What’s the Difference Between Russian Bots on Social Media and Fox News?

Almost no average Americans like the idea of Russian bots infiltrating our social media. There is overwhelming bilateral agreement on that – and for good reasons. 

First and foremost there is the idea that foreigners might not be loyal to the United States and their messages might be tainted and favor another nation-state. That’s why you have to be born here to be president. Granted that many foreigners respect the people and institutions of the US and I am sure there are many US citizens that don’t. Still there is something to be said for investigating the motives and influences of foreign contributors to the media stream. We can’t let ISIS run ads on our media. We all get that. So there should be standards for disseminating information. The new congress has work to do. 

There will be those who say freedom of speech is something that cannot be challenged in any way, under any circumstances. I remind them you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater if there is no fire. Why is that? Because it can hurt people! When freedom of speech can hurt the people or institutions of the US, it can and should be restricted, censored or edited – so it does no harm to the actual people that live here.

This may seem strange – but caring about outcomes for ordinary Americans was built into the constitution from its very first sentence! There is an enabling clause in the Declaration of Independence. ( bolded below) Let’s look it over. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I guess they could have left out all those bolded words and it would just say “we the people … do establish this Constitution”. – But the founding fathers told us why they were doing this. And the whys are the largest part of their enabling clause. Let’s not lose sight of the six reasons they set forth to substantiate the creation of the USA. 

  1. in Order to form a more perfect Union – There was a loose union in 18th century America – and the founding fathers wanted to define that union more precisely. 
  2. Establish Justice – They knew justice needed to be defined and established. This was true then and it is true now. This also speaks to no man is above the law
  3. Insure Domestic Tranquility – And here we get to those media bots and Trump’s divisive messages. There is no way Trump cares about domestic tranquility. He had even said he would not surrender if he lost to Hillary. We’ve heard from him there would be a revolt from his base if he was impeached. Trump’s attitude is inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution and many see that attitude as a disqualify-er for the job of president. But I also see this as a reason to question the right of Fox News – which is not owned by an American – to hinder domestic tranquility with dis-information – just the way most think of the Russian bots. 
  4. Provide for the common defense – I don’t see how what Trump is doing with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea as being helpful to our defense. I say leave this to the generals and the experts. Winning a popularity contest – which is what the 2016 election was – does not  qualify anyone as a military expert. 
  5. Promote the General Welfare – If there is one thing Trump has convinced people he has done right it is promoting welfare. My position is that he has allowed big companies to grab as much as they can through lower taxes and less regulation, and there will be a clean-up cost down the road. I see the phrase “general welfare” as more inclusive than favoring the rich or connected. General welfare was the 18th century way of saying “the 99%”. – Trump’s policies overly favor “the 1%”. People are beginning to catch on to that now – two years into his presidency, 
  6. Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity – I’d like shine a light on that Posterity word. Caring about the next generation is built into the constitution. How thoughtful of the founders. And how thoughtless and unconstitutional it is to ignore the dangers we are leaving to our children. That word “posterity” in our constitution should inform our climate science policy. The founders had that vision – why have we lost it? Not smart. Not caring. Selfish. But very Trumpian. 

Fox News was created by Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch in October of 1996. Fox News quickly grew to become a dominant subscription news network in the US. As of February 2015, approximately 95,000,000 US households (80% of them)  received Fox News. Murdoch is the current executive chairman of Fox News.

We are currently looking into ways make sure Russian bots don’t spread dis-information over the public airways and on social media. Why then do we allow a foreign-born person – Rupert Murdoch – to spread non-factual information over our airways to our American citizens? That is not consistent thinking. 

I remember when news used to be just news. But now there is something called spin. On the night before Charlottesville I recall Janine Pierrot rallying her listeners to go to Virginia and stand up to defend democracy. She had fire in her voice. The haters that went to Charlottesville felt they were called on a mission. Some said it was their duty to be there.  And Trump said ” I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and my supporters would not leave me.” These are examples of dog whistling for haters to act out. This is shouting fire in a crowded theater. There must be standards. 

