News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The BS detectors blare whenever Trump speaks

Every national  major news organization had a team of journalists fact check Trump's State of the Union speech.  And these fact checks were not simply a matter of reviewing notable claims made in the speech for accuracy, as has been the practice in years past.  They were word-by-words examinations of how what Trump said matched with the facts.

Here are some of the major fact checks:


Associated Press
CNN
CBS News
USA Today
NPR
Politifact
New York Times
Washington Post

Donald Trump is a symptom.  No one with a minimal degree of moral and mental sentience can deny what a profoundly defective, corrupt person  he is.  He has a documented record of fraud,  swindling, lying, associations with organized crime in the  U.S. and abroad,  and failure.  Those who support him support corruption as a part of government.  There is a substantial portion of the electorate which subscribes to the idea that success is anything you can get away with.  They are the people who celebrate organized crime as portrayed in The Godfather and The Sopranos as the ultimate realization of the American Dream.  His election to president is a symptom of the massive intellectual and moral failure of American democracy.  As with the so-called banana republics,  corruption has won over integrity and competence.  

The big question is how did America, home of the Greatest Generation, become so stupid and jaded that this could happen.  George Orwell offers an analysis in his depiction of a populace that is constantly beleaguered by propaganda through the media.  They are so inured to the ceaseless stream of advertising and promotion directed at them that they have lost interest and the ability to separate fact-based declarations from unsupported and groundless assertions.  They do not respond to language,  but merely endure it as a factor of their environment,  like an ever-present fog.   To about half the people, words do not convey information.  They are simply the stimulus signals like the bell that makes Pavlov's dog salivate:  they react in the ways they have been conditioned to as repressed, obedient organisms.  Like those products of ISIS who willingly strap on suicide vests to kill innocents, many Americans willingly react without mind to what their leaders prompt them to do.  They are zombies subject to the control of people they regard as their masters.  

Their linguistic currency is bullshit.  The English language has no non-defecatory synonym for bullshit.  The dictionaries define it as nonsense, lies, exaggeration, and foolish insolent talk.  But the colloquial term is the most evocative in its reference to revulsive animal waste. And so, when Donald Trump speaks, the press employs its bullshit detectors and identifies every word he says in terms of nonsense, lies, exaggeration, and foolish insolence.  The significance of Trump's speech is not in any factual information it conveys, but in the kind of bullshit it invokes.

But there is a linguistic anomaly in Trump's speech that explains why everything he says is nonsense.  Words have meaning because they name natural facts.  Language emanates from the natural universe.  They name objects, relationships, and processes that are observable to all.  Facts are something that has actual existence  or are actual occurrences.  We understand what words mean because we can observe and experience what they refer to.   However, when the words a person uses do not refer to anything factual that can be verified, they are nonsense.  Bullshit.  Most of what Trump says proves to be fabricated nonsense.  

An example is his campaign slogan, Make America Great Again.  The slogan is based on the premise that America has lost its claim to greatness.   The election of Barack Obama as president was seen throughout the world as a sign that America was advancing in its quest for equality.  That is, except to those people who harbored and clung to old racial prejudices, who prefer to believe that minorities are inferior to whites.  "Make America Great Again" appealed to these people because the election of a black president was a refutation of the white supremacy that they prefer as a national state of affairs.  The fall from greatness stated by the slogan was not a factual case.  Under Obama, the U.S. assumed a status of world leadership that was lauded throughout the world.  Under Trump and Rex Tillerson, the U.S. hs relinguished that role and has turned leadership over to China, the European Union, and other nations that are stepping up to the fill the void Trump created.  And under Trump,  many of the advances in civil rights and equality have been either halted or reversed.

Trump claims, such as the cheering of Muslims during the 9/11 attacks and the wire-tapping of Trump Towers by Obama, have been proven to be total fabrications.  But that segment of the population that clings to its Nazi-like malice rejoices in Trump's false claims. It is all made up bullshit.  

It is difficult to find any statements made by Trump that have a basis in actuality.  His tweets and other public statements are expressions of his depraved attitudes and motives, not anything that can be proven as fact.  He depends almost totally on the kind of power that CEOs exercise over employees or contractors who fear for their job and lives.  The sycophants and corporate sucks who serve CEOs learn quickly to adopt the attitudes and endorse the utterances of their bosses,  no matter how bigoted. malicious, or false.  Trump's White House and GOP sucks play that game.  The so-called Nunes memo is an exercise in detaching words from the facts they purport to report.  It follows Trump's employment of Doublespeak in the havoc it wreaks on language.  Doublespeak, as a concept developed by George Orwell, is a language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.  The Tump administration and his dedicated GOP sucks are prodigious fabricators of such language.  Doublespeak clouds actuality with a dense fog of depravity and malice.

If there is hope that the promises of democracy for liberty, equality, and justice may prevail somewhere, somehow, it lies with people who are smart enough and educated enough to maintain stewardship over the integrity of the language.  It is not a matter of partisanship,  but of a respectful appreciation of the tool fostered by mankind that is the basis for our life-sustaining achievements.  The attempts to subvert science and language should alarm the nation that all the benefits of democracy are under siege.  But that understanding is unlikely in a nation that elected Donald Trump president.

Those with enough mental acumen to understand how lethal bullshit can be will be the ones we depend upon to conserve our language and the human enterprise it makes possible.  As the U.S. developed, one of the first things that aspiring communities established was schools that educated children in the use of language.  Over time,  the study of language arts and critical thinking skills has been systematically undermined in our schools and further degraded by the constant noise of BS in the media.  People who retain some respect and understanding of fact-based language are the ones who can restore it to usefulness.  But it may be too late for that to happen in the U.S., which is rapidly establishing itself as a nation of organized crime.   They may have to think about where they can recolonize.




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