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Shep Smith: Journalists are not the enemy of the people

 
 
Brandon9000
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 05:23 pm
@Real Music,
Real Music wrote:

Quote:
Please cite one case in which president Trump has called the free press the enemy of the people.

Trump has referred to news that reports negative things about him as being "Fake News." He has referred to what he calls "Fake News" as enemy of the people. Just because Trump doesn't like the news saying negative things about him doesn't make it "Fake News." Especially when what Trump says virtually every single day is one lie after another with ample evidence to prove that Trump is lying.

So, to answer your question, what Trump refer to as "Fake News" is the Free press. So, yes Trump has called the free press enemy of the people.

You have failed to cite one single quotation in which the president said that the press is the enemy of the people. I insist that you give one such citation.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 05:25 pm
@neptuneblue,
neptuneblue wrote:
When Fox News is the only "credible" news source according to the President, the only "fake" thing is trump.
But the topic is not whether you think he is fake. The discussion is about the allegation that he said that "journalists are the enemy of the people." I have yet to see a single citation showing him saying that.
neptuneblue
 
  4  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 05:33 pm
@Brandon9000,
Mitch Albom: If a free press is the 'enemy,' then who is your friend?
Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press Published 12:00 a.m. ET Aug. 5, 2018
Donald Trump
(Photo: AP)


“(The people) have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right, to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”

— John Adams, 1765

President Donald Trump last week called many media outlets “the enemy of the American people.” His press secretary, when given the chance to retract, deny, or at least clarify that statement, refused to do so, instead listing off times that she herself has felt mistreated by journalists.

Presidents come and go. So do press secretaries. Ideas stick around longer. The idea of a free press, for example, as essential to America — protected by the First Amendment of our Constitution — predates this President by nearly 230 years.

So when the idea that the press is the “enemy” of America starts to float, we ought to be concerned. After all, you can name two other famous leaders in the last century who defined their critics as “enemies of the people”: Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and Chinese dictator Mao Zedong.

We don’t want to go down those roads, do we?

Now, anytime someone IN the media starts talking ABOUT the media, critics scream bias. “What do you expect?” they say. “He works in the business.” They never say that the reason he — or she — may work in the business is precisely for the reasons he or she is defending.

But rather than go down that rabbit hole, let us simply look at a world without a free press. This is a fantasy for our current president — and, more and more, some of his ardent supporters.

OK. Let’s pretend it happened. If journalists are truly “the enemy” of the people, then here is what the last 100 years or so might look like without them.

Corruption wins with no press

Standard Oil would never have been exposed as a monopoly, nor broken up by the Supreme Court in violation of antitrust laws. Working conditions on meatpacking docks might never have been made humane. Mental asylums could have mistreated patients for decades. What you know about World War II would be a shell of what you know now.

Senator Joseph McCarthy and his phony Communist witch hunt might have run rampant. Vietnam would be all rosy stories from the government. The My Lai massacre would never have been exposed. Same for Agent Orange.

Richard Nixon would have finished his term as president. Watergate would be nothing more than a hotel. The Pentagon Papers, revealing the covert origins and practices in a war that killed nearly 60,000 of our soldiers, and millions of Vietnamese, might never have been revealed.

Racial discrimination in housing could have gone on unchecked. Safety violations in cars and airplanes would be unreported. Water polluted by chemical plants would continue to be poisoned. You might never know what really happened at the nuclear plant at Three Mile Island.

President Bill Clinton would have not been impeached for his behavior with and about Monica Lewinsky. You wouldn’t know who Monica Lewinsky is.

Nearly all of what you learned after the World Trade Center bombings, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the war in Iraq, the absence of weapons of mass destruction, would be a fraction of what you know now, and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld would be your information sources.

College basketball and football programs would be unscathed. Improper payments could be regularly made as long as people kept quiet. Baseball players could be juicing on steroids. The NFL could laugh at concussion accusations.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick makes his way in to federal court in Detroit on Monday, March 11, 2013. The jury has reached a verdict in the public corruption trial. (Photo: Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press)

Kwame Kilpatrick would have continued as mayor. Flint’s water could still be deadly. Countless cases of political corruption would be unreported. Bribery could go on unpunished. School officials, police officers, city council members — in short, anyone in power — could pretty much do what they wanted as long as they maintained secrecy, because who else but journalists would expose it?