Reporters just go to the places where news happens – and with video and audio media they re-port ( literally re-carry) what they see and hear. However, if the news presented is not truthful or it’s spun to distort the truth, then how is that in keeping with what our founders wanted when they created the 6 reasons to form this beautiful country? 

Media is a big deal these days. It’s certainly bigger than it was in 1776 or even 1976. If we are trying to make sure our media are free of Russian bots, it’s because of the divisiveness they cause – not just because they are Russian or bots. And so, if Fox News is not reporting truth and their agenda is dividing or polarizing the country – which seems to be the case – why do they get the blessings of the FCC? There has to be standards for media. We’ve got  plenty of examples of how media can affect our every day lives. Plenty. 

fox-nowThere could be standards set for media before they can call a produced show “news”. There is precedent for that. Many supplements can’t be called vitamins and are sold with this disclaimer. This product is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. That’s there to protect the public from false expectations. It’s also consistent with the spirit of the Constitution.

So I can imagine a TV show – which is also a product or something that is produced – might also need a disclaimer. We don’t want people to have false expectations about the information they are about to receive. That’s also not how the founders wanted it. Media regulation should be part of the Green New Deal. Get on it. Thank You. 

……..

Joseph Aronesty is an e-commerce pioneer, author, songwriter, etymologist and father to five sons. He went to Penn on scholarship and was in a class with Donald Trump in 1967.  He has been writing about Trump since he entered the race.

Keep reading. Stay vocal.

Relevant prior posts:

Trump is One of Many Corrupt Rulers Who Launder Money Internationally

2020 Presidential Hopefuls Should Unite Into a Team: Team America

What If Trump and the Entire Executive Branch Has Been Suborned?

And if all else fails, we can use technology to replace politicians. 

The Way Back to Political Sanity Could Also Involve Facebook, Google, CNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Donald Trump Is Responsible for the Pittsburgh Killings. What We Must Do.

When Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, I had listened the night before to Jamine Pirro’s hate rant on her Fox News show. What she delivered was effectively a call to arms directed at the haters among Fox’s diverse audience. And the next day when the Fox haters assembled in Charlottesville we all realized there was a good chance that some people might die that day. Heather Heyer was one of three Americans to die that day as a direct consequence of the propaganda put out by Donald Trump and Fox News. One neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd and two National Guard pilots were killed in a helicopter crash. They were trying to keep people safe. 

pittsburgIt’s important to know that NAZI and NATIONALIST share the same root: NATAL – having to do with birth. A simple enough word on its face. However, the original German Nazis were sold on that same meme that Donald Trump is peddling now: being born “here” not only makes you better than foreigners, it instructs you that foreigners are dangerous and may be considered like vermin to be disposed of.  

And now I ask you this – and I am sorry to use the metaphor, but I find it appropriate. How many Jews did Hitler kill? This is a trick question, but the right answer is actually zero. Hitler did not personally kill any Jews that we know of. However what Adolf Hitler did was make German Nationalists hate Jewish people with propaganda that stereotyped Jews as outsiders, invaders and the source of their financial problems – all the same things that Donald Trump says about “immigrants”, “caravans” and the “brown-skinned invaders”. That transferred hate was enough to allow enough of the German Nationalist party members to justify killing six million Jews and many other European minorities as well. – Many felt good or right about doing it. Hitler effectively killed Jews with his words. He was quite the rally speaker. I’m sure  you have seen excerpts. Robert Bowers felt he was doing his duty killing as many Jews as possible – just like the Nazis. 

Adolf Hitler killed 6 million Jews. It’s a long established meme – uncontested by all bona fide historians. So why don’t we dare say Donald Trump killed Heather Heyer and eleven totally innocent, elderly Jewish people in Pittsburgh? 

But we don’t. And by not calling the president out and holding him and Fox responsible for these murders, we are giving the minority haters both the cover and the time to regroup and re-strategize.  And it’s very dangerous. If we don’t stand up now, the Pittsburgh killings may well be the canary in the coal mine of a new wave of American violence directed against many minorities – and not just Jewish people. Native Americans, Mexicans, blacks and browns, the elderly and sick – are all on the hate radar screens of White Nationalists, which is what most so-called Nationalists are today.

