William Spivey imagines what would be left to say if the world as we know it was to come to an end because of Donald Trump and the GOP. [This is a fiction.]
The world has been destroyed, well most of it anyway. Ironically a few of those shithouse countries in Africa survived, missing the nuclear fallout due to trade winds, good fortune, and perhaps some Wakandan technology.
Because no one that knows is left to tell the story, I’ll leave this message which may have missed a couple of the particulars, that describes what happened and who is responsible.
To understand what happened, you have to have an idea of the histories of two old men that followed more or less in the footsteps of their fathers. The eldest, Rupert Murdoch (87) was the son of the esteemed Sir Keith Murdoch, who was an esteemed reporter and editor of, The Herald and Weekly Times publishing company. Sir Richard Murdoch died when his son was twenty-one. Rupert Murdoch used the fortune left behind to start his own company, News Limited.
Donald Trump (71) was the son of New York real estate developer Fred Trump, and he worked alongside his father who lived to the ripe age of 93. Trump allegedly got his start with a million-dollar loan from his father and repeatedly went to daddy for additional funds as many of his projects didn’t work out. When he died, Fred Trump suffered from Alzheimer’s disease which I bring up for no particular reason.
Rupert had always been groomed by his father to enter the family business. He was co-editor of his grammar school newspaper, he attended Oxford and managed, Oxford Student Publications Limited. He worked as a sub-editor for the Daily Express for two years. After his father’s death from cancer, Rupert left Oxford to come home and manage the family business. He soon began making acquisitions and expanding his newspaper empire, first in Australia, then the United Kingdom, and in 1973 made his first foray into the United States, when he bought the San Antonio Express-News. In September of 1985, he became a naturalized US Citizen in order to qualify to own a US television station. In 1984 he bought a stake in 20th Century Fox and in 1996 launched Fox News.
Donald Trump had decided to make Manhattan his oyster and had been involved in several real estate deals, starting with his purchasing a 50% stake in the troubled Commodore Hotel in 1978. The purchase was facilitated by a $70 million loan, jointly guaranteed by his father and Hyatt hotels. It reopened as the Grand Hyatt Hotel, next to the Grand Central Terminal. The same year he finished negotiations to build Trump Tower. He made way for the building by demolishing an old Bonwit Teller store, using undocumented Polish workers and destroying some art deco features which had been marked for preservation. Trump continued to acquire several major buildings in Manhattan along with property in Palm Beach, FL including Mar-a-Lago, and some Atlantic City hotels. The growth of the now named, Trump Organization did not come without hiccups including multiple bankruptcies, several unpaid contractors, undocumented workers, and lawsuits. His credit was so bad he couldn’t obtain financing from U.S. banks and found funding from Deutsche Bank, notorious for Russian money laundering having paid a $630 million fine for its role in a $10 Billion money laundering scheme. He later, according to each of his sons, got money directly from Russia which is now being investigated.
Murdoch had always maintained close ties to government officials including those in the Thatcher government in the United Kingdom and the Republican Party in the United States. He diverged from Republicans in one policy area, being a fan of more open immigration policy as opposed to the Republicans becoming gradually more closed and Nationalistic. Fox gained it greatest growth in the years when Republicans were out of power, maintaining the steady drumbeat of opposition to Democrats, specifically the Presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They got away from basic news programming instead focusing on opinion shows, more often focused on fostering hysteria rather than speaking truth. During the Obama years, they provided a forum for a thirsty real estate developer, known as much for his braggadocio and larger than life television personality that constantly proclaimed President Obama was not an American and he was seeking proof, having dispatched private detectives to Hawaii to prove the fraud and we “won’t believe what they are finding out.” In 2011, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Trump was embarrassed by the President on National television after having produced his long form birth certificate. At the same time, President Obama was having carried out the successful raid which killed Osama Bin Laden, making Trump temporarily a laughing stock and figure of derision. It was then Trump decided he would become President.
On June 16, 2015, Trump formally announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Riding down the escalator of Trump Tower ahead of his third wife Melania. He made a speech highlighting illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the national debt, and Islamic terrorism. He spoke in generalities, often contradicted himself, but he was good television, constantly berating his Republican opponents in the Primary election and the present administration. Having little use for truth and ignoring fact checkers, he was the darling of the news media who saw their own ratings and advertising revenues rise when Trump was on TV so they diligently followed his every appearance, giving him free advertising and drowning out all his challengers. This was true of media in general, but particularly Fox News.
