The Essence of Trumpism

One of the most insightful commentators on modern international politics is Anne Applebaum. She was interviewed recently on Amanpour & Co. She talked about  something new she called Trumpism:

“Trumpism is not as it was advertised. It’s not what it has been analyzed as.  It isn’t anything to do with economics. It has nothing to do with foreign policy or bringing home the troops. It isn’t anything to do with the issues it is attached to. The essence of Trumpism, the deepest meaning of Trumpism, is that it is a rejection of reality. It is a projection of victory for Trump by his followers no matter if that victory is real or not. The essence is the president declaring victory where he has lost…  So we have the Vice-president, the United States Secretary of State, also following the same pattern. They aren’t contradicting the president. They know he has lost, but because they too are vying for the same mantle, hoping to someday lead the same political movement. They need to keep telling their followers that they’ve won even though they’ve not. And that is actually the essence of the movement.  That is the piece of it that will carry on. We are now seeing the political successors to Trump   who are trying to create that same feeling…We triumph over reality no matter what happens.”

Anne Applebaum is an expert on the undemocratic movements in Europe that have been expanding in the past few years. She lives in Poland and writes for The Atlantic. Europe and other parts of the world that have political leaders that want to follow the lead of Donald Trump from democracy to some form of autocracy. This Applebaum says is very important. They see how America has done it. They will likely want to use the same methods to achieve the same goal even though it looks like Trump, so far at least, has failed to achieve his goal. But he clearly showed it could be done. As Applebaum said, “the great power of American politics was always its example…that 250 years of peaceful change of power that inspired people, and this will now inspire in the opposite direction.”

As Applebaum reminded us, “We now live in an era when rumour and conspiracy theories travel much faster than real news.” According to the fascinating film “The Social Dilemma” lies travel 7 times as fast as truth, because lies are amplified by social media while truth is boring and ignored.   We are in a highly volatile situation. Anything can happen. Explosions are hardly unlikely. We had better beware. All of us.

As Applebaum said,

“Distrust” is an insufficient word. People don’t have faith any more in so called mainstream media that involves going down with fact-checking, conversation, and research. They are willing to believe material they find on Facebook. The essence of Trumpism is also based on that. It’s developed out of that world in which rumour, imaginary victories, and the imaginary world is much stronger and more appealing than the real world.      How do you deal with people who believe that Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 21, 2021? Or that believe there is a cabal of pedophiles that is trying to rob the country? None of us have thought through the implications of this new world view It is all over the world.”

 

That is the problem. We have a world in which millions  of people have given up on believing things based on evidence and prefer to believe what is convenient to their world view. They have lost respect for the truth. Such people can be convinced by their leaders of any conceivable lie. Such people can be convinced to do unimaginable things. Such people are dangerous. And we have to live with them. And we don’t know how we can do that.

 

Is Impeachment a Good Idea?

 

The Democrats are so keen on impeaching Trump they are doing so with unseemly haste. Is that smart?  All of them seem to think so. I have yet to hear one opposed. Every Democrat in the House of Representatives voted for impeachment today.  But is impeachment a big mistake?

Even though I am a lone wolf on this issue, I think it is a big mistake even though I think he is clearly guilty as sin and deserves to be impeached. Impeachment is a political process where facts are not very important. That is great for Trump and his fans. It is not so good for the rest of us.

Prosecutors have a rule that they should not prosecute unless they have a reasonable likelihood of a successful prosecution. That is a good rule. It reserves a court for what it was designed for. It is not designed to send a message or make a point. An impeachment trial is sort of like that.

Before Trump’s first impeachment trial in which Trump was acquitted the Democrats said they wanted to demonstrate that Trump could not get away with all the nasty things he had done.  They wanted to teach him and future presidents a lesson. Well what lesson did Trump learn from the first impeachment trial?  He learned he could get away with obstructing justice because the Republicans would back him up no matter what he did or said. He was emboldened by the victory.  I remember the Maine Senator who was interviewed after the trial said she was sure Trump had learned a lesson and would be more careful in the future. That was hopelessly naïve.  He learned he could do a lot with impunity.

