Censorship and America’s Culture of Treachery

Joe and Hunter Biden in 2010

T.J. Osteen.  Introduction by W.J. Astore

Treachery and politics fit like hand-in-glove in today’s America.  Donald Trump is now calling for a special prosecutor to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in the next two weeks. Along with blanket support of corporations, big finance, the military-industrial complex, and other privileged elites, the Republican and Democratic parties share a predilection for treachery.  But is such treachery more common today among liberal elites than conservative ones?  Such is the provocative question raised by Tom Osteen in this essay, his first for Bracing Views.  W.J. Astore

T.J. Osteen on Treachery in America

The recent Biden corruption bombshells are not surprising. That Hunter is alleged to have peddled influence on behalf of Burisma, a Ukrainian company, in return for a no-show “job” that paid $50,000 a month, implicating his father, who was then America’s vice president, is disturbing on its face, but it has also served up collateral damage, putting on full display the alarming problem of censorship by the media.

Censorship by the media has increased dramatically in recent years, whether it be by Facebook, Twitter, or the mainstream media. In this case, Twitter and Facebook initially worked to limit the Biden corruption story; other mainstream outlets ignored it or dismissed it as part of a Russian disinformation campaign. This is more than censorship: it is election interference — in a word, cheating. Other examples arrive daily, including (even more recently than the Biden fiasco) Amazon’s rejection of the Who Killed Michael Brown documentary. Per the Wall Street Journal, this was because the documentary did not fit the dominant narrative of White police officers killing young Black men because of systemic racism.

Why the increase in censorship? Because it is a symptom of something even more ominous. Rather than splitting hairs over the definition of censorship, or what Freedom of Speech means, let’s look at the root cause: the new Culture of Treachery in America.

American culture has evolved from honor-based to dignity-based, and more recently to victim-based. Some quick background on those concepts, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“Honour cultures, often called honour-shame cultures are cultures like that of the American West or Europe in the era when dueling was common. In such cultures, honour is paramount and when it is infringed upon the offended party retaliates directly.”

“A dignity culture, according to Campbell and Manning, has moral values and behavioral norms that promote the value of every human life, encouraging achievement in its children while teaching that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’”

“According to Campbell and Manning, victim-based culture engenders ‘competitive victimhood,’ incentivizing even privileged people to claim that they are the victims of, for example, reverse discrimination.  According to Claire Lehmann, Manning and Campbell’s culture of victimhood sees moral worth as largely defined by skin color and membership in a fixed identity group.”

Just like the rapid news cycle that we now live with, we are already starting to move into a new cultural phase: the American culture of treachery is upon us. The culture of treachery promulgates a “succeed at all costs” mentality and celebrates the destruction of perceived enemies through power. Traditional values have no place in a culture of treachery. Likewise for liberty and justice. The only value is power: the ability to impose one’s will on another, by any means necessary.

Censorship is just one of the many aspects of a culture of treachery. Others include intolerance, deception, manipulation, and hate. The evidence is all around us now, whether it be “cancel culture” or the Russia hoax embraced by the Democrats in their failed attempt to overturn a presidential election.

So where is the source of the treachery in our society? Often the media focuses on Donald Trump and his circle, but we need look no further than who is doing the censoring. Big Tech, the mainstream media, academia, and Hollywood.

But why? These groups have several things in common. They all lean left, they all deal in power, and they all believe they have the answers. So here is the rub: Treachery arises here because liberals are just as likely to act unethically than conservatives to gain or preserve power. When presented with the opportunity to modify a search algorithm or filter information, a liberal (again in general) will do it just as readily as – or even more eagerly than – a conservative.

A so-called liberal value set makes it acceptable to manipulate search results, indoctrinate young minds toward personal political views, cancel those who have different views, or spin news stories while ignoring the truth. Far too often, it is Fox News and other conservative outlets that are condemned for malfeasance and malpractice when it’s liberal sites and power centers that are the true masters of manipulation.

So it comes down to values. Censorship is cheating. Cheating is treachery. Treachery has become as much a “value” of the Left as it is of the Right, and indeed more so as election day approaches.

