|Vol. 12 No. 3 -- That Word
January 15, 2018
Everyone is talking about That Word
- the one that President Trump allegedly used to describe Africa, Haiti
and El Salvador during a heated debate over immigration. There is
actually a debate over whether Trump actually said That Word. I believe he did. Trump said he didn't. However, the Washington Post
has painstakingly documented more than 2,000 Trump lies during his
first year in office. There are two republican senators who said
yesterday that Trump didn't say That Word.
But they are the same two senators who claimed on Friday that they
didn't recall what Trump said. Fellas, I have two words for you:
credibility problem. As a former broadcast journalist, I was just as
interested in how the media reported on the President's potty mouth.
Most of the national broadcast media used That Word uncensored during the first few hours of the story. After all, they felt it important to report exactly what the President said. However, they were also mindful that the root of That Word was one of the late comedian George Carlin's "Seven Words that You Can't Say on Television."
I doubt that the FCC will fine any broadcasters over its use. Simply
stated, news content is protected speech and what the President says is
news. These same broadcasters eventually backed away from using That Word
after a few hours because, frankly, they were embarrassed to use it. It
was as if CBS White House Correspondent Major Garrett's mom was going
to crash the gate and wash out her son's mouth with a bar of soap. You may have noticed that I am not willing to use That Word in
this post. It's not that I am a Puritan: I have been known to curse
like a drunken sailor who had his 48-hour leave canceled. But putting That Word is writing makes me very uncomfortable. It's bad enough when you hear it. But seeing That Word
in print leaves a powerful impression. It just lays there like a pile
of - you pick your own euphemism. It is disappointing when anyone uses That Word to
describe anybody or anything. But when the President of the United
States uses it against people whose only fault is that they were not
fortunate to have been born in a rich, industrialized nation, you've
just gotta to wonder what he is using for brains. It makes one wish even harder that Donald Trump would go away and climb back into that hole from which he came.
That's it for now. Fear the Turtle.
|Vol. 12 No. 2 -- Oprah for President?
January 8, 2018
night's Golden Globes awards were less about the world of entertainment
and more about social justice. The women, the men and even the carpet
leading into the theater were adored in black - symbolic of the growing
resistance to sexual harassment in the workplace. You might say it was
Hollywood's attempt at saying "my bad!" It is also a recognition - we
all hope - of a new day when women are treated with respect everywhere,
especially in the workplace. The most powerful statement of the evening
came from Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Oprah Winfrey. "So I want
all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the
horizon," Winfrey said. "And when that new day finally dawns, it will
be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here
in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to
make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when
nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again." They were powerful words that
deserve applause. But backstage, something equally interesting was
happening. Oprah's "boyfriend/companion" Steadman weighed in by saying
that Oprah is open to a run for President of the United States in 2020.
Based on what happened in 2016, that statement can not be ignored. It
is also a frightening prospect. We've already elected one celebrity
president so far and look how that was worked out. While Oprah is
kinder, gentler and arguably smarter than the buffoon currently
occupying the White House, that doesn't make her qualified. If anyone
thinks that the force of personality is enough to solve the nation's
problems, think again. It didn't work for Barack Obama - and he brought
a heckava lot more gravitas to the table than Oprah could. The last
thing this nation needs is another celebrity president - no matter how
well intended he/she is. Give me a boring, old-fashioned policy wonk
with inside-the-Beltway political experience. With the exception of
Obama's two-year stint in the U.S. Senate, we haven't had anyone like
that since George H.W. Bush. And when you look back at his term in
office from the distance of three decades, it doesn't look that bad. We
don't need any more presidents who shoot from the hip or lip. We need
someone whose backbone is stronger than his or her ego. Sure, I like
the idea of President Oprah telling America to look under its seat.
She'd look into the camera and say "you get a car and you get a car and
you get a car!" Yeah, that would be great. But let's get real. This is
what America needs: Real leaders with real vision and real substance.
That's it for now. Fear the Turtle.
|Vol. 12 No. 1 -- Resist
January 1, 2018
am not one who believes in New Year's resolutions. While there is
something good in being aspirational, the goals we set are often
unrealistic. Just because the calendar has turned another page doesn't
make us more resolute to lose weight, save money, be kinder or whatever
we hope to achieve. The same forces that created the situations we
choose to correct remain unchanged regardless of the year. That being
said, I am breaking my usual pattern and have made a one-word New
Year's resolution: Resist. After more than 11 months of the train-wreck
laughingly called the Trump Administration, enough is enough. Donald
Trump had low expectations entering the presidency and, even then,
failed to achieve them. Trump has shown himself to be an amoral,
immature, thin-skinned psychotic, bully, narcissist, misogynist,
racist, treasonous, anti-intellectual. He also has the attention span
of a flea. But most important, he is a clear and present danger to
American democracy. Through a barrage of Twitter rants and off-the-cuff
blathering, Donald Trump has attempted to undermine the judiciary, the
FBI, the Justice Department, the State Department, the NATO alliance
and the world's free press. At the same time he has acted as if he is
Vladimir Putin's lap dog - nuzzling up to the Soviet-style dictator as
a man who has secrets he is desperate to hide. In short, Donald Trump
has ceded America's world leadership role, leaving a dangerous vacuum.
At the same time, he has been recklessly agitating Kim Jong-un, perhaps
the only world leader more mentally unstable than Trump. Sure, he can
"win" any war against North Korea, but at what cost? This new year is a
critical one in American history. If the system is allowed to work,
Trump will be either proven to have committed illegal acts that
warrant his impeachment/imprisonment or he will be exonerated.
However, the key question is whether Trump will allow the system to
work. There is a very real danger that he will obstruct justice by
firing the special prosecutor, abusing his pardon powers or withholding
important evidence. Should that happen, my New Year's resolution is to
resist. I will call and write my congressional representatives - and
will actively urge others to do so. I will also be willing to do
something I have never done in my life, take my protest to the streets.
As Patrick Henry first declared, now is the time for all good men - and
women - to come to the aid of their country. We cannot look the other
way while Donald Trump and his crew of black-hearted oligarchs attempt
to crush basic American values. I love my country. Resist I will if
resist I must.
That's it for now. Fear the Turtle.