George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Archive for the category “New York Times”

In My Dreams

This will require some full disclosure, but what the hell, if it helps, it’s worth it. Fact is, since finding that counting sheep made me allergic to wool, I began lulling myself to sleep these nights by creating an imaginary foundation which, of course, has very substantial resources. One arm of this organization is devoted to “social events” like drug abuse, local poverty, parenting and more. The other arm addresses public information, broadly defined. I have a director in mind for the social work, and a chairman for the foundation. My focus most recently is on the public information function. A major mission of this arm is to counter the pernicious effects of Trump’s constant onslaught of lies and “fake news” and Republicans’ failure to do what they were elected for, and to find ways to bring honest, accurate information about government and progressive policies to the nation’s voters. To head up this group I recruit Lawrence O’Donnell, a major force behind the landmark series “West Wing,” and currently doing yeoman work hidden away on MSNBC’s “Last Word” program, which airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

One of the ventures I have in mind for Lawrence is to direct the production and distribution of 15-minute videos hosted by him and others and sent to network (not cable) programmers for inclusion in their local news and information broadcasts. Clever, huh? So guess what.

I open up the July 24th issue of Bloomberg Businessweek and…viola! There it is! The whole concept. Only it’s being implemented as I lay there dreaming by none other than the stomach-turning Boris Epshteyn (that’s not a misspelling) and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, described by Bloomberg as “the Fox News of local TV!”

Sinclair currently sends brief videos to 65 local station newsrooms who are required to run them. With a capacity to expand to 173 stations, Sinclair is positioned to spread right-wing poison to Ma’s and Pa’s coast to coast, rural areas and cities alike. And what alternatives are there for these folks? Virtually none. Add to that the old reliable Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Drudge, David Levin, plus local crazies on local stations and the question that screams out is WHAT ARE PROGRESSIVES DOING TO COUNTER THIS ONSLAUGHT OF RIGHT WING PROPAGANDA? Virtually nothing!

Progressives have MSNBC on cable and little else of mass distribution. The relativity few Trump types who read The New York Times dismiss it as fake news and, sad to say, Trump has largely succeeded in labeling the “mainstream media” as liars and worse, at least as far as his base is concerned, whenever they encounter something that challenges their – or his – beliefs. Al Gore gave progressive broadcast a shot with Current TV, but had to abandon it to low ratings. Online sources are mostly preaching to the choir. Beyond that, I’m unaware of any serious attempts at straight or progressive news and information distribution. Distribution is key. Truthful information has to reach local communities and smaller cities and towns everywhere in order to have any meaningful effect, as the 2016 election so painfully proved.

How many amendments are there to the U.S. Constitution? 32? 25? 17? Not sure? Someone – I don’t know who – recently suggested that high school students be required to answer the 100 questions that are part of a citizenship application. It was called civics when I went to school, but it has somehow disappeared from school curriculum in recent years. It’s a good place to start, a way to build a better informed electorate, but we obviously need more. We need to help people distinguish a “voter database program” from the voter suppression effort currently being attempted by Trump via Kris Kobach and his fellow suppressors, so they will speak out against it. Or at least believe the press when they do.

Is there no one in the Democratic Party savvy enough to develop a progressive news source that will reach out to ordinary Americans and talk straight? On my desk is the latest mailing from the Democratic National Committee outlining various efforts the DNC is taking in door knocking, phone calls, and other methods for “grass roots” organizing for “Resistance”— complete with a stick-on wallet card headed RESIST. What does that mean beyond sending them a check? Why doesn’t an organization such as this think outside the box? Someone there should take a look at the recent 28-page document published by the Southern Poverty Law Center entitled “100 Days in Trump’s America.” It spells out, in real world terms, how the Trump administration got where it is, the mainstreaming of the radical right, profiles of key people, a 100-day timeline, and suggestions for participation.

Why not reach out to people everywhere, every income level, every education level, every zip code, and provide proven, factual information on the issues of the day? Frankly, I’ve listened to DNC Chair Tom Perez a number of times and all I hear are the same old “liberal” slogans that the recent election has shown are just another echo chamber. Trashing Trump, however justified, is not a program. Maybe Tom should ask if he can publish the SPLC’s document under DNC auspices. That would get checks…and maybe some action.


Just sayin’…

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Donny Trump: His Majesty, the Baby

From Just sayin’…by George Duncan

Donny Trump: His Majesty, the Baby

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to comment with any depth on Donald Trump and his administration. The lies and exaggerations, the inappropriate behaviors and reversals of campaign rhetoric, and now presidential actions, are coming too fast and frequent to allow for much thoughtful consideration. Bill Maher recently ran a list of Trumps’ boldface lies, for example. It included eight statements or situations for that one week. The result of this constant barrage is response that’s driven more by emotion than intellect.

There is one consistent aspect of Trump’s behavior, however, that runs through – and motivates, in my view – virtually everything he says and does, and that’s the immature nature of his thinking. It became crystal clear when he acknowledged in his own words his childish behavior towards women. His so-called “ranking” of females from 1 to 10, for an early example, as described to the sexual provocateur Howard Stern on his TV show. Most guys grow out of that nonsense by their late teens, but not our Donny. If you don’t have big boobs, ladies, you can’t be a ten in Donny’s book. Sorry. That was followed by a number of women accusing him of unwanted groping and kissing like a drunk at a wedding or a ten year old who had just discovered his whatziz was for more than pee-pee.

Then there was his creepy description of going backstage as his harem – beauty contest contestants – were getting dressed, and he enjoyed all the pleasures of a peeping Don.

Most revealing, of course, was the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged in his own words how he couldn’t keep his hands off good looking women, being drawn to kiss them with or without their permission, and how his stardom gave him license to grab their crotch. What more childish statement have you ever heard uttered by a supposedly grown man? As is often the case, Freud said it best:

The child shall have things better than his parents: he shall not be subject to the necessities which they have recognized as dominating life. Illness, death, renunciation of enjoyment, restrictions on his own will, shall not touch him; the laws of nature, like those of society, are to be abrogated in his favor; he is really to be the center and heart of creation, “His Majesty the Baby,” as we once fancied ourselves to be….At the weakest point of all in the narcissistic position, the immortality of the ego which is so relentlessly assailed by reality, security is achieved by fleeing to the child. Parental love, which is so touching and at bottom so childish, is nothing but parental narcissism born again.                                                 Sigmund Freud, “On Narcissism”

Freud’s view becomes much more apparent in relation to Donald Trump if you read Trump biographer Gwenda Blair’s account of Trump’s father and grandfather.

Trump’s sexual immaturity may not in itself threaten the Republic except to the degree that it drives much of his other narcissistic behaviors as President. Journalists and commentators regularly identify the miasma of lies, hyperbolic, and even delusional statements that Trump has ridden into the White House, and behind which he continues to govern – if you can call it that.

He is still incapable of making a statement of more than two sentences without reflecting in one way or another on himself and his greatness. But that’s just annoying, at least to us. In most other countries, they think – and fear – that he’s nuts.

In fact, many right here are beginning to question Trump’s sanity. Here’s The New York Times’ conservative columnist, David Brooks:

President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.

No longer owns the football

One critical aspect of Trump’s problem that he no longer owns the football: All his life, as president of his company, he has owned, not just the football, but the whole stadium. He became accustomed to calling the shots any way he liked and to hell with anyone else. As President, he is just one of three equal branches of government. As his childish reaction to the 9th Circuit (so-called judges) shows, he really hasn’t learned that yet. He seems to think he’ll bully his way through the courts and the congress. Judging from the silence from the spineless congressional Republicans, he may be right.

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Just sayin’…

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