​Trump will continue to spread hate as long as he is in power. Why must he do this? Why won’t he evolve? ​It could just be that he wants to keep the money he has stolen over the years, both as a businessman and during his presidency. ​Are his hateful words simply motivated to obstruct justice​ for the crimes he and his family have ​perhaps ​committed to win the presidency​?​

One thing for sure, nothing about what Trump is doing and saying is about any commitment to some deeply held conviction. Trump does not hate Jews. Trump needs the votes of the Jew haters to stay in power and keep his money. If people die for this, so be it.  And any Jew who votes for Trump is voting for Jew haters to be empowered. The same can be said of blacks, Mexicans, immigrants, the sick and even women. Trump needs the votes of all those that hate these minority groups and the votes of the uber-greedy. He’s working hard on getting those votes this week. It will include cheating at the  polls. 

The GOP clings to Donald Trump because he does their dirtiest work for them. He lies for them. They are getting their tax breaks for billionaires and judicial appointees for now – and whatever kickbacks they can arrange for those perks.  When they are done with Trump, which may be soon after the election, they will cast him out stating they were fooled by Trump and were not complicit. That will be all lies, but I wonder if Trump knows that it’s coming. Trump will have his et tu Brute moment as soon as he is deemed to be no longer valuable to the GOP and their billionaire donors. 

All the above embodies how important the vote is next Tuesday. They now say the Blue Wave should carry the House. Count on Trump’s GOP to try and fix that.  Those who want the country to turn in a better direction should please turn out in records numbers on 11/6. Vote as if they are coming for you. This election should not  even be close. Remember: Donald Trump always tries to cheat to win. Winning is more important to him than playing by any rules. Any close races he will find a way to win. 

What I really don’t get is why any GOP senator up for re-election holds his or hers seat next Tuesday. A vote for any GOP candidate at any level – is a vote for more of what we have witnessed this week. And the only one who really benefits from all this is the billionaire class and Putin, who is laughing at us this week in the Kremlin. He even said, “America is no longer a super power”. 

The Presidential Oath: I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

There is one more thing we have to start holding Trump responsible for – lying. People don’t know that the presidential oath is part of the constitution.  (Article II, Section One, Clause 8.) By not being honest and reliable with one’s words and inciting hate with words like “enemies of the people” and “invaders”, by dividing the nation into two armed camps – he is not doing his best to defend America. He may be doing his best to destroy it as we know it.  And even if he says this is his best, its no longer good enough for people who love this country.

I am sure it will never be illegal to lie in general. But one who has taken an oath of office should not be allowed to lie over and over again. We need to fix that. There’s a lot we have to fix, but if we allow our representatives to lie, we will always have criminals running our government. It just is not good enough any more.

Donald Trump should not be good enough for a person who believe in a righteous god as well. So this weekend, I am asking clergymen in all religions to find their own way of asking their congregations to pay their respects for the people murdered in Pittsburgh – and vote with good conscious for those who represent the goodness in all our Bibles. We all know the Golden Rule. It does not say immigrants are invaders,  Mexicans are rapists, or Africans are from sh*thole countries. 

Vote as if your life depends on it. 

Thank You.

 

 

 

Why You Can’t Preach Jesus on Sunday and Speak Well of Trump on Monday

One can no longer respect institutions that preach the teachings of Jesus Christ on Sunday, and speak well of Donald Trump on Monday. We are only facing a constitutional crisis in the USA because we are failing to address the moral crisis of remaining silent about a president who lacks decent character by any standard of measurement.

My Letter to Pastors, Preachers, Rabbis and Teachers in The United States

When Roy Moore was running to represent Alabama in the senate, I sent an email to all the Baptist pastors in Alabama, and asked them to make the sermon of their lives. I don’t know how many pastors took my advice or even read my email. But three wrote back, and I felt I did what I had to do. Roy Moore, a known child molester, did not become a US senator. And for that, we are all thankful to Alabamans. 