To understand Trump you have to go back to the little boy who was sent to military school because he kept making trips to Manhattan as a young teen without permissions. He got exposure to the military structure, admiring the power and control maintained by the officers, wanting that kind of power for himself. He would never seek it in the actual military, getting five deferments, four for college and one for alleged bone spurs in his feet. He watched and complained while many of his poor classmates served in Vietnam. He talked tough but never demonstrated it other than self-serving stories, most of them debunked where he acted heroically. He is narcissistic, egotistical, self-centered and has a need for constant affirmation. He imagines himself to be the smartest person in any room which is rarely true. He is also a pathological liar, which has worked for him most of his life because those who worked for him were afraid to challenge him because they depended on him for employment. He surrounded himself with family and sycophants, looking to do his bidding.
Fox News cared not about Trump’s lack of qualifications to be Mayor, let alone President. Because he had no ideology, the projected theirs upon him, crediting him with brilliance when the actual term should have been witless. He was all personality and no policy and they rode that horse to high earnings, giving him unconditional support and unlimited airtime, they shielded him from every mistake by either ignoring them or giving credence to the “alternate facts” promoted by his surrogates. Trump crushed his Republican opponents and went on to face his Democrat challenger in the general election, Hillary Clinton.
Fox was all in for Trump providing 24/7 attacks on Clinton for her 30+ years in the public view. There was no scandal they didn’t rehash including Benghazi for which she had been cleared, and later leaks of E-mails from her Campaign Chairman John Podesta. Every evening of Fox when their opinion shows came on, O’Reilly, Hannity and the rest blasted Clinton daily and built up Trump. They cared little for truth and promoted the few intelligible themes Trump had including the evils of immigration, banning Muslims and building a wall. They spewed racism themselves and explained and justified it in the Trump campaign. They contributed to the growth of right-wing militias, even supporting groups in the west that took over Federal land. Murdoch and his media company which now included The Wall Street Journal and dozens of local news stations were all in for the inexperienced candidate for he was generating them revenue and almost exclusive access as Trump had little use for probing interviews when he could have fawning ones instead.
The story of exactly how Trump won the election is still being written. Investigations into collusion with Russians who we know interfered in the election have not been completed. We know about funding from foreign sources now believed to include Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Questions of money laundering and obstruction of justice are being researched and of course, there are the women. Fox News which had spent decades telling us about Monica Lewinsky has ignored the 22 women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment, unwanted touching, and rape. Fox helped convince enough people that either all the women lied or it didn’t matter that he was able to win despite an Access Hollywood video where he admitted to forcibly kissing women and, “grabbing them by the pussy.” Then there was the FBI which publicly reopened an investigation into Clinton e-mails but said nothing about Trump being investigated that may never be understood. Without regard to how he got there. Trump was elected President and was sworn in on January 20, 2017.
The United States Congress is one of three branches of the government and is part of the checks and balances against excesses of the President. The Republican Party controlled the House of Republicans with a supermajority, meaning they could pass any bill and sent it to the Senate without Democrat input or votes. The Senate was controlled by Republicans which could pass many types of legislation on a majority vote, again without Democrat support. One of the areas where the Senate is supposed to exercise its responsibility to advise and consent is in the confirmation of Cabinet Members. Trump generally presented with inarguably the richest, most self-serving and unqualified nominees ever dragged into confirmation hearings. Republican Senators showed no shame in confirming the likes of Betsy DeVos and Ben Carson who still prove unable to answer simple questions and are embarrassments to the nation. Fox News not only gave him cover but many Trump appointees throughout the administration came directly from… Fox News. Many of the people now running our government have come to us directly from Fox News having demonstrated little qualifications other than having said nice things about the President and having been TV personalities. The recent naming of John Bolton as National Security Advisor is such a man who while having more qualifications than most, sees bombing and war as the solution to any problem.
So we arrive at the point where we got a President who needed to be seen as in control of every situation, who believes in talking loudly while others also carry big sticks and thinks belittling nuclear powers is the path to success. He’s gotten rid of anyone with either experience or willingness to disagree with a man who literally knows nothing. He gets enough public support for every ridiculous action from Fox and now has a mad bomber whispering in his ear.
At the time of this writing, I don’t know whether it was an unnecessary war with North Korea, China, or Russia that resulted in the destruction of most of the world. I don’t know the specific who, just the how. Trump, Fox News, and a submissive Republican Congress could take full responsibility if they were still here.🔷
(This piece was first published on Enigma in Black.)