If Trump is likely to be acquitted again, as many say, and as I believe, what will happen?  He won’t be president anymore so it won’t matter for that purpose. But even worse it will embolden the Trumper out there that no matter how bad they act their political brethren will save them. We cannot forget that Trumpism is alive and well. Even after inciting a deadly riot against the sacred temple of American democracy and encouraging and unleashing an angry mob that vandalized the Capitol, terrorized the politicians, and nearly led to a successful insurrection, if the Senate acquits Trump then Trumpers will get the same message. They will know they can get away with anything. Then the next Trump, who is likely to be smarter than the first Trump, will be emboldened.  America could be in for serious trouble.

Everyone must remember impeachment has the form of a trial but really it is a political process. At the first impeachment trial only 1 Republican voted to find Trump guilty of only 1 of the charges. This time to reach the required 2/3rds  majority in the Senate at least 17 Republican Senators must vote to find him guilty. In the House only 10 agreed to charge Trump.  Why does anyone think 17 Republicans can be turned against him. Trumpism is alive. His devoted fans are still exactly that.  Republicans will have to be brave to vote guilty.  I have never seen much bravery in the Republican party.  I hope I am wrong but I am deeply pessimistic.

After Bill Clinton was acquitted at his impeachment trial, where voting was largely on partisan lines,  he was charged up after the trial and became more popular than ever.

I fear the same thing will happen if Trump is acquitted, which I believe is probable.  He and his supporters—i.e. the Trumpers–will  be turbo-charged. If he is found guilty it will make no difference. They believe he was elected and that he can do no wrong and that the evil Democrats are out to get him.

The thing that Trump likes most besides himself is attention.  Another impeachment trial will give him abundant publicity, when it would be to the advantaged of Democrats to have the attention given to Biden and his new team instead. The Democrats should do whatever they can to take attention away from Trump. He will still get attention, but let’s not amplify it. James Comey said “The greatest punishment for Trump would be to be left at the lawn at Mar-a-Lago  yelling at cars as they go by.

Don’t give Trump what he wants. Give him what he hates–i.e. to be ignored. The Democrats have a lot to lose and little to gain by impeaching Trump again.

 

Insurrection Day or Epiphany

 

January 6, 2021 was an astonishing day. It was a day of insurrection. It was a day when the things I have been blogging about and warning about almost happened. It was not surprising. Yet it was really surprising.

 

Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic referred to January 6, 2021 as insurrection day. Some call it epiphany. Both are pretty good names. There certainly was an insurrection. But was there an epiphany—what James Joyce in his great novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, called an  “a sudden spiritual manifestation?” I hope there was that but frankly I doubt it. America may be too far gone for spiritual enlightenment. How could anyone see Trump as a saviour? Could you?

Goldberg also said this about that astonishing event:

 

“This gathering was not merely an attempted coup but also a mass-delusion event, not something that can be explained adequately through the prism of politics. Its chaos was rooted in psychological and theological phenomena, intensified by eschatological anxiety. One man I interviewed this morning, a resident of Texas who said his name was Don Johnson (I did not trust this to be his name), told me that the country was coming apart, and that this dissolution presaged the End Times. “It’s all in the Bible,” he said. “Everything is predicted. Donald Trump is in the Bible. Get yourself ready.

The conflation of Trump and Jesus was a common theme at the rally. “Give it up if you believe in Jesus!” a man yelled near me. People cheered. “Give it up if you believe in Donald Trump!” Louder cheers.

 

Watching the events unfold on TV in real time, I noticed a number of signs from Trump supporters that conflated Trump and Jesus. One sign said just that: “Jesus and Trump.” What kind of a Christian would see anything Christian about Trump?

As I have been saying in my posts, speaking lies and untruth has consequences. The United States saw that today. America has a long way to go before delusions can be turned into a sudden spiritual manifestation. But that is precisely what the country needs.