The coming election and the divide in our country is not solely about policy and differing points of view. At its core, it is about whether we are going to become a Culture of Treachery or whether we are not. Culture comes from the heart. Only an across-the-board rejection of treachery will allow us to enter a productive new era of American culture and restore America to something approaching greatness.

Tom Osteen is a career technology executive and former military officer.  He holds degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Southern California.  An avid surfer, Tom also writes/speaks on Leading with Honor and Honor in the Workplace.

45 thoughts on “Censorship and America’s Culture of Treachery

  1. “You’ve got no laws, you’ve got no honor!” – English Bob to the citizens of Big Whiskey in “Unforgiven”

    A case of Art imitating Life.
    Yes, the twisted view of honor as portrayed by Hollywood is of the primitive, “eye for an eye” variety, but movies and TV are the only places you hear of the concept of honor. Not in the education system, not in the home. As with words such as “epic” & “love” the true meaning has been corrupted to the point of being unrecognizable. “Honor” has become a responsive action, rather than a way of life.

    As for “across the board” changes in America, I think it’s safe to say the only thing that happens “across the board” in the US is the watching of the commercials during the Super Bowl. We’ve become a lowest common denominator culture for whom “honor” is something associated with ninja, samurai, the Yakuza, Jedi, gangs, gangsters, and occasionally the military “as seen on TV.” C/S

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Conservatives believe all America’s problems are because Christianity is not taught in Public Schools.

      The real problems come because real Christianity is not taught in Churches and Homes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would qualify your comment by restricting “Christianity” to the precepts of the Golden Rule. As opposed to stoning adulterers, homosexuals, prostitutes, non-believers, and other “sinners.”

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        1. Like the Political Divide between the Left and Right in America, There’s also the Spiritual Divide between those who see Christ as a Leftist, and those like the Trump Evangelists on the Right.

          The TV Evangelists living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, with the latest status symbol being luxury private jets so they don’t even have to mingle with the sheeple paying for it all.

          Have you ever seen one of them expound on these words and pictures in their Bibles? Not likely.

          Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
          Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
          Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the LAST DAYS.

          Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.
          You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
          Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.[…] But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.
          James 5

          All Christian Sects preach we are in the LAST DAYS, and still don’t connect it with those LAST DAYS James is so explicit describing in their Bibles, especially as the growing Economic Inequality between the rich and the Masses becomes more evident.
          They rarely talk about the many Bible admonitions Christ has about about the rich

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  2. I relate to the essential points of this point of view because I went through it so long ago.

    This is the most significant paragraph in the article,
    “Just like the rapid news cycle that we now live with, we are already starting to move into a new cultural phase: the American culture of treachery is upon us. The culture of treachery promulgates a “succeed at all costs” mentality and celebrates the destruction of perceived enemies through power. Traditional values have no place in a culture of treachery. Likewise for liberty and justice. The only value is power: the ability to impose one’s will on another, by any means necessary.”

    A prime example of that paragraph happened in 1980, when the US financed Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, starting the brutal 8 year War to nip the 1979 Iranian Revolution in the bud.

    The Republicans went to the Iranians and promised them Weapons to fight Saddam and the US, IF they held on to the US Hostages the Carter Administration was negotiating to get released, until AFTER the 1980 Election, so Carter does not get an October Surprise and a bump in the Polls just before the Election.
    That’s the classic Dictionary definition of TREASON, unlike the loose way the Word is tossed around these Days.

    The current Attorney General William Barr, was instrumental in covering up and censoring information about that TREASON from reaching the American Public. He advocated Presidential pardons for those convicted of minor offences resulting from the whitewashed investigation.
    https://www.npr.org/2019/01/14/684553791/william-barr-supported-pardons-in-an-earlier-d-c-witch-hunt-iran-contra

    As a Canadian, I reached an exceptionally high level of Visibility at the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City.
    A year earlier, I quit my position of ‘National Marketing Representative, Mining Division, Dominion Engineering Works Ltd.’ of Montreal, sold all my possessions, and entered the US September 1, 1975, to discover the Spirit of ’76.

    The Authorities took notice of me because The Kansas City Times published 2 Public records on my presence in the City.
    I was the guest on a phone in radio station program a dozen times, and subject of a TV interview.
    I was arrested for deportation back to CanaDa as an Alien, leaving on my own in December, 1976.