I am calling on pastors to create a well thought-out and coordinated Sunday Sermon to address how to best preserve our American democracy and the rule of law.  Many Americans believe we have a president who is trying to obstruct or skirt justice for acts he committed as part of an unholy life, motivated by ego, greed and a complete lack of respect for others.

I am aware that many Evangelist pastors supported Donald Trump and many probably (not all) still do.  Now that we all have had 18 months to see how he performs and who he really is, if you still actively or passively support Trump you should reconsider. You are making a big mistake for yourself, your community and the country. This short letter will explain why.

First, think on the kids of Parkland, Florida. I wondered why these 16-year old students  have such strident idealism and also the support of so many American right now.  I thought back to when I was 16  – and it hit me.

There are two special times in a person’s life when one can possibly afford the luxury of being idealistic. The first of those times is when you are a teenager in the home of a well-to-do loving parent. Because the roof over your head and meals are paid for by your parents, you have the time to ponder what seems right to you in life and stand up for that with your heart, soul and at least your spoken words.

But what happened to the idealism of the hippie generation of the 1960’s? They graduated college and went out into the world to make a buck. And after a few years of that struggle ( which was much less of a struggle back then than it is today ) the hippie youthful idealism was gone. All but vanished. And soon, an “it’s all about me” generation was in power. And by the 1980’s we even heard “greed was good.”

In Paul Simon’s song, El Condor Pasa, the lyrics say “A man gets tied up to the ground, he gives the world its saddest sound.” I did not understand the meaning of those lyrics as a young man, but I do now. It’s actually a Peruvian folk song and it means while men have to struggle to get by or make ends for a family, it’s easy to lose their idealistic dreams. The loss of their youthful idealism is the world’s saddest sound

A man’s life re-opens to idealism after a proper retirement. After we have brought up our families, paid our mortgages and bills more or less, and are covered for life, we can afford to get back in touch with our lost youthful idealism.  Between the ages of 21 and 65, its hardest to remain idealistic. It’s why I think older retired folks make better politicians than people with families to nurture.

Which brings me to why you must make the sermon of your life again very soon, but this time your congregation needs to hear about what Jesus would have said about Donald Trump and what defines justice today. Because if you fail to rally teenagers to Jesus’s point of view, you lose them for life. And most teenagers can see through Donald Trump, even though many of their parents can’t.  Anyone can certainly can see Trump does not possess the qualities of a holy or even a good man according to the teachings of Jesus. 

Let me go over some of Jesus’s teaching, to highlight just how far Trump is from being a man worthy of respect. 

  • For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Trump never served anyone in his life.)
  • But I say to you, Love your enemies … ( Trump is so off-base here, he even asks that we hate some of our neighbors.) 
  • Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.
  • For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? ( I think this is the most fitting for Mr. Trump, since it speaks to profit and greed. Trump has repeatedly shown he is willing to step on anyone for profit. )

Preachers. Teachers. Pastors. I don’t have to tell you how never-Trump Jesus was. Before you advocate for Trump again, or fail to use your pulpit to advocate against Trump, who now clearly represents a sort of anti-Christ incarnate, think on your teenagers! You are losing them right now, in the most idealistic part of their lives.

Today’s teenagers will grow to become adults, as we all do. But Trump-era teenagers will have no respect for institutions that preach the teachings of Jesus Christ on Sunday, and speak well of Donald Trump on Monday. 

Our idealistic teenagers just can’t square that circle in their minds. And now that I am semi-retired, neither can I. 

Dear preachers and teachers,

trump-christ2Please share this memo along with your own thoughts on this matter with your community and fellow religious leaders. We are only facing a constitutional crisis in the USA because we are failing to address the moral crisis of remaining silent about a president who lacks decent character by any standard of measurement.

This is particularly noticeable in Congress. Your representatives do not get to tell you what is right. They represent you. You have to know what is right. And you have to tell them to represent your ideas, not the other way around. But first, one has to formulate those ideas and that takes some introspection. Remember, most politicians are self-serving opportunists who are not in the least idealistic. Idealism is supposed to be the realm of religion. Lose idealism, and you can forget respect for your religious teachings going forward.

Thank You for your considerations. 