 

How Much Truth Can you Stand?

 

Nietzsche did not always get it right, but sometimes he hit the mark dead on. He hit the mark when he said, “a man’s worth is determined by how much truth he can stand.” But sometimes the truth is just hard to bear. That’s why it’s worth so much.

What Nietzsche said about individuals is also true of countries–their worth too depends on how much truth they can stand and frankly, most of them can’t stand very much. The United States and Canada are pretty good examples.

After the storming of the Capitol, the so-called sacred hall of American democracy, Joe Biden had this to say in his calm reassuring tone of voice so pleasant after 4 years of Trump’s hysterics:

“Let me be absolutely clear, the scenes of chaos in the Capitol do not reflect the true character of America; do not represent who we are.”

Is he right? Violence for political ends is particularly American. Entitled white men demanding their rights, while denying those of so many others is exactly who they are. People harbouring crazy beliefs without evidence is what Americans do best. Did you see the Qanon Shaman in the video of the Capitol under siege dressed in animal skins, a fur hat with horns, spear, face painted in the colours of the American flag, shirtless chest covered with hostile looking tattoos, chanting “USA’ over and over again with his fellow rabble-rousers? He looked pretty American. Where else could he be from?

 

A host of politicians and pundits after the rampage repeated “We are better than this,” or “This is not who we are.” I beg to differ. This is exactly who they are.

The New York Times posted an amazing video that did tell the truth. It said no one should be surprised at what happened. The speaker on the video pointed out the pictures in the rotunda behind the occupiers. They showed American soldiers (or at least their British ancestors) forcing native American women and children to submit to their dominance. The speaker on the video said,

“We have always been like this. America is a nation built on stolen land by stolen people. And if the rampage feels historic it’s because violence is in our national DNA. A mob razed a whole block in Philadelphia because they didn’t like the election results.”

 

America is a country where as soon as slaves were freed the rules of elections were changed to ensure that their voting would never disturb the real American choices made by their white superiors. It is a country where people don’t really believe in democracy at all, but they love to brag about it. They don’t believe in democracy because they only want the votes their own side to count. Where districts are twisted into impossible shapes so that the votes of opponents don’t count so much.

As the Times video said,

“And for the purest expression of the American way, just look at the man responsible for Wednesday’s violence–the man who leads by Twitter who knows that if you have enough money they’ll let you do anything. He told us who he was and we picked him, because this is exactly who we are. America the land of the snake oil salesman.”

 

You think snake oil is too harsh? Does that not describe the president who said he would lead the group of insurgents into the Capitol and then returned instead to the comfort of the White House to watch the proceedings on his big screen television?

To say, as Biden did, that the scene of chaos at the Capitol does not describe them is absolutely false. It is an uncomfortable truth, but as the Times video said, his “platitudes spin a fantasy as absurd as Qanon.” It is painful to admit but America prefers fantasies to hard truths. As the video pointed out,

“We can only realize our strengths if we stop whitewashing our sins. We are a nation forged in racist violence. A society that values wealth over wisdom. A country where personal ambitions mean more than morality. Masked with false piety where citizens wreak havoc with the very institutions that enable them.”

 

Now there is a new president. Many look to him as their saviour. I love Joe Biden. He’s dull, he’s boring, and I hope he won’t be a strong leader. That’s my kind of leader. But unlike Nietzsche, Biden got it wrong. He got it all wrong when he said, “this is not America.”

I am not saying this everything they are. The are fine people on both sides. Americans are also people who work together to get things done, giving a helping hand to a fallen friend, or even in some cases, a fallen foe. But these other Americans seem to have been silent for so long. Where were they when they elected a mean-spirited, cruel, and relentless bigot?