    Arriving in CanaDa’s Capital in 1977, I stood up on the Sparks Street Mall, exercising my Democratic Right of Freedom of Speech, and attracted growing crowds.
    The Police always came and stopped my Public speaking, charging me with “Shouting causing a disturbance” even though The Ottawa Citizen records the People demanded I be allowed to speak.
    The 1st Time, I was locked up in Maximum Security, Solitary Confinement, for 5 Days before appearing in front of a Judge.

    With 10 charges, I was convicted, and placed on Probation for 1 year with only 1 condition typed in at the bottom of the form,
    “Not to attend on the Sparks Street Mall or any other street in Ottawa for the PURPOSE of SPEAKING or shouting”
    With 3 charges of breaching that Probation, I was sentenced to jail for the 1st Time in my Life.

    https://rayjc.com/2011/02/27/seeds-of-democracy/

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks TJ! I appreciate your appreciation of that recent, but at the same Time, like unknown Ancient History. It did happen over 2 Genreations ago.
        The Stats tell me 3 Visitors to this Blog were interested in reading ‘the Seeds of Democracy’ with all the Newspaper records.

        In that period of my Life, I was mindful in many other regimes in this World, I would have just become one of the disappeared, and thanked God I’m Canadian. But CanaDa did fail that Test of Democracy in 1977, demonstrating the need for reform and improvement.
        It’s not good I see, these 2 Generations later, if Trump is re-elected, he will use the Legal Authority buried deep in the 2012 National Defence Authorization Act, allowing the US Military to arrest US Citizens off the streets or out of their Homes, and lock them up INDEFINITELY in some GITMO-GULAG based on a Trump Bureaucracy accusing anyone with having some vague association with terrorism.
        http://rayjc.com/2019/10/17/leaked-us-military-manual-for-policing-homeland-internment-camps-for-political-dissidents/

        When I got out of jail, I phoned The Ottawa Citizen and said since they projected such a positive image on my activities, would you like to talk about the substance?
        Was I censored when they just said these exact words. “You’re not news anymore?” They do have editorial control on what the Masses see, but The Ottawa Citizen was wrong.
        After that initial splash in Ottawa, newspapers all across CanaDa, from The Whitehorse Star in the Yukon, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, including CanaDa’s National Magazine, MacLean’s, chronicled my personal Voyage of Faith in God.

        I was in my 30s and 40s then. Now I’m 76, with a more Contemplative-Meditative Life than I was living at that Time.

        When I said I reached “an exceptionally high level of Visibility at the 1976 Republican National Convention” it was much more exceptional than I could have ever imagined.

        After walking softly carrying my big stick through the Lobby of The Crown Center Hotel where President Ford and his Retinue stayed for 4 Days, no one was willing to talk with me.

        The Night President Ford won the Nomination over Ronald Reagan to take on Jimmy Carter, the Hotel Lobby had a big compressed crowd looking up to the Secret Service restricted Mezzanine with the Podium of the President set up. President Ford was expected to be standing there any minute.

        The Hotel Manager gave me his permission to go anywhere I want in his Hotel and if the Republicans bother me, to call him. The Republican Security physically picked me up and carried me out of the Hotel Lobby the 1st Day of the Convention. I had to call him that 4th Day for the 1st Time.

        I changed tactics since no one would talk with me, and entered the Lobby holding a pamphlet with white stars on a blue background, with a red oval centre reading in script, Constitution of the United States of America. It covered the 3 of my trademark #13 jersey, so anyone approaching me would see the pamphlet covering my Heart not even knowing I was Canadian.

        It succeed in the objective. What Convention planners call a spontaneous demonstration happened. A crowd started to gather and pepper me with questions. The Republican Party Whips also appeared and told me I had to leave the Hotel.
        Asking why, they answered these exact words, “You can’t walk around here with a club!”
        My thoughts having those words laid on my ears were, ‘My God, these people have the Power and in their paranoia my stick looks like a club to them!’
        I told them they didn’t have the Authority to kick me out and when the Hotel Manager came to investigate he stood with me, but the Party Whips also did their job, and the crowd disappeared.

