Cake Factory

 

Sheldon’s Spot

 

The Roommate Agreement

 

The Relationship Agreement

 

Sheldon as a Mobile VR Presence Device

However, Sheldon has some vulnerabilities that make him occasionally human and endearing. Sheldon’s friends also do not take his terrorism too seriously. They defuse it with sarcasm, humor, and affection. Sheldon’s friends make up a second family for him. Because he went away to college at such a young age and his social skills were therefore neglected, Sheldon’s friends almost reparent him and it is not an easy task. Penny is especially good, as a non-genius, at forging a close and somewhat sweet relationship with Sheldon who can be robotic, imperious, and lacking in a social IQ to match his intellectual IQ.

Maybe that’s what Donald missed, why he never achieved an adult balance to tone down his authoritarian streak with empathy and compassion. He never found a group of friends who felt unintimidated by his egotism, narcissism, and his absolute belief in his own genius. He never had people who affectionately modified his selfish and misguided self-sufficiency, who mocked him and teased him and grounded him. Trump’s seemingly ebullient extroversion allows him to live in his own isolated space where he can only be reached by people who constantly admire him and say yes to all his “brilliant” ideas. It is doubtful that Donald could be reparented at this late date.

Lots of experiences have unintended consequences, so let’s not ruin our enjoyment of this very popular diversion because of the ways in which Sheldon’s oddball personal traits might be helping Donald seem more socially acceptable. Sheldon of course is not real, he only seems real because The Big Bang has such great writers and really creative dialogue. It is entirely possible that these TV nerds have much improved the currency value of actual nerds. Sadly, though, there is a lot more humor to be had from Sheldon’s peculiarities than we will ever see from Donald’s. We may enjoy watching Big Bang reruns for decades. I have a feeling though, that Donald’s reruns may be very unpopular and will have to eventually be remixed. Of course he is already trying to rewrite it all but I doubt his writing skills equal the skills of The Big Bang crew. I doubt it can ever be rewritten to seem like Presidential behavior.

Thanks to the fans who recorded these bits of The Big Bang Theory. You will see their names when you watch the videos.

Elections, not Zuckerberg

zuckerberg-analytica-796x419 TNW big

Mark Zuckerberg seems no better and no worse than any other business owner/billionaire these days. His company makes huge profits and he still needs ever more to satisfy himself and his stockholders. This is our brand of capitalism and Zuckerberg is certainly not any more greedy than anyone else. I am not going back into the now-distant past to talk about whether he became sole owner of Facebook by trickery and theft of intellectual property. That has already been adjudicated and now is a matter for Zuckerberg’s conscience.

There are at least two different points being argued at the same time and they do connect, but they are not the same issue. One argument says here is a company that is owned by one man. It has a huge presence on the internet which gives Mark Zuckerberg a disproportionate influence over internet users. So the argument here is that Zuckerberg’s company needs some regulation.

But that depends on whether we are talking about consumerism or elections. Unlike Cambridge Analytica Mark Zuckerberg, I’m thinking, did not intend to influence a US election any more than he intended to make identity theft a more common type of crime. He did intend to use what all websites use and what Bruce Schneier, writing at cnn.com yesterday morning (March 26, 2018) called “surveillance capitalism.”

Facebook users are not that naïve. We know that, although Facebook has gotten quite picky about what privacy level we want for things we post, they still allow all kinds of other apps and sites to collect our data and that of our friends. How many times have you given up your contacts to gain quick access to a site? The problem is that this allows someone like Cambridge Analytica, an organization that has only a fiduciary relationship with Facebook to mine data that Facebook supposedly protects but actually makes accessible to all who pay to advertise on the platform.

Since our entire culture centers around making money, having money, making more money and stockpiling as much money as you can and since every company has the same goals – profit- it is hard to fault Zuckerberg for being a successful businessman. If no one ever used this data to spy, to meddle in an election(/s), then we would not be having this discussion right now.

We are at a time when meddling in American elections seems to be the project of the moment for way too many people and at least one nation. I am not talking about voter fraud. I do not think we the people are even on the list of election tinkerers. Are both the GOP and the Dems using the internet to feed false information to people who use social media? I don’t think so. Were those who stole data under false pretenses and used it to fix (or try to fix) an election only trying to stop Hillary, or did they only wish to elect Trump – or would they have tried to throw the election to any candidate on the right. It seems that the election of 2016 was very important to an awful lot of people, and that they were are all working for the right.

Regardless of who Cambridge Analytica was working for, or whether or not Putin had people trying to fix the election, or even if Hillary and the Dems were trying to fix the election against Bernie Sanders, clearly we must protect our elections from any kind of meddling. Free and fair elections are the basis of our democracy/republic. Given what we can see about the lack of any reliable privacy on the internet and the modern tendency to push media into our communities that offers partisan propaganda, but likes to pretend that it is offering unbiased facts, obviously, some real effort and study needs to be dedicated to protecting our “free and fair” elections. Since some people feel that all is fair in politics and elections this effort cannot be delayed. We have another election coming up. We have elections all the time.

It is disingenuous to try to make Mark Zuckerberg the scapegoat for what is happening with our elections. Perhaps this is more Conservative razzle-dazzle to distract everyone from noticing that most of the election meddling was done on behalf of the GOP and Donald Trump. Zuckerberg just uses the same “surveillance capitalism” that all sites use on the web (although it is possible he pioneered some of the methodologies currently in use). These tactics are invasive and annoying and they make hacking the web a gamble with a big payoff.

