'Diary of a Madman'
Mainstream media hasn’t done much to protect us from creeping authoritarianism or to illuminate the darker corners of Trump’s criminal history of sexual assault, drug abuse, human trafficking through Trump Model Management and mob ties but damn if they haven’t succeeded at injecting the idea that ‘Biden is too old’ into the mainstream Democratic narrative.
It’s the Hillary Clinton email story of the 2024 election cycle, even surpassing the spoon-fed Hunter Biden stories offered up to national newsrooms by MAGA.
A combination of cowardice, greed, the outsized influence of social media and the desire to go viral with articles has steadily replaced real journalism with podcast hosts and influencers opining for endless hours on cable TV news shows.
It’s cheap and easy; Trump provides endless hours of relatively safe coverage of his myriad trials and the daily outrages and outbursts from the various conflicts he engages in within our judicial system.
Noel's Notes is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Using the courts as a weapon has long been a Trump tactic, having been involved in nearly four thousand lawsuits BEFORE he even ran for POTUS.
Trump is a master of spectacle, training much of the tabloid-based media and its wealthier cousin, cable news talk shows, to pontificate on his every utterance.
There’s no such thing as bad press in Trump’s world and he knows this better than anyone else. The fact that he has become once again the front runner not only of the GOP but is polling ahead of President Biden in several swing states and gaining traction with younger voters augers disbelief.
We are living in a surrealist nightmare vision where the foulest and most deformed human personalities command 24/7 coverage in our media ecosphere.
Donald Trump and Elon Musk also command most of the online airspace - with would-be influencers and Democratic PACs breathlessly retweeting every new offense as ‘BREAKING’ while sharing a clip from one of the cable networks on the outrage du jour.
Often these clips are from Fox News or concerning one of the MAGA henchmen in U.S. Congress - whose only role seems to be as chaos agents serving Trump’s planned takeover and dismantling of our republic.
Many of these cretins have been turned into household names in the relatively short three years since Trump sent his followers to essentially and hopefully burn down the U.S. Capitol and hang his Vice President.
They did not succeed the first time but many of the underlings who hatched that plot have become fixtures on the front pages of America’s newspapers.
Tommy Tuberville and MTG in particular have done lasting damage to functioning as a democracy and are placeholders for the coming autocracy.
Tuberville apparently assigned the task of weakening our military and preventing leadership appointments until such time as Trump is reelected and can hand pick some generals willing to use our military against protesters via the ‘Insurrection Act’ should citizens protest his return to power.
This is quite obviously based on the personal grievance Trump has against General Milley who, serving as Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump, was unwilling to shoot protesters in Lafayette Park in 2020 at Donald’s behest.
Trump famously lamented to John Kelly that he had wished his own military brass could be ‘more like Hitler’s generals’.
Kelly was granted the minor rhetorical victory of pointing out to the dumbest man to ever serve as POTUS that Hitler’s own generals hatched a plot to assassinate him late in the war.
Madmen hopped-up on methamphetamine and twisted resentments should never be in charge of a country - whether they are raging in a bunker in Berlin or snorting Adderall in the bunker of the White House, fuming that the narrative on twitter is that you are hiding from protestors (the real reason Trump wanted to enact instant and violent retribution of the mostly young people protesting police violence).
Just those few bullet points on Trump’s deviance should make it clear to all that there really is no choice between Trump and Biden in 2024 if you care about the future of democracy.
Not to mention Trump is only three years younger than President Biden and has the mental and physical health of someone who feeds his brain a steady diet of salt, fat & speed - and uses a golf cart to travel any distance more than twenty feet.
Evil in the modern era comes from complicity; from seeking attention and career advancement over doing the right thing.
It takes root as so many are plugged into the attention economy, desensitizing ourselves to suffering.
It grows in the permissive silence that allows men to ignore their better angels.
It festers in the hearts of those who repurpose imagery for their own audience, to gain traction and a following in a climate where that seems to be the only metric that counts.
One of the many problems with that approach is that whoever lies the loudest wins.
This is not a new phenomena in the zeitgeist of course, as the oft attributed to Mark Twain quote proclaims, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”.
The difference now is the monetizing of misinformation and the encouragement of individual creators receiving financial rewards for spreading falsehoods and outright propaganda.
We saw this in the immediate aftermath of October 7th when Elon Musk promoted two monetized X accounts as reliable sources for following ‘breaking news’ on that awful morning.
When it was pointed out they were both known antisemitic accounts and had already shared video that wasn’t even from that day and was decidedly anti-Israeli, Musk removed his posts but the damage was done.
The same loathsome South African billionaire toured one of the kibbutzim that were attacked by Hamas with Benjamin Netanyahu today, held a Q&A with the Israeli Prime Minister on X ‘Spaces’ and apparently struck a deal for Starlink coverage in the region.
Netanyahu is obviously providing Musk some P.R. cover to staunch the exodus of advertisers on X since his latest antisemitic post and the firestorm it caused.
The fact that an insane tech bro is treated like a world leader is one of the most glaring examples of the rot and decadence of this moment where whoever can bully or buy themselves a seat at the table is somehow worthy of official visits.
Especially so in a time of such fraught and complex geopolitical instability when Musk has already interfered in the military operations of Ukraine via shutting down Starlink service in Crimea per communications with the Kremlin to protect Russia’s naval Fleet.
Leaving our own Pentagon leadership perplexed and aghast.
Elon Musk is not a head of state and has no business at all visiting a war zone to have a photo-op and get his narcissistic need for attention filled: it’s an insult to all those suffering on both sides of this conflict and a grandiose distraction in a time that needs the sobriety and focus of serious men and women.
I fear that Musk has figured out the Trumpian formula of being such a loathsome reprobate of a human being the media ecosphere becomes utterly transfixed by his every idiotic utterance.
We need not all become digital Pavlovian dogs, salivating at every utterance from Elon Musk.
We’ve been well trained from the Trump years and watching the fortunes rise of social media influencers who engage with his tweets to build their followings and expand their grifting operations.
I don’t want the candidate who the billionaires want to put in office.
I want the guy that the single mom trusts to protect her children’s healthcare insurance.
I want the guy who is willing to look out for our senior citizens and working and middle class Americans.
I want the guy who can stand by our allies and lead from his heart even when political expediency an opportunism dominates our discourse.
I don’t believe for one second that President Biden’s famous empathy is an act.
He leads from his heart and what he believes to be in the best interest of the United States and our allies.
I think it’s essential to who he is; empathy, like fine wine, only gets better with age.
We can all do our part to fight back against the darkness that has taken over much of our world and political discourse.
Real leadership always begins with acknowledgment of the work yet to be done but also a recognition that we have within us the means to change.