        Moving along, to my surprise, standing on the Mezzanine mentioned above, there was President Ford himself, hands on the railing, looking down into the Lobby. There was his retinue of some 25 people behind him.
        The bottom of the Mezzanine was about 15 feet above me and I said, “Good Day Mr, Ford, How are you Today, Sir!” He acknowledged me answering, “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
        Lifting up the pamphlet toward him said, “I’m doing great, but I’d love to talk to you about these UN-United States!”
        In a nanosecond, like a single cell amoeba, he and his retinue moved right along.

        Later that night, the Hotel Manager spotted me in the compressed crowd below and called me to come up to the balcony. It’s not an exaggeration to say the crowd was sardine packed and it took a long time to get out and go up. The Manager told me Secret Service Agents want to question me.
        To my surprise, instead of questioning me in an anteroom, the Agent led me to stand right at the President’s Podium, and questioned me in view of everyone below, and the 3 TV Networks broadcasting live.
        It was an even greater surprise when after asking many questions, the SS Agent laid these exact words on my ears, “Are you Jesus Christ?”
        Having no illusions about that then or now, and in a nanosecond answered, “NO!”
        The next question was, “Who are you then? A Prophet?”
        Having never imagined finding myself in such an extra-ordinary situation, I couldn’t answer that question so definitely.
        They wanted to hold my stick for Security reasons while the President was speaking, and they gave it back afterwards.
        Having shoulder length hair, and beard, wearing my trademark #13 jersey, that certainly was a Revolutionary Image to be standing at the President’s Podium in the Spirit of ’76.
        I would expect the Secret Service has the record of that night buried somewhere in their files.

        This is already much longer than it should be, but as a personal insight, an Immigration Judge talking with me on the phone reduced the $5000 bail to $500.
        Friends paid it, and I left Kansas City and the US in fine style.

        I met somebody driving the 1330 miles from Kansas City to Syracuse, NY, just 250 miles from home in Montreal. We flew away right after seeing The Eagles Concert in Kemper Arena!

        The Kansas City Times, September 13, 1976, ‘Prophet Chooses Park for Vigil’
        The Kansas City Times, ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976, ‘Prophet Plans Appeal of Conviction’
        http://rayjc.com/2013/09/01/signs-of-the-times/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Tj, we all have unique experiences in Life that be True for the One and not True for the Other.
          Never mind Frank Sinatra, 1976 was a Very Good Year for me, as I searched for the Spirit of ’76.

          In transit, I spent Time at Arizona State University in Phoenix Arizona, and joined with the Faith Community of the Cardinal Newman Centre just off Campus.

          The Priest would let me read the scriptures during services, but as often as I asked, he would not let me ring the Bell of the condemned old Church from the 1800s, and call the Faithful to Worship.
          One Day, to my great joy, the priest gave me the key to the old church and told me to ring the Bell.

          The Bell looked so high up in the tower, as I grabbed hold of the long rope about 3″ thick. Starting slowly, I started to get into it as I prayed to the Angel of the Bell.

          With every fibre of my being, with all my vibrations, praying/thinking to the Angel, I thought,
          ¨Lord, let the sound of this Bell rise above the noise and the din of the city traffic.
          Let the sound of the Bell rise above all the petty hatreds, squabbles, conflicts and jealousies.
          Lord, let this Bell proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land!¨ I was really getting into it!

          The priest came running over in a panic. His hands were covering his ears as he shouted, ¨ Stop it! Stop it! You´re ringing that Bell too loud.¨
          They never let me ring the Bell again.

          https://rayjc.com/2011/02/26/proclaim-liberty-throughout-all-the-land/

          Like

  3. I have to disagree completely with this post. Its been a long time since I studied history, but I recall numerous counterexamples to any hypothesis that America as gone from an Honor to a Dignity to a Victim culture. The author cites the American West as an example of an “Honor” culture. Ask the Native Americans how much “honor” they were shown in the American West. The hypothesis that we are in a treachery culture also seems to have counter-examples. My sense is that there are numerous examples of treachery, censorship, and backstabbing in to be found in American politics, media, and business from at least 150 years ago.