We do need some oversight on the internet or the internet will become so crime-ridden that it will be shunned by people who cannot take risks with their data or their money. And this very model of “surveillance capitalism” is used on all social media but Facebook has the biggest treasure trove of personal information. Can Facebook be fixed? Will we like it to death?

It also feels as if some people are feeling personally vindictive towards Mark Zuckerberg and some professional jealousy may be increasing their desires to force him to answer to Congress and take him down a peg or two. We need to keep our eye on the main focus here and that is to guarantee that our elections are free and fair. If we have to rein in capitalism on the internet, are we willing to do that at a time when our government is busily overturning all the regulations that are now in place? What we need most of all is a new government.

Sinclair We Heart Free Speech

Our free press is one of America’s greatest strengths. This is one of the “campaigns” of Mr. Trump that I find most disgraceful; his attacks on the media. He assaults the very best of our media and venerates all of the worst of it. He calls the media that tries to honestly report the events of the day “fake news” and he relies on all of the media which the rest of think of as “fake news”. Since our print media is already struggling to stay alive in these days of the internet, I am worried that Donald’s constant barrage of insults against the free press will leave us with only news that leans to the right, and made-up news.

Much of our pride in America is tied up in our free speech. We feel a bit superior to a nation like Russia or China with only state-sponsored news. Even so, we have lost some of our freedom because money is now speech and we don’t have enough money to buy as much “speech” as some Americans are able to these days. Even worse, now we have a “strong man” in charge who is trying to kill off sources of free speech. The best sources of news refuse to print unearned praise of the current occupant of the White House, so 45 is trying to suppress all our nation’s leading news sources.

Other powerful and wealthy men like the Koch brothers are trying to subvert media sources from within by buying them and then forcing them to print news stories they like or even ones they invent. I am very worried that the Conservative push to control America is going to take away the freedom of speech we have always enjoyed in our media.

History has taught us one way dictators destroy the free press is to make us begin to question which stories are factual and which stories are not. There used to be a fairly clear divide between commentary and news. Those lines are now being blurred. Before the 2016 election we all saw stories on Facebook that seemed extremely biased and some which struck us as too ridiculous to even bother to read. There were stories we had to hide so we wouldn’t ever have to see them again. Perhaps we attributed these stories to devotees of Fox News and never guessed that powerful people were deliberately planting “fake news”, or propaganda, on Facebook. But there were plenty of people on Facebook who would bury you in troll-speak if you dared express an opinion, in a comment, opposite to the “fake news”

I don’t like the Conservative agenda of today’s Republican Party and I make no secret of this. I do not believe that anything these folks want will be good for America, except perhaps training programs for workers and infrastructure investments (not pipelines). But Conservatives have been very effective at bamboozling, lying to, propagandizing, and convincing many Americas to believe that they have good ideas and that the Democrats don’t. If we are not careful the right – the GOP – will not just control the government and 30+ state governments, they might just become the only political power in America. What will we hear on our media then?

Well, I know where you can get a foretaste. Recently John Oliver outed the business plans of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a Conservative media group that owns local TV news stations in 81 local markets and that is trying to double the number of stations under its influence through a merger. In my mid-size city Sinclair bought three TV local news programs on different networks and two of those stations are the most popular stations for local news, the news broadcasts people listen to every day and every night. Syracuse, NY was cited by name by John Oliver on this national network (HBO) and this is a rare thing indeed unless the news is about snowstorms.

So far the most noticeable feature of the “takeover” is that these stations are obligated to air commentary a number of times each week by a Trump supporter named Boris Epshteyn, “Bottom Line with Boris”. Katy Waldman at Slate.com in her article with the title “News. Traffic. Weather. Trump” begins her article like this: “the face of Boris Epshteyn, chief political analyst for the behemoth Sinclair Broadcast Group, is glowing like an oversized egg about to hatch the world’s most affable chicken. ‘Let’s take a look at the White House press briefing,” he suggests genially, the corners of his mouth lifting. ‘What it is, what it represents, and how it serves the American people.”

Here’s a little sample of Boris in action.

I’m unsure that there is any path right now that would put news in Syracuse back with an owner who wants to offer segments that fairly present both sides of an issue or that take a brave stand when called for. But the word about Sinclair Broadcasting Group invading my local news is a depressing development and another sad step away from free speech. When will our politics, which has moved so far to the right, make a move back towards the center or to the left? That is difficult to predict. It could take many years to change US policy now that we have let Conservatives take over our politics, and have allowed them to be so invasive in our media dialogue and government. Will we lose our free speech rights? Will we become afraid to speak out if we disagree with laws or approaches to future crises that are sure to arise? Government-approved media could happen here. There is, as they say, “a slippery slope.”

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/07/how_boris_epshteyn_and_sinclair_bring_trump_propaganda_to_local_news.html

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/john_oliver_sinclair_broadcast_group_cny_central_syracuse.html

http://www.syracuse.com/business-news/index.ssf/2017/05/sinclair_broadcast_group_tribune_media_fox.html

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/11/syracuse_tv_stations_sold_ownership_sinclair_broadcast_group.html