I am open you your thoughts at: josepharonesty@gmail.com

 

 

 

This November We Must Vote Out All Who Will Not Legislate For the Common Good

A good barometer of the viability of a society is its system of values. When values erode, the society either falls apart or is overtaken. This is exactly what happened in Rome. It’s not that “it can happen here”. It is happening here, right now.

We like the idea of limiting the firepower of the lunatic in North Korea, but we are giving lunatics in our homeland access to killing machines. This makes no sense.

#1 There’s plenty we can do to make our country safer without hurting hunters’ rights.  Automatic weapons are not, and should not be used to hunt animals. What kind of hunting sport is that? And yet we allow automatic weapons to get into the hands of people who kill people for sport. This is crazy America! A recent certified national poll shows that 70% of Americans favor an assault weapons ban.  Representatives who will not publicly state they are in favor of an assault weapons ban, must be voted out. Rubio – Trump – that means you – and plenty of others.

It’s now clear that there is a group of politicians who will even stoop to cheating at the polls with foreign bots posing as Americans. Our president will do nothing to change this. It is how and why he got there and he is compromised by his life of crime. So our numbers must be overwhelming this November.

Gun violence is also very expensive. The costs are 230 billion dollars a year – over $700,000,000 per day!   And it is surprising how few Americans would be negatively affected by an assault weapons ban. Besides Smith and Wesson there are about six other companies that make assault weapons. And then there is a small group of gun collectors who would have to surrender or sell their assault weapons to the police or armed forces. Weight that against $700 million a day and the loss of life and this is a no brainer.  

These businesses can not be valued more than the lives of our kids and citizens. We must now legislate for the common good and vote out all who stand in our way. A good barometer of the viability of a society is its system of values. When its values erode, the society either falls apart or is overtaken. This is exactly what happened in Rome. It’s not that “it can happen here”, it is happening here … right now.

POSSESSION of automatic weapons, NOT the PURCHASE of them, is what needs to be regulated or licensed, like we do for automobiles. Automobiles can be weapons, but guns are weapons and an assault rifle’s sole purpose is to kill mass numbers of people. Why does any civilian really need an automatic weapon? They don’t! 

Even if we had Minority Report pre-crime detection bots and took the Parkland shooter out ahead of the crime, it would not change the fact the we have a systemic disease here in the USA. And like a cancer, it’s going to grow and kill the host body if we don’t start the healing now. The medicine is voting out greedy politicians who won’t legislate what their constituents want. And 70% of Americans want an assault weapons ban. 

And gun maker’s profit protection is just one place our national body has disease. We also see its symptoms in the way our reps undermine healthcare for our citizens in exchange for kickbacks from insurance companies. GOP healthcare, if ever fully implemented, would kill far more people than 911. 

We hear its symptoms reflected in the words of our heartless president who offered lukewarm support for Puerto Ricans with memes like “you are messing with our budget” or “there are a lot of business-people who support the Jones Act”. I hear it is gangsta rap, where the lyrics often refer to being rich as being as the be all end all goal in life. I see it in the way people adore big stars, and then ignore the stars in their own communities. 

The underlying disease is all one: greed. This cancer, is now metastatic. It’s everywhere. Cutting out one infected organ will not cure us.

GREED starts with GR because, like many words that start with GR, it refers to GROWTH.(GARDEN, GRASS, GREAT, GRAND, etc.) Within greedy souls, GREED is a GROWTH that is out of control  – which is exactly what a cancer is. 

And yes, greed will always exist. It’s been witnessed and documented for over 5000 years.  Smart societies put checks and balances into law so that greed does not overrun their governments.  It’s popular to say “get the money out of politics”, but Citizen’s United gives money a larger voice than the actual citizens of our country.  Citizen’s United gives greed a platform to operate and grow here.  That’s neither right nor democratic. Citizen’s United must also go.

And we can do all this in November because it’s easy to spot the greedy politicians now. They are the same one’s who won’t publicly announce they are in favor of an assault weapons ban. They side with the NRA for personal greed, and they do the same on all issues. It’s who they are – and they can’t fool us now. 