    What does seem to be increased is the delusion that a label is an accurate representation of the reality. This delusion is so pervasive we do it automatically. An example of this is in the introduction to the post: “Is such treachery more common among liberal elites than conservative ones?” “Liberal”, “conservative” and “elite” are labels and are so poorly defined that such a question has no consistent answer. Depending on how I define those groups I can get any answer I want. The decision on whom to include in each group is also quite subjective. Is Joe Biden a “liberal”? By whose standards? Certainly not mine.

    My own sense is that this increased delusional use of labels has arisen due to the increased use of scientific tools to examine social issues, the so-called “social sciences”. In the physical sciences phenomena are (in general) defined precisely, and there is no overlap between them. A quantity of 10 g of iron is not 11g and not 10g of any other substance. And I can substitute 10g of iron in an experiment for any other 10 g of iron and get the same results. One fundamental problem with the social sciences is that they tend to apply tools which require such precision to phenomena that cannot be described precisely. For example, numerical scales are used for phenomena that are not numerical such as “intelligence,” “depression,” “health,” “stress,” “poverty,” “liberal,” “conservative,” “right,” “left,” “wealthy,” “poor,” etc. The numbers assigned to these phenomena are not an accurate measure of the phenomenon being studied. When the numbers are fed into statistical algorithms the algorithms churn out numbers as answers, and these answers are accepted as valid and as being relevant to the phenomena being studied. Since the numbers are divorced from reality they can be used to justify practically any point of view “scientifically”. This is utter bullshit, but it has real-life and often tragic consequences. For further reading please see Stephen J. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man.

    With the advent of social media which allows emotionally charged labels to be forwarded without any cost, these labels have become more predominant. It is extremely difficult to analyze an issue, attempt to describe terms precisely, delineate the limits of the descriptions and how they can be applied, openly list the limitations of the analysis and so on. For a sense of how difficult please see Richards Heuer, Jr., Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. A well thought analysis will be thorough, but lack emotional appeal to the masses (or to authorities) and not get shared widely. A post full of inflammatory half-truths or even lies will generate an emotional response and get shared widely. Since revenue generated increases with the increased sharing, the inaccurate emotionally charged post generates far more revenue compared with effort to produce than the more thought-out post.

    Thus I would call our current culture not the Culture of Treachery but rather the Culture of Advertising. Not that this is entirely new, given PT Barnum’s quote “There’s a sucker born every minute,” but it does seem more pervasive.

    I would also add that the tendency to preferentially disseminate what those in authority agree with, be they editors, owners, superiors, or peer reviewers, is pervasive and part of human nature, and few people have the ability to avoid doing so. This has been described as happening in science, for example Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Heuer’s book described that tendency in the intelligence community, and Chris Argyris, Overcoming Organizational Defenses, describes it in business and government.

    So we are not really in any different age. The problem of censorship and backstabbing is no different now than it was. We just have more effective tools to carry those out now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent comment. I didn’t read the subject post beyond a few lines. As soon as all those labels were deployed, it signaled notions to which I no longer subscribe. Specifically, I’ve mostly abandoned all the usual nomenclature for discussing political orientation. They no longer function and are far too frequently used to pit people against each other when purported differences are not really substantive at all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Bruce. Something that I just saw supporting your point that purported differences are not really substantive. Here is a quote from a news feed I get (from the Brookings Institute) regarding taxation in the US.

        “There are no bigger supporters of the current tax system than the exemplars of the American dream: middle-class and upper-middle-class families living in large homes, with multiple children and employment-based insurance. We find in our analysis that these characteristics — more than partisanship, ideology or political values—predict strong support for a range of the most expensive and regressive subsidies in the tax code.”

        I call attention to the statement that the position on taxation was determined by characteristics other than the typical labels.

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      2. I struggle with the labels as well. If only we could speak of all this in mathematical terms (a la Asimov’s Psychohistory).

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    2. Yes, I admit those labels can be misleading; they are also elastic to the point of meaninglessness.

      Yes, Joe Biden is not a liberal; he’s basically a moderate Republican who would have been described as conservative in 1975.

