Politics & Media
Jan 09, 2024, 06:28AM

Uncanny Valley Forge

Trump is a threat to their democracy—and to an MSNBC host’s composure.

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When Joe Biden spoke near Valley Forge last week, he didn’t honor the ideals of the liberty-loving American Revolutionaries who famously camped there. Causing the creepy “uncanny valley” effect that comes from unveiling something that looks almost-but-not-quite familiar and human, he used some of the jargon of liberty and limited government—even as he spoke on behalf of power, surveillance, and secret police.

That bait-and-switch is particularly alarming now, as a U.S. Attorney signals the Department of Justice’s desire to expand its “insurrection” investigations beyond those who entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to the protestors outside—and no doubt to the protestors’ supporters in distant states, perhaps for years to come.

This magic-trick-like substitution of ugly power for proffered liberty has been mainstream liberal procedure for well over 100 years now, in much the same way that lawless authoritarian impulses on the right are disguised through the language of “law and order.”

The two major political factions form the evil pincers of a broader Progressive movement, not wholly left-wing or right-wing, that has been using exaggerated crises—including from time to time the specter of anarchist rioting—to justify centralizing power, not just in the past three years but since roughly the 1880s.

We’re not obligated to keep falling for it or to play along, no matter how many major institutions they by now control through such propaganda tactics. Powerful people love it when you obediently say, “We have to pick one side or the other,” too, the left pincer or the right. That attitude may well guarantee them control for another century or more.

Biden falsely claims that in the three years since J6 he has attended the funerals of police officers killed at the Capitol on that day, as if their blood would sanctify the whole apparatus of government anew—big government as your only alternative to chaos. But in fact, the one death unambiguously attributable to the clashes that day was that of a protestor shot by the government. A lie of this magnitude might be considered grounds for impeachment if it came from Biden’s predecessor as president, Donald Trump.

But then, Trump’s assigned role in all this is to be the less glamorous, less respectable of the two pincers, and the media aren’t supposed to show him sympathy. He’s cast as the villain in this stage show, one against whom any exercise of government power or legal trickery is warranted, possibly including removal from the ballot as an “insurrectionist” for his role in inspiring J6—without him even being convicted for it in a court of law. This removal is a precaution necessary to protect “democracy” from the voters, apparently.

And part of the press’ role, now that objectivity is a forgotten aspiration, is to weep over the horrors of events like the pro-Trump J6 protest.

The weeping has become literal, since MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart has cried on-air while merely reporting from his comfortable anchor desk on this three-year anniversary of the 2021 protest. Compounding that shameful (but perhaps in the days ahead imitation-inspiring) bit of theater, many liberals will now dutifully play their parts by calling any criticism of Capehart—perhaps this very column—a result of anti-gay, anti-black prejudice, not the result of some of us recalling professional standards and dignity.

I was unsettled when I heard that some ABC News staff members had to abandon their posts temporarily the night Trump was elected in 2016 and cry in a corporate meditation room, a facility I don’t think existed back when I worked there in the late-1990s. Things have gone downhill quickly throughout society this century.

It doesn’t help that a couple of my old college libertarian pals say they too might’ve cried in that meditation room in 2016 if they had been ABC staffers that night, so awful is Trump. At least they aren’t claiming to be tough-minded, objective reporters, though. My friends were just reacting to another politician they dislike. The ABC staff was surely upset in part because reality wasn’t following their script that night, which is far more presumptuous.

If the courts don’t get rid of the problem called Trump (long the preferred method of disposing of political rivals for Obama associates), those who pose as objective reporters will plainly spend the next 10 months reminding you, as if you were an elementary school student, that your two electoral choices this time around represent on one side democracy, however they define it, and on the other side the nightmare of J6 every day for four more years.

We know the media can present even the most ambiguous of legal evidence as clear-cut when that helps them construct a narrative: Biden’s bribe-like business dealings are depicted as no biggie—likewise his ongoing housing of hordes of immigrants at taxpayer expense—but Trump letting foreign customers pay for their own rooms at his hotels is treated as the sleaziest of conflicts of interest.