Not that Canadians are very different let me hasten to add. We have built this country by stealing land from the inhabitants contrary to promises we have not fulfilled. Often Canadians do this without resorting to war. We often have subtler and more corrupt ways of doing the same thing. We have sent  Indigenous children to schools where they were brutally assaulted in the name of “civilization” and “religion.” We are governed by unjustified beliefs as much as our neighbours to our south. Our claims to piety ring hollow. Just as it does for the Americans.

The video claims that everything we saw on January 6, as ugly as it was, was exactly who they are— because it’s the product of what they have always been. Until Americans and Canadian face that truth, we’ll never change it.

 

A president spirals out of control

 

On January 4, 2021, the day before a crucial run-off vote to determine which party would control the Senate for at least the next 2 years, Donald Trump appeared at a rally in Georgia ostensibly to assist two candidates for the U.S. Senate, but the rally was marked by lying that even by Trump standards wildly overshot his own standards. He did this because on January 6, 2021 the joint houses of the American Congress were to meet to approve or reject the votes by the Electoral College, which gave Biden the victory. Trump’s minion, Mike Pence would have the job of “presiding” over the joint meeting of both Houses, but the job is ordinarily ceremonial. At this rally Trump said he would like Pence “a lot less” if he did not do what Trump wanted. Somehow he thought Pence could manipulate things so that the votes of the Electoral College could be overturned in his favour.

Trump may also be desperate to avoid becoming the subject of numerous House of Representatives or Department of Justice investigations that are being contemplated.

These two forces seem to have driven Trump completely out of control. Here is what Daniel Dale, CNN’s Trump fact-checker who probably rarely sleeps, had to say about Trump’s speech the day before that meeting after Don Lemon asked him what stood out about that speech:

“What stood out was that the speech was like from an alternate universe. The president is not even remotely connected to reality. Either he’s lying, his brain has been completely captured by internet weirdos, or both. And frankly as a fact-checker I’m bored. Like have you ever sat at a family gathering or at a bar or on a date that had someone just talk your ear off with complete nonsense like for an hour and you feel like you can’t escape? That’s all of us right now because that’s the president right now. He said over and over that he had won the election by a landslide. He lost the election. He said over and over that the other side engaged in mass cheating, stealing, forging, ballot dumping, none of which happened. He stood there and read, this is not ad-libbed, this is reading from a teleprompter, imaginary statistics about voting in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. It’s all wrong. It’s all debunked by fact-checkers. It’s all dismissed by the courts. On and on. It hardly feels worth it to get into the details of this, though it’s actually my job and I get paid for it. I do think it’s worth getting into some of the false claims he made about the Democratic Georgia candidates. Of course we have an election tomorrow. For example, he claimed that Raphael Warnock talked about ‘opening up the jails.’ If you go back and watch that full clip in context when Warnock last year talked about releasing prisoners who were arrested for marijuana offences in particular, not just letting all criminals out. Jon Ossoff is part of the crusade to defund the police. John Ossoff is on record for months over and over saying he opposes defunding the police, he wants police reform. This was just a wildly dishonest speech. One of the worst honestly I have ever heard from the president.”

 

Of course those lies had consequences. Trump was not able to fire up enough Georgian voters to get his candidates elected. He may though have fired up the Democrats enough to come out in droves to vote against them. As well he may have been effective in getting his supporters to show up on January 6 for a rally in front of the White House from where he would “lead” them to the Capitol. He turned out he led them from the rear, but he they were fired up enough to wreak havoc. The Capitol was invaded by his followers. Lies have consequences. Sometimes those consequences are serious.

More Brave Defenders of the Truth

Before the riot in the Capitol, and after Brad Raffensperger the Republican Secretary of State for Georgia stood up to Trump, another Republican also did himself proud. This was Gabriel Sterling the Georgia Voting System Implementation Manager. One day after Trump unsuccessfully failed to bully Raffensperger to do his illegal bidding, based on a basket of lies, Gabriel Sterling patiently and methodically went through Trump’s lies line by line, demolishing each Trump claim about voter fraud and voting irregularities. Sterling is another Republican official who stood up for the truth.