      Trump defies conventional labels. He’s neither liberal nor conservative. What defines Trump is egotism, opportunism, and power. He’s more of a petty tyrant than anything else.

      Treachery is redolent throughout history. Et tu, Brute?

      My observation of the Dems and Repubs is that neither party is honorable and both are quite treacherous.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Agree with you on all points. Also wanted to express thanks for the effort you put into this blog. Having tried and failed repeatedly to post consistently on mine, I appreciate how much time and energy it takes.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I second that, JPA. Many thanks to Mr. Astore for this space. I am in general a “conservative”, so I am heavily outnumbered here, but I come to read intelligent stuff and challenge my own thinking. And to challenge other thinking too : )

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      2. My Inbox is flooded with comments on this silly article. I am deleting all in my mail queue north of (more recent than) this one. This is my final comment, addressed to the author: I stopped reading your piece when I saw the predictable rightwing buzzwords like “victim culture.” “Culture Wars” BS. If I want Tucker Carlson, I’ll watch Tucker Carlson. I have no need for a third-rate imitator like TJOSTEEN. (And as you should have guessed, I have no need for the original either.)

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    3. An excellent analysis here, JPA, IMHO. Very thorough, accurate, and on point. Having worked in advertising sales for many years, I agree completely that for decades, we’ve been in the Culture of Advertising. Madison Avenue types even took advantage of the pandemic to promote new car sales.

      To your list of Kuhn, Heuer, and Argyris, I’d add Carl Sagan, who essentially said, “Never rely on an argument from authority.” Accepted wisdom too often….isn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. OUCH!!!! That was a costly investment! A friend recommended a simple, sturdy exercise bike available for $200 via HSN that I purchased, and absolutely love. As I live in what has become the ‘hood, I’m don’t like to walk through my area alone, so the bike is perfect.

          Liked by 1 person

    4. I do like the ring of the “The Culture of Advertising”. It is indeed appropriate in these days of all image/no substance. I also agree that treachery is probably the second oldest profession. The more effective tools that you mention, however, have become a force multiplier, making treachery more effective and destructive, while at the same time it has become acceptable (even celebrated) behavior. A perfect storm for a Culture of Treachery.

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  4. Once again, Osteen, I could not make it thru your commentary. By any chance, were you a speechwriter for a past GOP POTUS?? Did you apprentice under someone like Karl Rove? If the media are censoring the right, it’s pretty remarkable how many idiots the likes of QAnon, Proud Boys, etc. have pulled into their orbits by clever exploitation of social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will say this about “victim culture”: Is there a bigger “victim” than Donald Trump? At least in his own mind, Trump is a victim of the Deep State, the mainstream media, all the women who’ve accused him of sexual harassment or assault, the Democrats, and indeed almost anyone who has the temerity to hold him to account, often simply by citing his own verifiable words and actions.

    The most powerful man in the world, and yet he’s the victim. How does he get away with it?

    He may be the world’s most fragile bully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How does Trump get away with it? To my knowledge, the US Congress has no power to even censure a POTUS–not that Trump would be quaking in his boots if it did. But it would be nice to see Congress “go on record” as rejecting his deeds and words. And we know the only mechanism to remove him from office (other than 25th Amendment, which is useless in this case) is a dead end alley thanks to GOP majority in the Senate. Oh, and close to 40% of our citizens apparently love the guy! That’s how he gets away with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “How does Trump get away with it?”

        Well, leaving aside the rather imprecise meaning of the unreferenced pronoun “it,” Jimmy Dore has a recent episode of his Youtube program where he rather effectively — but hardly exhaustively — answers that rhetorical question. See: “Hunter Biden’s Emails – Using Russia-Gate To Cover Up CORRUPTION!”, The Jimmy Dore Show (October 22, 2020). For those who might like to read along with Jimmy’s commentary, I’ve done a transcript here. Sufficient for the purposes of this comment thread, Jimmy ends with the question of interest:

        “Why do you think the Democrats don’t go harder against Donald Trump for his sons’ using that office to line their pockets? Why do you think the Democrats don’t do that? Why do you think they don’t go after him for the Emoluments Clause? Why do you think that is? Why the Democrats don’t go after Donald Trump and his family for lining their pockets while in government? It’s because they’re doing it. That’s why. Joe Biden has made 15 million dollars since he left the [Vice] presidency. Just a regular guy. Joe Biden, who has no skills. He made 15 million dollars since he left the [Vice] presidency. Barack Obama lives on a 48] acre estate on Martha’s Vineyard. He bought it from the guy who owned the Boston Celtics. You know, Barack Obama, a regular community organizer.”