Press is flawed, but needed

The fact is virtually all of what we know outside of our own homes, neighborhoods and workplaces is brought to us by some form of journalism. What would we know of cancer and cigarettes, devious mortgage practices, or awful behavior by religious figures if there were no press to look into it?

And things outside this country? How much information about radical terrorist attacks or genocides in places like Rwanda or Darfur would you be aware of without journalists reporting on it? Anything?

Likely not. Yet in nearly all of the cases I just mentioned, there were parties in power who hated the fact that they were being reported on, who decried the people asking them questions, who wailed that they were being miscast, treated unfairly, not being believed.

None of that is new. So President Trump is not new. And Sarah Sanders is not new. But this idea that the press in the enemy of America, coming from the man we elected our leader — that’s new. And dangerous. And please don’t say it’s only the fake news that’s the enemy (as the President later tweeted). One person’s fake news is another person’s gospel.

If we stop looking at “the media” as the small group that covers the President’s press briefings, we’d recognize that the overwhelming amount of journalism practiced in this country is honorable and admirable and necessary.

Yes, the press is flawed. Yes, the press can be biased. Yes, the press sometimes gets it wrong. Yes, the press employs people who have their own agendas.

All of that is true.

But it is even more true of people in power. And as John Adams said, if those people are to rule us — in politics, in war, in business, in society — it is essential that we citizens always have “that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge,” the knowledge of their conduct and character.

If we banish the media as the enemy, who is going to provide it?

Oh, that’s right. The rulers themselves. Which is exactly how they want it.

You make the choice.
livinglava
 
  -2  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 05:44 pm
@vikorr,
vikorr wrote:

While I follow your logic regarding freedom of the press, and even think the concept has merit - it's not the current state of 'freedom of the press'...and when combined with your lack of acknowledgement regarding trumps lies, your position on the actual topic becomes unclear.

Then let me clarify my position: I am more bothered by the bias of the press than I am interested in supporting Trump. I think Trump is used as a rallying point by the left to distract people from the corruption Dems engage in because they are absolutely desperate to suppress anything that interferes with global economic coordination of which the US is expected to function as a part.

I am not even against migration and I see nationalism as a global problem, but it is clear that the forces against Trump tariffs and migration policing are not at all interested in anything excepting protecting lucrative cross-border economic activities (legal and illegal) and no one is really interested in having a non-exploitative free world.

And the press seems to be constantly propagating bias in favor of the global economic interests that require low/no tariffs, relatively open borders (at least open enough to allow bodies stuffed with drug balloons to pass regularly), etc. How many articles do you read that are neutral in terms of whether they support or oppose Trump's disruptive speech and policies? No, they all report on it as if they are in favor of defending some system against his influence; a system which they don't actually report on from an objective POV as something that can be criticized and changed by political intervention.

Are you familiar with the concept of a 'paradigm?' Part of dem/globalist ideological power rests on the implicit propagation of their paradigm within all sorts of media and educational materials/speech. When people question the paradigm, or if they simply ignore it, they are regarded and ridiculed as being stupid, etc. Maybe the paradigm is so engrained that they aren't really capable of reflecting on it and questioning it, but they should since they seem to be intelligent and critical enough to recognize and question other paradigms, such as racism/sexism/classicism/heteronormativity/etc.

Basically their bias comes down to being selective about which paradigms they acknowledge and think critically about, and which they ignore as paradigms in order to let them pass unexamined.
neptuneblue
 
  5  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 05:44 pm
Fox News’ John Roberts Defends CNN and NBC News From Trump’s ‘Unfair’ Attacks
The statement from Roberts pointedly declines to mention his CNN counterpart Jim Acosta by name

Jon Levine | July 13, 2018 @ 10:59 AM
john roberts jim acosta cnn fox news


Fox News correspondent John Roberts on Friday defended CNN and NBC News after President Donald Trump publicly disparaged the networks and their reporters during a live joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in England on Friday.