Sterling also made it clear that he believed the Trump team was intentionally trying to mislead the Georgia State Senate and the public. They had all the information to know that their claims were false but continued to make them in order to try to keep Trump in office. Clearly the Trump team, with their bosses agreement, was trying to undermine public faith in the electoral system. That is often the first step toward fascism.

CNN asked their fact checker Daniel Dale to review the famous telephone call Trump and his chief of staff and legal team made to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Here is what Dale said about that call and others:

“Nothing the president of the United States is saying about the election is true. I’ve said over and over again on CNN that the president is a serial liar, but he usually sprinkles in some truth amid the lies. Since election night it has been all nonsense. It true about Georgia, it true about Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. He’s spouting conspiracy theories either deliberately or because his brain has been captured by weird people on the internet, I don’t know. The media likes to describe this as a debate or a feud. There is no 2 sides here. One side we has facts and other side we have lies.”

The key issue of course is what will the Republican Party, and even more importantly the American people, do about Trump’s slide to untruth and fascism? Steve Schmidt a former Republican and advisor to Republican John McCain has described the modern Republican Party as “an American autocratic movement with Fascistic markers.” Stuart Stevens another Republican has said this about his own party:

“The bottom line is that the @GOP has become a threat to democracy. I spent decades helping elect members of the party and it’s painful to admit. But it’s a clear and present danger and should be treated as such.”

Finally and most importantly what about the American public. 70 million or more Americans voted for Trump in 2020. Are they prepared to put up with  this tsunami of lies? There is significant evidence that they will. Most of us don’t want to believe it. But we have to beware of the truth of this statement made by John Cassidy: “This is primarily Trump’s work, but it’s not just Trump’s work. Not by a long shot.

Even if Trump leaves the Oval office, this is far from over.

A Call to Arms: Inciting Violence

 

I prepared this post last night (January 5, 2021) in anticipation of the Joint meeting of the 2 houses of the US Congress and Trump’s comments I heard on the television):

 

Trump appeared at a rally in Georgia on January 4, 2021 ostensibly to support 2 Republican candidates for the US Senate, but, of course, he could not hold back on efforts to promote his own special cause of overcoming his defeat in the election in November. In fact Trump went so far it seemed like he was inciting his supporters to get violent to support him. At least it certainly could be characterized that way.

Here is what Amy Davidson Sorokin said in an article in the New Yorker,

“Trump is not fighting for his legacy but to unconstitutionally and criminally hold on to a position that he has already lost. In typical Trump style, he is doing so, in part, by calling his opponents the real crooks: “The Democrats are trying to steal the White House—you cannot let them!” he said in Dalton.

But what does that injunction mean for Trump supporters who are not elected officials or judges? What plate does Trump expect them to step up to? He wanted them to vote for Perdue and Loeffler, but that wouldn’t be enough. In the course of the rally, he warned that if “we don’t do something fast,” there will never be another free election and the United States will succumb to “communism.” “If you don’t fight to save your country with everything you have, you’re not gonna have a country left,” he said. He appeared to be past caring whether anyone listening heard that as a call to violence. The system is corrupt, he said, it is rigged, his supporters have a mission. “We have to go all the way, and that’s what’s happening,” Trump said. “You watch what happens over the next couple of weeks, you watch what’s going to come out, watch what’s going to be revealed.” The crowd cheered, and did so again a moment later when he said, “They’re not taking this White House; we’re going to fight like hell.What else did they need to hear?”

 

To people who love their country and hate communism with passion, this is a call to save the country from people who are trying to steal it. Would such people, if properly coached not be willing to join a war to defend it? Is this not a call to war?

A Bully against a Brave Defender of Truth

 

By now everyone has likely heard about the hour long phone call between Donald Trump, his chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a bunch of his lawyers, and Brad Ratffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state together with his General Counsel.   I listened to most of the telephone call and it really did sound as Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Justice Department,  described it commented on Twitter as reported by John Cassidy in the New Yorker,

“The entire call is astonishing, the bullying, the threats, the insults, the credulous embrace of discredited conspiracy theories. Like a crime boss, Trump occasionally says that all he wants is the truth. But he doesn’t—he wants the win.”