        “So now you know why the Democrats couldn’t find [a reason] to impeach him on his corruption, Donald Trump, and they had [to settle for] a phone call to the Ukraine. Because they’re guilty of it, too. And you’re all suckers and chumps if you think voting for Joe Biden makes anything better. You are dumb. On purpose. Suckers. And chumps. You’ve got a bigger problem when Joe Biden becomes president, because now everybody is going to go to sleep. And that’s when you’re going to get a real fucking revolution. Because people are going to be hurting and he ain’t going to do shit. And everybody’s going to be running interference for him. Everybody like Rachel Maddow, half of youtube, CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, Rolling Stone. Congratulations Democrats. You did it again.”

        Yes. I think that about answers the question. And not just this time around, but the next time around when the out-of-office Republicans, in their turn, demand to know about how the demented Joe Biden “got away with it.” [short answer: “He forgot”] How the corporate oligarchy’s two right-wing factions do love pretending to agonize over the meaning of unreferenced pronouns — like “it.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Mike: I thought my meaning was clear. How does Trump get away with portraying himself as America’s biggest victim?

        He also gets away with corruption — in a bigly way — because the Democrats are corrupt too. And of course I agree with Jimmy Dore here.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Greetings, Bill. Sorry if I didn’t make this clear, but I intended my comments as a response to a comment above by Greg Laxer. I meant to emphasize that It would help further the discussion if commenters would proffer specific examples of unique Trumpian crimes — as distinguished from run-of-the-mill, simple ignorance and incompetence — along with publicly available evidence upon the basis of which concerned citizens might reach a fair, informed judgment. As former NASA Director Michael Griffin said at the recent Mars Society Annual Convention: “I’m not one to assume evil intent where stupidity will suffice as an explanation.”

          Personally, I do not consider President Donald Trump anywhere near as corrupt as Joe Biden. Not that Donald Trump wouldn’t become so in time, but he simply hasn’t had as many decades of practice as the former Senator and Vice President. As one of my former graduate school teachers, the late Dr. Ananda W. P. Guruge, told me once in relation to his time in the bureaucratic/political world as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France, the United States, and UNESCO: “You will find corruption everywhere. If you want the French Minister of Education to do a favor for you, then you will have to do a favor for him. But the sheer scale of corruption in the United States is so vast that the human mind can scarcely comprehend it.” I sure miss my lunchtime chats with Dr Guruge.

          Anyway and again, as Patrick Lawrence wrote about the neophyte politician, Donald Trump: “After three and some years, I don’t think Trump has the grounding or consistency to get [much of anything] done. Washington is simply too much for him.”

          Now, whether the American people should prefer four more years of an erratic, incompetent bungler to a more experienced and effective warmongering corporate tool seems to me the only real political question coming up for public validation in less than two weeks. Then the long-time-coming imperial decline will continue.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks, Mike. I see where Biden is considering several Republicans for his cabinet but no progressives. Surprise!

            It’s a sad time in America. It’s truly depressing how our “choice” is Biden or Trump. So I voted for neither.

            Americans desperately want change, whether we call ourselves Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals or whatever. We’re being offered nothing. NOTHING.

            Small wonder that people are killing themselves with guns and opioids along with bad habits and carelessness with regards to Covid-19. After all, we’re slowly killing the planet.

            I was looking at an old photo of my 4th grade class, vintage 1972. Behind us, among other images, were words like “peace” as well as a green ecology flag. When was the last time we heard of peace or saw an ecology flag flying proudly?

            Liked by 2 people

          2. And speaking of victims, real or imagined, Patrick Lawrence has another excellent piece of analysis at Consortium News (October 19, 2020) entitled: “The Damage Russiagate Has Done”. It’s subtitle: “Authoritarian liberals have unleashed a censorious syndrome peculiar to our national character, dating to 17th century Quaker hangings in Boston.

