Is America getting Trump’d?

Around the time the sun was setting on That 70’s Show and Ashton Kutcher’s career, he had a reality show called Punk’d. It featured Kutcher pulling crazy pranks on other celebrities, like towing away their car so they would think it was stolen. Once his target got upset enough to have a stroke, Kutcher would run toward them from somewhere off-screen, calling out, “You got punk’d!” The second Ashton’s victim spotted him, their expressions briefly said, “Oh, God. Why couldn’t the car have just been stolen?” though they would pretend to laugh it off. Kutcher called Punk’d a reality show, but if the show were realistic, the second Kutcher appeared giggling, there would be no question of the target laughing it off. The only question is whether Kutcher would leave in an ambulance or a patrol car. And that would have made for more interesting TV, don’t you think?


MTV would have done better with an Ashton Kutcher is Really Beginning to Wear on the Emergency Room Staff and/or Live from Ashton Kutcher’s Cell in Federal Prison premise

Anyway, where was I going with that? Oh yes. Donald Trump also had a reality show called The Apprentice, where he delighted in firing hapless would-be executives. At some point he bored of that, and decided to jump into national politics. But let’s be honest, reality tv is the new leprosy. Once you’ve been infected, normal people are afraid to have anything to do with you. No, you must be content to live with the other lepers. Donald Trump ought to be in the same little fraternity with other reality cast-offs, like Josh Duggar, John Gosselin, and the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.


Jon Gosselin (center seated) will never have a normal job again.

What if Donald Trump’s campaign is part of a reality show about being a candidate for the US presidency? Seriously. My former theory about Trump was: unbeknownst to him, the Democrats were financing his campaign with dark money and deliberately skewing the polls, allowing him to become the GOP nominee. Then he would get hammered in the general election, and lose handily to Hillary.

But like so many lying politicians, my theory has evolved. It could be more elaborate: perhaps America is getting Trump’d. Maybe Donald is still a Democrat and he’s in on the plan. He’ll walk out to make his acceptance speech as the Republican nominee, with Rosie O’Donnell on his arm, telling the GOP he’s Trump’d them, breaking their spirits and squelching their chances. They could get a different nominee but it wouldn’t matter at that point.

secret pals

How deep does this trickery lie? Donald Trump may have supplanted Madonna as Rosie’s BFF years ago

Love him or hate him, you must appreciate one thing about Trump. He brings up real problems other candidates on both sides of the aisle deliberately ignore. They have a gentlemen’s agreement to talk in general terms, or ignore, politically sticky problems. Trump insists on talking about them in bald terms, which forces the other candidates to take a stand. For that reason, we’ve benefitted from having him in the race even if we are being Trump’d.


Obamacare, Gay Marriage, and the Supreme Court: Who Gets to Decide?

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decided nine cases, ranging from invention royalties to whether hotels must keep guest information and provide it to the police on demand. It’s fair to say all the cases were important, but two were deeply divisive: the ACA/Obamacare subsidies and gay marriage. The Court ruled by a margin of 6-3 that subsidies are okay if insurance is purchased on a federal exchange (King v. Burwell), and by a 5-4 vote that all states must perform and recognize gay marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges).


At oral argument for Obergefell, Justice Kennedy mused aloud whether nine unelected justices had the right to change a definition which has been in existence for millennia, by saying, “Oh, we know better.” (Ultimately, he decided they did.) But that’s the real question, isn’t it? Who gets to decide?

Whether you agree with this week’s Court’s decisions or no, remember many landmark cases have been decided by a 5-4 majority. In other words, the opinions of five people outweigh millions of citizens — without the consent of the governed.

Any five justices can outweigh the wishes and opinions of the entire country

Any five justices can outweigh the wishes and opinions of the entire country

Continue reading

lanza cover

The Media Created Lone Wolf Killers; Only They Can Stop Them

The media is culpable for tragedies like the one in Charleston this week. The killers are responsible for their actions, but the media knowingly plays a significant role in causing these tragedies. And, they have the power to stop them from happening.

Take four high profile cases: Dylann Roof (Charleston), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook), Seung-Hui Cho (VA Tech), and Jared Loughner (Giffords shooting). We know they have five things in common.

I. Access to guns. Let’s start here, since the media’s go-to theory is that gun control will solve the problem. Access may be a contributing factor, but to believe it plays a major role, we must accept at least three unrealistic premises:

1) Means and the motive are the same thing. Normal people aren’t overwhelmed with uncontrollable urges to kill simply because they could. If that were so, why don’t scarves compel you to strangle, or matches insist you commit arson?

2) A person determined to have a gun would be deterred by gun control. If someone is intent on using a gun to kill, why would they be too afraid to commit a far less serious crime, like stealing or illegally buying one?

3) If a gun couldn’t be had, these individuals would abandon their plans of mass murder. Even the media admits these incidents are months or years in the making. If they couldn’t access guns, they would just plan it differently.


II. Age. These individuals are young, usually in their early 20s. It’s one of the most puzzling things about them: they have their lives before them, and they throw it all away. Maybe they don’t understand “this too shall pass”. Their troubles seem eternal. Or maybe experience hasn’t yet taught them compassionate.

adam lanza

III. Failure and Rage. They are/were failures in some way, and that infuriated them. They were disappointed in life, angry about the failure they experienced. So angry that they felt justified hurting innocent people.

Seung-Hui Cho

IV. Isolated loners. These guys were not popular. Maybe they were picked on. They had no concerned friends to challenge them or give them a reality check. No one noticed them at all.

Without friends, jobs, or hobbies to occupy them, they spend months and years concocting elaborate, terrible crimes.

Jared Loughner

V. Motive. This is the key and it’s where the media is complicit. These individuals share the same motive: they want to be Important. They’re nobodies who want to be Somebody and what is an angry failure going to do with that? They don’t have the brains or talent to achieve anything – at least they don’t think so. So they turn to the easy way: notoriety.

The media will gladly bestow notoriety on anyone who will commit a terrible deed, with the justification that it’s negative coverage. As if the killers cared! It’s attention! The media will make them important. Everyone will know who they are.

Continue reading