Trump wanted Raffensperger to kick the election his way. Simple. Find the votes—somewhere. So Trump leaned on Raffensperger.

President Trump rambled on for many minutes, as he tends to do, urging Raffensperger the Republican Secretary of State, whose job it was to certify the election results in Georgia, a state that Trump narrowly lost by to find the 11,780 votes he needed to overturn Biden who beat him by a measly 11,779 votes. Trump and his allies were trying to get the Secretary of State to override the will of the voters of Georgia in his favour based on dubious discredited claims of various irregularities.

As Cassidy reported,

“Raffensperger and his general counsel, who was also on the call, calmly pointed out that his office had investigated all of these claims and found them to be false. (Georgia’s state supreme court and a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush rejected the Trump campaign’s claims as well.)”

Raffefsperger quietly  and repeatedly told the president he was not telling the truth and the truth would come out. The “facts” Trump was relying on where not true. But Trump was not deterred by the truth coming out. He never is. It doesn’t even phase him. Instead he reverted to bullying. Again a typical Trump response.

Trump responded like a true wanna-be despot: Trump wasn’t to be put off. “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need eleven thousand votes,” he repeated. “Fellas, I need eleven thousand votes. Give me a break.” Find me the votes.it didn’t matter where. Raffensperger could admit he made a mistake or whatever. It didn’t matter how he explained it. What mattered was that he found 11,800 votes. The crime boss was pleading. But, he did not stop there. He strongly suggested to the Secretary of State that the people of Georgia would be angry with him and the act of refusing to do what Trump asked for was illegal and he and his General Counsel could get in trouble for that. Nothing like a little muscle when asking nicely doesn’t work.

Yet bravely, Republican Brad Raffensperger stood up to the President of the United States to uphold the truth. Americans should be proud, but there are still a lot of people who support Trump in his efforts to defeat the will of the majority of the people of Georgia. That is the real issue here.

To say that Trump is a wanna-be autocrat is not interesting any more. It is too well known. What is scary is that so many Republicans agree with this. So far more than 100 Congressmen and 11 Senators have said they will support Trump in his plan to overturn the election on January 6, 2020 when the two houses of the American Congress will be asked to ratify the electoral college vote. Normally that is a mere formality. Not this time. Vice-president Mike Pence will be presiding. Ominously this is what Pence has already said, as reported by John Cassidy:

“Soon after this news emerged, Vice-President Mike Pence, a politician who gives invertebrates a bad name, issued a statement saying that he “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”

It could be very interesting to see how far down the slope to fascism the Republican Party will go on January 6, 2020. Keep watch. We should all do that. Who said the price of liberty is eternal vigilance?

Clean Air

 

When we were in Paris a couple of years ago we noticed that there were places in the city where the government had provided electrical sites to charge their electric cars. Manitoba does this as well but to a very limited extent. In discussions with an American he asked me, “why should the government pay for that? ”Why should I have to pay for someone else to charge his car?” I would say in response that we should all pay for that because we all want a clean environment. Clean air is a public good and we should all pay for it. Besides, the government spends billions (many billions) subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Surely it can spend a little to subsidize cars that don’t pollute the air and don’t increase our greenhouse gas emissions. Though I recognize that electric cars are not all good either. Life is rarely that simple. We all have to realize that there are many public goods that are important to a good life on this planet. We must all pay for those. The French have learned this. Canadians and Americans not so much.

One good thing about the Covid-19 pandemic is that we are starting to appreciate (not nearly enough of course) that the common good is important. Often more important than private goods, no matter what those who hoard the private goods tell us. It’s time to start thinking for ourselves.