Roberts, who came under fire after asking Trump a question after the president pointedly rejected ones from CNN’s Jim Acosta and MSNBC’s Kristin Welker, said descriptions of both networks as “fake news” were “unfair.”

“I know Kristin Welker of NBC. She is honest as the day is long. For the President to call her dishonest is unfair,” Roberts said in a statement to TheWrap. “I also used to work at CNN. There are some fine journalists who work there and risk their lives to report on stories around the world. To issue a blanket condemnation of the network as ‘fake news’ is also unfair.”

Also Read:
Fox News' John Roberts Takes Heat for Not Defending CNN Counterpart From Trump Attack

Roberts did not refer to Acosta by name — even though the veteran CNN reporter was the one who was rejected by Trump. “In today’s press conference, I paused while my colleague from CNN went back and forth with President Trump over a question,” Roberts explained. “When it became clear that the president wasn’t going to entertain a question from him, I proceeded with my question, as did my fellow colleagues in the press corps.”

Trump publicly derided Acosta’s network in declining to take his question. “No, No, CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN,” he said.

“John Roberts from Fox,” he continued. “Let’s go to a real network.”

Acosta attempted to respond by saying CNN was also a real network but was quickly cut off by Roberts, who moved on to his own question.

The Fox News veteran took heat online after many said he should have come to his colleague’s aid rather than ask his own question.

Online, CNN’s Jake Tapper chided Roberts, recalling an instance in 2010 when the press corps rallied around Fox News after President Barack Obama considered excluding them from an interview with a White House official.

“Old enough to remember when other networks came to the defense of Fox News WH correspondents during the Obama years. Such did not happen here,” Tapper tweeted. “Lesson for the kids out there: no one should ever try to do the right thing with the expectation it will ever be reciprocated.”



Jake Tapper

@jaketapper
Old enough to remember when other networks came to the defense of Fox News WH correspondents during the Obama years. Such did not happen here.

Lesson for the kids out there: no one should ever try to do the right thing with the expectation it will ever be reciprocated.

Josh Dawsey

@jdawsey1
"CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN!" Trump says at Chequers. "John Roberts of Fox. Let's go to a real network."

9:33 AM - Jul 13, 2018
0 Replies
 
neptuneblue
 
  6  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 05:47 pm
@livinglava,
livinglava wrote:

Then let me clarify my position: I am more bothered by the bias of the press than I am interested in supporting Trump. I think Trump is used as a rallying point by the left to distract people from the corruption Dems engage in because they are absolutely desperate to suppress anything that interferes with global economic coordination of which the US is expected to function as a part.


I am more interested in TRUTH then worrying about political affiliation.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:20 pm
@neptuneblue,
How do you determine what is truth? We know the media is slightly left of center, and they are guilty of using loaded words to access the emotions of the reader.
neptuneblue
 
  5  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:29 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Verifiable fact checking.

0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:32 pm
@neptuneblue,
neptuneblue wrote:

livinglava wrote:

Then let me clarify my position: I am more bothered by the bias of the press than I am interested in supporting Trump. I think Trump is used as a rallying point by the left to distract people from the corruption Dems engage in because they are absolutely desperate to suppress anything that interferes with global economic coordination of which the US is expected to function as a part.


I am more interested in TRUTH then worrying about political affiliation.

If you are interested in truth, you should learn to identify paradigmatic bias, because facts are interpolated and 'spun' according to various paradigmatic biases and then claimed to be 'truth' because facts are used as a basis.

Let me give you an obvious example from a racist paradigm: racists use to report statistical 'facts' about blacks and other racial categories and use the facts as 'proof' that their racist ideas were true. E.g. factually higher unemployment rates would be used to 'prove' that 'blacks are lazy' and systematic bias and discrimination in hiring were ignored/denied.

If you are interested in truth, you have to learn to see how people use facts as building blocks to support propaganda constructed within the paradigm they are propagating. Otherwise, you fall into their trap of believing their propaganda because it cites "true facts" while hiding the bias in how those facts are interpolated.
cicerone imposter
 
  4  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:33 pm
@livinglava,
It's easy to fact check most anything on politics.
0 Replies
 
neptuneblue
 
  5  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:38 pm
@livinglava,
livinglava wrote:

E.g. factually higher unemployment rates would be used to 'prove' that 'blacks are lazy' and systematic bias and discrimination in hiring were ignored/denied.