            Now, it seems to me that women “witches” — burnt at the stake, hung by a rope, or drowned in the river — qualify as victims by any fair assessment. And not to draw too fine a point of illustration by analogy, Patrick Lawrence writes [bold font for emphasis added]:

            This is what we get after four years of the Russia collusion b.s., otherwise known as Russiagate. Anything goes if implicating Russia solves a political problem for the Democrats and keeps the war machine going for the Pentagon and the national security state. It defers the moment — at some point it will come — when the press is exposed for its radically stupid over-investment in the Russiagate nonsense. The price America has already begun to pay is very high.

            [We have now seen] an especially lively season of revelations as regards what must count as the largest disinformation op in U.S. history. It is now six months since the Russiagate hoax — and I am fine with President Donald Trump’s term for it — began its final crash into a pile of piffle. While it remains to be seen whether more evidence of political chicanery is coming, what evidence we already have is more than sufficient to identify Russiagate as the probable criminal fraud it was from the start.

            A lot of people are “still taking at face value” all the misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies our newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters have purveyed incessantly for the past four years.

            Why is a very large question. All possible answers are disturbing. But here is another big one we get to before that: When we consider together all its many consequences, has Russiagate destroyed what remained of American democracy before illiberal liberals, spooks, law enforcement, and the press colluded to erect the dreadful edifice?

            Your columnist’s answer rests on the most scrupulously precise definition of Russiagate one can manage: What we have witnessed these past four years is an attempted palace coup against a sitting president.

            I consider it irrelevant whether one considers President Donald Trump a sympathetic victim of a palace coup or a deserving one. He most certainly qualifies as a political victim in either case. The Democrats and their co-conspirators — including many in the Washington Republican Establishment [George and Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, the McCain and Cheney princesses, et al] — have coordinated their years-long assault on President Trump with known perjurors like James Clapper and John Brennan (of the ludicrously named “intelligence community”) — along with a raft of former Obama/Biden Administration officials only too well known to even moderately informed persons. So, in this case, President Trump does indeed merit the designation “victim.” He did not do what political assassins and malcontents have accused him of doing. So, the presumption of innocence must carry in this case.

            That Donald Trump may have brought his bureaucratic troubles on himself by idly speculating in a campaign speech that it might make sense to establish co-operative relations with the [nuclear armed] Russian Federation — intolerable heresy in Washington D.C., surpassing even that of pacifist Quakers in Salem — matters not one whit. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, the image of “victim,” even if justified by mountains of evidence, does not comport well with the American conceit of “The World’s Most Powerful Leader,” (and other exercises in nationalistic self-stroking of that sort). “Weakness” and “Leader” do not go well together and Donald Trump may have proven himself simply too weak for the job that Joe Biden and his handlers will only too happily and enthusiastically make worse.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. While I believed from the beginning that the stories of Russian interference in US affairs was bogus, I can in no wise accept the Orange Menace’s victim status. He’s given as good as he’s gotten, and then some. And if the Dems were attempting a palace coup—which I think they’re too disorganized and spineless to do—it was singularly unsuccessful. My thought is that Russiagate was the only resistance the weak-willed, unimaginative Dems could mount, ineffectual as such has been. Absent the pandemic, I doubt the Orange One would be trailing in the polls. My guess is that all the bloviating concerning Russia being spewed by the various competing media outlets has had very little net impact on public attitudes.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Mike: the author means the Salem Mass. Witch Trials by Puritans, c. 1690, not Quakers, who settled in Pennsylvania and who were not known for executing “witches.”

            All this Russia stuff — didn’t we allegedly defeat them utterly in c.1991? Amazing that Russia has such power over U.S. elections. Or is it Iran, or China, or … apparently, Americans will believe the disinformation from any country — so what does that say about us as a people that we’re allegedly so credulous and easy to manipulate?

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Author’s closeout comment: Thank you to the Bracing Views community for the excellent insights on my article. The discussion went in several interesting directions that I did not anticipate, providing great food for thought. Bracing, adjective: 1. Fresh and Invigorating !

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