Bombshell

 

 

This was a film released in 2019. It stars 3 outstanding female actresses in 3 outstanding roles. In this film the men are the sidebars. The women are the film. Charlize Theron plays Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil. The women were all women television personalities at Fox News involved in the claims of sexual harassment against the CEO of Fox Roger Ailes. I actually don’t know the true story of the events so can’t complain about the truth or accuracy of the film’s version of events. That is good, because then I am free to say, the story is true. It is true in the same sense that Macbeth is true. That is what counts.

I was particularly engrossed by the role of Kayla Pospisil. She wanted to be a star on Fox like Megyn and Gretchen She is a true child of Fox. For her and her family is Fox is their religion.  Kayla, played by Margot Robbie,  boldly said, “I don’t want to be on TV, I want to be on Fox. My family, everyday, especially holidays is Fox News. Fox News is how we go to Church.” This nicely captured the theological devotion to Fox. That is what Fox is all about.

Trying to get a spot on Fox News, preferably a show like Kelly or Carlson you see how she would do anything to get on the show no matter how degrading and she gets the opportunity to do exactly that. She gets solid advice from her friend a secret lesbian, and horrors, someone who doesn’t automatically hate liberals. Fox is not the place for her to be. But the friend gives her this advice:

“You have to adopt the attitude of an Irish street cop. The world is a bad place. People are lazy morons. Minorities are criminals. Sex is sick, but interesting. Ask yourself what will scare my grand mother, or piss off my grand father, and that’s a Fox story. Frighten. Titillate. Frighten. Titillate. Frighten. Titillate. When you start a story you need to start with a clear villain: Liberal judge, Vermont, Hollywood. Conservatives want to conserve. You are the last defence against Jesus hating, trans loving, Clinton controlled Armageddon.”

That is Fox News! Particularly the commentators like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.  Again from my experience, even though I admit I have not watched Fox often, except for excerpts on Comedy News,  that must be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This felt true. Of course, that is a poor way to judge truth.

The men on the show are largely rogues. Again this just has to be true. As is said of Bill O’Reilly: “He cannot scale his anger. He is a perpetual anger machine. That’s why the crazies love him.” When he appears on television, and I think this was a “real” clip he said,

“In this country every famous or wealthy man is a target. You’re a target. I’m a target. Any time someone could come out and sue us, attack us, or get the press, and that’s a deplorable situation.”

That’s the whimpering cry of rich and powerful men. We should feel sorry for them. They are the ones that are oppressed.

The women who want a job must pass the Roger Ailes test. They must give a spin in a circle in front of this powerful  sleazy old man to demonstrate they have the body for the job. This certainly must be true. Ailes tells Pospisil:

“This is the most competitive industry on earth. I could pluck you out of a line and move you to the front. But you have to give me one thing. Do you know what it is? (He pauses for a long time) Loyalty (like his hero Trump and with just as much grace.) You have to prove you are loyal. And you must find a way to prove it. That’s about it and we’ll talk again”.

The message is clear enough. Pospisil knows what she must do. Will she do it? If she does it or not she will pay a price either way. A big price.

The movie is about women standing up (or not) to powerful men. No let me rephrase that. This is the story about people standing up to powerful people. People who can oppress you and make you pay a big price. You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. It takes great courage to stand up and those who do, rarely “win”. Even when they “win” they lose. That makes it a universal story. That’s why it’s a true story. No matter what the facts.

I don’t want to give away the truth of the film, but I want to point out 2 facts with which the film closes.

Fox paid $50 million dollars to 2 women who alleged sexual harassment which its 2 male stars denied. And it also paid $65 million to the two male stars it said it had “just cause” to fire The two women who risked their careers to make the claim and were among the first to bring down 2 powerful public male television news stars, but they were not the last. And they were paid less than the male alleged harasser. What kind of “victory” is that? Reminds me of the fact that after the Civil War the United States paid reparations after the slaves were freed because of centuries of enslavement. The reparations were paid to southern plantation owners who lost their property!

At least one of the women had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Darn I hate those and the lawyers who get away with demanding them.

This was an excellent film with a lot of truth. Ugly truth.