In your example, the truth is people are unemployed. The subjective part you added on your own.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:42 pm
@neptuneblue,
Code:livinglava wrote:

E.g. factually higher unemployment rates would be used to 'prove' that 'blacks are lazy'
and systematic bias and discrimination in hiring were ignored/denied.


Unfortunately, discrimination against blacks are still active in the marketplace and legal system. I would like to see equality for everyone before I'm gone. Trump makes it more difficult with his comments about Mexicans and Muslims. Why a bigot like Trump can become the president of this country in this day and age is a shameful chapter of our country.
neptuneblue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:44 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I agree.
0 Replies
 
revelette1
 
  3  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:53 pm
@livinglava,
Most adults can pick out the facts, cross check if they have to and ignore the opinions contained in the news article and/or news program. I would rather have a totally free press full of building blocks of opinion than having to rely on government news.
Lash
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 06:55 pm
@revelette1,
What you have is ‘journalists’ writing propaganda for the highest bidder.
0 Replies
 
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 07:07 pm
@neptuneblue,
neptuneblue wrote:

livinglava wrote:

E.g. factually higher unemployment rates would be used to 'prove' that 'blacks are lazy' and systematic bias and discrimination in hiring were ignored/denied.


In your example, the truth is people are unemployed. The subjective part you added on your own.

That was just a very blatant and obvious example of how facts can and have been interpolated and spun to propagate a racist paradigm.

Today it is more difficult to expose all paradigms because some, such as racism/classicism/sexism/heterosexism, are actively exposed and criticized while others are ignored and allowed to pass as transparent.

Do you want the media to only expose certain biases and paradigms or do you want them to expose as many as possible? In short, do you want the media to be biased in favor of a dominant paradigm and propagate it by how they think about and report on facts, or do you want them to be objectively distanced from even the paradigms they agree with?

neptuneblue
 
  3  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 07:10 pm
@livinglava,
It's up to YOU, as an informed citizen to discern fact from fiction. It may be hard for you but it's a rather easy task for me.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 07:18 pm
@revelette1,
revelette1 wrote:

Most adults can pick out the facts, cross check if they have to and ignore the opinions contained in the news article and/or news program. I would rather have a totally free press full of building blocks of opinion than having to rely on government news.

I don't think it's as easy for most adults to identify how they are being manipulated as you think. People get emotionally biased toward certain personalities and we begin to allow their biases to pass more than if we are biased against them.

I can give you a perfect example in Trump's recent tweet about tree-clearing to stop the California fires. Although I am strongly biased against clearing trees, and I see the use of fire (risk) as a rationale for undermining forest thickness, which shades moisture and protects against dry winds; I was biased to give more patient consideration to Trump's tweet simply because so many people just blatantly ridicule him instead of discussing his ideas in a calm, reasoned way.

Normally bias isn't as a result of a critical response to the public. It is usually the result of aligning with some person in a position of status and respect. E.g. late night talk show hosts, SNL writers/actors, and various news outlets/writers win over democrats with wit and analysis that propagates certain liberal views/assumptions and ridicules people who question or challenge those views/assumptions. It is paradigm-defense and propagation by means of cultural expression, and it's really unfortunate that these are intelligent, critical people who are great at identifying and unpacking all the paradigmatic biases of 'the enemy,' but they avoid revealing and analyzing their own.
livinglava
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 07:37 pm
@neptuneblue,
neptuneblue wrote:

It's up to YOU, as an informed citizen to discern fact from fiction. It may be hard for you but it's a rather easy task for me.

I dislike the hypocrisy of exposing some paradigms and not others. I learned how to analyze media as part of my education, and I am glad such paradigms as racism/sexism/classicism/heteronormativity get exposed and analyzed; but it bothers me that they stop there.