Jack Smith is depicted as an admirably dogged investigator for hounding Trump, though he discouraged the FBI from investigating the Clinton Foundation back in 2016.

The selectively-curious news also floods us with mostly-irrelevant court case lists of Jeffrey Epstein’s associates (billionaires have a lot of those, not necessarily a crime), perhaps hoping there will be too many names for us to dwell long upon the politically significant ones, such as “Doe 36,” a.k.a. Bill Clinton. Doe 36 “likes them young” according to Epstein, and surely Epstein had an extremely narrow definition of “young.”

Perhaps Clinton liked them young enough to make him an admirer of Epstein’s system, not so unlike that used by certain Saudi-owned jets, of having important male passengers serviced by 14- and 15-year-old girls, ostensibly to train them for careers as real flight attendants, preferably over international waters, where the applicability of labor (and other) laws is murky.

It’s not so much that we’re lied to as that we’re constantly nudged to pay attention to some things and let others slide, as it suits the powers that be.

That’s also what’s happening when, say, a Democratic member of Congress tries to cut off a Republican representative asking FBI Director Chris Wray whether busloads of federal informants dressed as Trump supporters infiltrated and egged on the J6 crowd.

If you don’t like being spoon-fed only select bits of the truth, you might find yourself preferring Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s approach, which was to release 44,000 hours of J6 footage, showing how little violent coordination there really was during this purported “insurrection”—and how the feds appeared to fire into peaceful crowds, provoking reactions, as left-wing protestors have warned for decades about overzealous cops.

Look closely at these sorts of events, without the usual red/blue political 3D glasses provided for you, and you may get the uneasy feeling many seemingly-familiar political tableaux, even ones displayed to you 100 times over and painted with the broadest of strokes, are not quite as they appeared.

Todd Seavey is the author of Libertarianism for Beginners and is on X at @ToddSeavey

  • >>a U.S. Attorney signals the Department of Justice’s desire to expand its “insurrection” investigations beyond those who entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to the protestors outside—and no doubt to the protestors’ supporters in distant states, perhaps for years to come.<< Note that the Washington Times has corrected its reporting on this thus: >>An earlier version of this story mischaracterized U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves’ remarks about the Jan. 6 prosecutions. He said the DOJ could have but did not prosecute thousands of protestors who entered restricted areas on the Capitol grounds but did not enter the building or engage in violence.<< https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2024/jan/7/doj-target-nonviolent-jan-6-protesters-who-did-not/

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  • Insurrection- “an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.” :https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/insurrection. What happened on January 6, 2021 was neither organized nor an attempt to take control of the country. By definition it was not an insurrection rather it was an unruly protest that became violent and turned into a riot.. By continuing to refer to the events of Jan 6, 2021 as an insurrection President Biden, Congressional Democrats and much of the MSM expose themselves as dishonest propagandists and frauds.

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  • It was an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, it was incited by the president, and some people involved in planning and organizing it are already serving long prison sentences for seditious conspiracy.

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  • “The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.” https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-fbi-finds-scant-evidence-us-capitol-attack-was-coordinated-sources-2021-08-20/...There were a handful of people including members of the proud boys and oath keepers, who had aims of breaking into the Capitol building but no plans of what to do once they were inside. About 90% to 95% of the people involved in the riot were a ragtag bunch of one off cases acting spontaneously .. There is plenty of evidence that President Trump’s behavior post 2020 election through Jan 6 2021 was unwise , reckless and indefensible but it fell far short of inciting a riot. He never ordered or even encouraged people to storm the Capitol. What he did say was ” I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” In other words use their First Amendment rights which allows freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

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  • You direct me to a news story from August 20, 2021, before many of the cases that resulted in convictions had even been filed. Not worth discussing.

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  • The point isn't about whether those that committed felonies during the J6 riots deserve to be convicted. Of course they do and there is virtually no disagreement on that. The point is whether what happened on J6 was an insurrection which quite clearly and by definition it was not. Those that continue to label the J6 Capitol riots as an insurrection are manipulating the truth and distorting reality in order to advance their political agenda.

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