It’s a strange irony that the word AMERICA contains two word-parts, AMORE and RICH.  America literally means “loves riches”: Ame-rica. Maybe it’s a self-perpetuating meme. Pardon my linguistic digression, but before Trump became POTUS this was my focus. 

So, I am not that interested in this single-cell Las Vegas or Parkland sicko. We should strive to cure our sickness the same way we fight a systemic cancer. It starts with diagnosis: recognizing the nature of our actual disease: we permit politicians’ greed to shape our lives and laws to the detriment of our citizens.

Donald Trump is a brand that symbolizes greed disease. His first campaign words were “of course you love me, I’m rich”. He learned most people have some level of greed disease from his casino-owner days. And as the gap between the wealthy and the poor grows here, there and everywhere, there will be more and more bad cells acting out – out of desperation. It’s sort of like a negative lottery. Given time, it’s bound to happen again and again. And it’s going to keep happening until we get money out politics or we succumb. 

It was not always that way, here in the USA. After WW11 the rich were taxed at a much higher rate than the poor so that stored capital naturally flowed into infrastructure and education, helping us all and making us naturally proud to be Americans – or US citizens. 

We must start our healing process now. And while kindness and prayers are fine for moral support, if they do not lead to actions they function like placebos.  We need thoughtful, caring legislation ASAP. The vast majority of Americans see no reason why anyone should be allowed to own an automatic weapon, or more than a few firearms to defend themselves. We are not against the second amendment. The vast majority of Americans see no reason Russian bots should be allowed on Facebook. But as long as greed governs in America,  the country that loves richesnothing will change.

Let’s focus on voting out the greedy in government in 2018.  The best thing we have here in the USA is national elections every two years. The next one is November 2018. We can’t afford to get distracted. We have no time to waste either. I sincerely believe 2018 is our last chance to save the ailing American society.

If for no other reason than to send out the messages that US citizens will no longer be governed by greed and that we realize greed in government is our national disease here in America, we must vote out infected ruling party members – at every level. 

vote-all-out

We can do this. The citizens who voted for Donald Trump wanted to vote out a broken system. They just were so blinded by their desire for change that they did not see that Trump was a charlatan. I have forgiven them. They mostly know they made a mistake by now. So those same voters can be enrolled to do that same thing again – to vote out a diseased system. 

We must assure that greed has no place in our government. When Citizen’s United falls apart under a new regime, it will begin to turn the tide of our systemic greed disease. 

And then maybe, slowly, the way you kill a cancer, we can return to the kind America I remember as a child. It was not perfect. No society is. But it was much more inclusive than what we have now. We had a visible path to a good life here, and many of us seized that path and have enjoyed that good life. I was lucky that way.

Now, our kids don’t even see the on-ramp to that path. We have let them down terribly. I am not a big D Democrat. Don’t paint me with that broad brush. I don’t care about parties. I care about the actual people who we elect. I wish there were no parties at all. Parties are part of the greed disease problem. I am a global citizen living in America. My homeland that I love is now governed by greed. It is killing us all and we all know it down deep. All I want is better for my kids. I’d like to the healing begin in my lifetime. 

A spiritual disease is being transmitted to Americans by man a who has been infected all his life. It’s very contagious. 2018 may be the last chance to save us from greed/envy disease. It is usually fatal to societies. 

These are the only two laws we need to keep our schools, churches and streets safe.

#1 LICENSE GUNS beyond the basic two. OWNING ( not buying ) unlicensed guns will be a serious federal crime. And yes, law enforcement agents will have the right to seize unlicensed guns. The loss of one’s gun can be the prime punishment. No sense attaching a huge dollar amount to it and scare people. Assault weapons do not belong in the hands of unlicensed people. That is the goal.

#2 ELIMINATE THE GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE.

Less words. More Actions.

I wrote Song For Healing when I was on chemo. It helped me a lot. My way of praying I guess. It’s not all I did however. Have a listen: 

Joseph Aronesty is an e-commerce pioneer, songwriter, author, linguist and father to five sons living in Los Angeles. He was a classmate to Trump in Wharton in 1967. He is a also tireless activist working to reset America to be the more inclusive place it was when he was child. josepharonesty@gmail.com