It's like journalists want to use paradigm exposure/analysis as a weapon against the ideologies they don't like, but they don't want to report the paradigms that they are for. That is a double-standard and a method of propagating certain political ideologies over others.
0 Replies
 
neptuneblue
 
  3  
Reply Fri 10 Aug, 2018 07:40 pm
@livinglava,
Trump’s War on California
The Golden State has thrived in defiance of the president. But now it’s on fire.
By LILI LOOFBOUROW

California is burning. More than 15,000 firefighters have been fighting wildfires across the state. As of Monday, the Mendocino Complex fire became the largest in California history. Donald Trump recognized the tragedy by … inaccurately condemning the state’s water policies. This should give us pause, not because of what the president says, but because of the point this marks in Trump’s long, ongoing war with California.

Here’s what he said on Monday: “Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water - Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.”

Plenty of digital ink has been spilled by journalists and experts responsibly trying to parse the president’s bizarre declaration. His claims have no scientific basis and have little to do with the tragedy going on right now. You might notice a few strange things about that tweet, aside from his neglecting to express any sympathy for the Californians who have lost their homes, and some their lives. One odd note is the appearance of “farming” in a tweet that’s ostensibly about wildfires. Another is “Fast Federal govt. approvals.” What does federal government approval have to do with the fires?

Approvals of what?

The most obvious answer—though not the only one, as I’ll argue shortly—is disaster relief. The Trump administration’s aid to California has been stingy. Consider the president’s response to the 2017 wildfires. While some hurricane relief funding (including funds to rebuild) was supplied to Southern states in the White House’s November 2017 disaster aid request to Congress, not a cent was initially designated for victims of the California wildfires to rebuild. (Even Republican Sen. John Cornyn called the White House’s disaster relief budget “wholly inadequate.”) Trump’s long-standing hostility to California is no secret: In February 2017, he told Bill O’Reilly that California was “out of control” and said withholding federal funds “would be a weapon” he’d use to punish the state for opposing him. Given this admission, lawmakers nervous about a Trump vendetta have taken peculiar steps: 13 of 14 California Republicans refused to sign their own state’s request for federal aid following the 2017 floods and wildfires—the Republicans signed a separate letter, one uncontaminated by Democrats.

These are the sorts of real effects a petty, vindictive president achieves. Nor is there much reason to believe things have changed since last year. While Trump approved a disaster declaration this past Sunday that would make some federal aid available to Shasta County (where the Carr fire has raged since late July), he had to tweet something nasty about California’s governor. (It’s also not unreasonable to note that the county went for Trump in the 2016 election.) More funds have been requested by lawmakers to provide relief for other affected California counties—Lake, Mendocino, and Napa counties now have huge blazes of their own with which to contend. Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has added his voice to the bipartisan request for additional aid. But will Trump help? The earliest an answer would come is the end of this week after a damage assessment is completed, but the mere fact that there’s a question about this is symptomatic of the government-by-suspense he inflicts on the country—and on California in particular.

Trump’s ill will toward a state that won’t bend to him (it has in fact filed 29 suits against his administration) has a long and bitter history. He certainly couldn’t be happy about the vandalism of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which he bought in 2007—perhaps, some speculated, to distract from a feud with Rosie O’Donnell. But now the star has been vandalized so often that West Hollywood’s City Council has approved a symbolic resolution to remove it. Hollywood’s repulsion of the man has been near universal (as any awards show will attest), and Trump’s other efforts to make his mark on the state have been similarly disappointing. During the campaign he liked to say he’d be the first Republican to win the state in decades, but he lost to Hillary Clinton by an incredible 4.3 million votes. That figure became the basis for Trump’s false claim that there was rampant voter fraud. He couldn’t have lost the state by that much; it must have been the illegal immigrants! His plan in the 1980s to build a structure on Wilshire Boulevard that would be the tallest building in L.A. fizzled. When he visited Los Angeles for a mere 22 hours in 2018, as president, he made a point of spending the night in the building currently bearing that “tallest tower” designation—the Wilshire Grand.

This is a man furious with a state that seems invulnerable to him.
But it’s as a political project that California has been a fly in Trump’s ointment. The world’s fifth-largest economy is succeeding wildly in defiance of Trump’s every prescription. As Bloomberg’s Matthew Winkler argues, the state disproves Trump’s policies at every turn. Trump credits environmental deregulation and cutting taxes for the rich for the humming American economy, and yet Jerry Brown’s agenda, which almost perfectly opposes Trump’s, has accompanied even better growth: “California’s 4.9 percent increase in GDP last year was more than twice the gain for the U.S. and enabled the state’s jobless rate to slide to 4.2 percent, the lowest on record since such data was compiled in 1976.” And the state has done it while leading on policies meant to combat climate change.

So far, Trump has not been able to bring this “out of control,” pro-immigrant state to heel. His attempt to punish California for sanctuary cities by weaponizing federal funds backfired: the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the president had exceeded his authority since “only Congress can put conditions on federal funds.” The same man who in 1988 was hyping the dangers of California earthquakes has slashed the earthquake budget. He’s currently attacking California’s ability to regulate its own fuel emissions; his administration is now in the business of arguing that looser gas-mileage requirements would actually be better for the environment. He made a point of looking at “wall” prototypes while in California, knowing that the majority of residents here abhor the idea. This is a man furious with a state that seems invulnerable to him.

That brings us back to the fires. Here, as ever with Trump, the urgent underlying question is not the issue itself—the man clearly considers the fires beside the point—but what grievance or financial opportunity is currently driving the president’s decision-making. And the tweeted statement was not about fire. It was about water. As I read it, specifically, it was about his administration’s efforts to increase the height of the Shasta Dam, which stands in the one county that has so far received federal aid.

The dam is an odd little episode in the larger story of California’s water wars, but it may yet turn out to be one of the weirder chapters in the tale of the Trump administration’s corruption. In brief: The Trump administration wants to fund a $1.3 billion project to increase the dam’s height by two stories, ostensibly for “water storage” and (you guessed it) farming.

This proposal would violate California state law (including one requiring that the natural flow of rivers be maintained), so who does a bigger dam benefit? Central Valley farms, for one, especially those that grow water-intensive crops like almonds. The project would also massively benefit Westlands Water District, the biggest irrigation district in the state, whose interests were until quite recently represented by a lobbyist named David Bernhardt. David Bernhardt is now the No. 2 at Trump’s Interior Department, an agency his previous firm sued four times while collecting more than $1 million from Westlands for promoting its water interests and challenging endangered species protections for fish like the California salmon.

Despite assurances at a Senate committee hearing, Bernhardt has not recused himself when it comes to the Shasta Dam. He has also been found to have continued doing work for Westlands Water long after he said he’d quit.

If the dam project goes through, it would flood miles of the McCloud River, in violation of state law. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, which has already lost much of its land in the initial construction of the dam, would see much of its remaining sacred ground flooded. The project would hurt salmon. But those are likely minor side stories in the larger offensive the federal government seems to be launching against California’s own laws. As Democratic Rep. Jared Huffman put it, “The Trump administration would have to abrogate a century of federal deference to state laws on California water to go ahead with this.” Congress, undeterred, has approved $20 million for “pre-construction planning.”

While this sounds like a bingo card of things Trump loves—eliminating environmental protections, disenfranchising Native Americans, sacrificing public lands to private interests, and richly rewarding specifically the Californians who voted for him, all while flouting the laws of a state whose disobedience he resents—there is no proof Trump has all this in mind while the wildfire-ravaged state requests his help. But consider this: California’s main objection to the dam expansion pertains to protecting the McCloud under the state’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, passed in 1968 to preserve a river’s “free-flowing condition.” The strangest part of Trump’s tweet about the fires is the capitalization of “Free Flow.” Trump likes using capitalization on Twitter the way others use hashtags—he highlights the phrases that matter to him. We know, too, that he likes repurposing phrases (“fake news”) for his own needs. That the words he capitalized echo the precise legal reasoning against the dams might, of course, be a simple coincidence. But his key phrases usually come from somewhere. Whatever his intent may be in falsely asserting that the state is sending away extra water, or in pairing “Free Flow” and “Fast Federal govt. approvals,” or in telling Jerry Brown what he should do, Trump can’t help but tell us what he is thinking about. And it’s not Americans in need of help.
 

 
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