Hello and welcome to the Liberty And Justice For All podcast. This is Emily Olsen checking in from Salt Lake City. This summer has been hot and smoky from the multiple fires throughout the state of Utah and from smoke that gets into the jet stream from other western states and Canada. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered loss as a result of the record-breaking blazes we’re trying to quell. This week was the funeral of Matthew Burchell, an experienced firefighter from Draper, Utah, who lost his life fighting wildfires in California. I truly admire the outpouring of support for Burchell’s family, friends, and colleagues. Burchell’s funeral was covered live on the local KSL radio this week, and despite its utter sadness was a beautiful display of patriotism and of a united community. It was a nice break, actually, from the usual national political rhetoric that seems to be bombarding us lately. Regardless of your views on the environment regarding the causes of these ever frequent, giant fires and despite your opinions about the current volatile political climate, we can all agree this week that Matthew Burchell, who had fought wildfires for two decades, is a hero for all the lives he helped preserve and the property he saved from damage. This is the first episode of the Liberty And Justice For All podcast and the first in my political series, where I seek to make sense of the hot, volatile political climate we’re in the middle of, where political parties have become more polarized today than I have ever seen. I come from a conservative, religious family. But I also have an increasing number of friends who have a left-leaning persuasion. And fairly recently, I dialed a few degrees to the left on the political spectrum. But this summer, I officially went to the Dark Side and registered as a democrat. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I will only vote for Democrats now. I anticipate that sometimes a Republican candidate will align more with my views, but lately, I have realized that my persuasions no longer match those of the Republican Party today. The Republican Party, in general, has slipped more than a few notches to the right in recent years, so, by default, I move left, but I also made some left-leaning changes to my views. It didn’t happen overnight but I can’t say that I can chalk everything up to the fact that I married a Democrat five years ago, Although that certainly played a role. My husband and I both follow politics closely. We both come from families that regularly discuss politics around the dinner table. So my husband and I discuss politics a lot, together even when we first started dating, as it was a strong point of attraction for both of us and we found that we agree on most political subjects. He persuaded me on a few things, and I probably influenced his views in other areas. I think that I should also explain that I feel like getting married, being a life-changing decision that it is, has given me a new perspective on issues such as immigration laws, reproductive rights, and health care coverage. But lately I have had a lot to talk about regarding national politics, and I have a desire to add my voice to the sea of opinions out there. My main goal in this podcast is to explain, as respectfully as possible to my conservative family and friends, why I became a democrat. In all sincerity, politics more than ever, has become such a point of angst among even my closest loved ones that it has affected my desire to attend family dinners for fear that a heated political discussion might ensue. I am sure you or someone, you know can relate with me. There are at least three main reasons why I switched to the Dark Side. I refuse to be associated with any political party in which white supremacy or racism is an acceptable mentality and practice. I am also upset that the Republican Party continues to slacken support for programs that help to take care of the poor. Further, I’m distraught by the Republican Congress which chooses to turn a blind eye to the clear corruption and displayed by President Trump. But before I plunge into extensive essays on each of these topics, in this episode, I wish to discuss best practices for interpreting the media today. You may think I am completely changing the subject, but I believe that much of the disconnect happening in this country right now can be attributed not solely to the media but our interpretation of the media. With degrees in journalism and business, my career has involved various aspects of marketing, so I absorb the media differently than many. I have always been one of those people who enjoys the commercials as much as the show. Just asked my husband. Much to his annoyance, I will sometimes dissect a commercial to identify the market that they are targeting, as well as any psychographics that they may be tapping into. I mean, national companies spend millions of dollars on advertising, so a commercial that may appear frivolous is actually developed very strategically down to the clothing and color themes. The commercials that pique my interest in this regard are often ones that are not designed to appeal to my particular market group, and I think, “Why did a company spend that kind of money on such a random message? But if I look to see how, for example, a middle-aged man or a caregiver of an elderly relative would view it, the message usually becomes clear. It is with this mentality that we have needed to approach politics and the media lately. The world changed when the sitting president of the United States started using Twitter to communicate directly with his constituents and with the world. Social media and YouTube also speed up how quickly a news cycle lasts. Not too long ago a new cycle would usually last 24 to 48 hours, and now we just aren’t getting all the news if we’re tuning in only once a day. Today breaking news often evolves more quickly than we can blink. That’s why I had made it my part-time job for the last two years to watch and read the news from multiple sources. I prefer to get the news in its rawest form reported right when it happens so that I can better distinguish between news and commentary. Unfortunately in some cases today, we are distinguishing between commentary and propaganda. Lately, it seems we have needed a map, a guide, an app — whatever you want to call it — to tell us what we should believe, when we should believe it, and when we should be skeptical. Actually, the guide from centuries ago about the boy who cried wolf still does a pretty good job at explaining things. Unfortunately, many of us are getting duped by wolves in sheep’s clothing. Be aware that some radio talk-show hosts and cable news networks are commentaries disguised as news. We develop relationships with people based on their reliability and truth-telling track record. The first time we hear that someone has been less than reliable, we double check the next time to make sure there is no mistake in our interpretation of their message, but if someone has been known to intentionally lie, it usually takes a long time, if ever, for us to regain trust in that person. So, how is it that we allow a double-standard to exist for politicians? How is it that Donald Trump can repeatedly lie about big things? But people still give him their trust. I mean, it’s not just because he’s the president of the United States. There’s a 25th Amendment that members of his cabinet or Congress could invoke if we, their constituents, had lost our confidence in the President, and the Constitution has already established a line of successors, at least the first few of which are Republicans in this case, should the President leave office for any reason. Could it be that we look past Trump’s faults because we need him to stay in office for reasons we consider more important than his integrity? Or maybe we think Trump is actually innocent and instead the victim of the wild lies of the Mueller investigation, the Justice Department, and the so called “fake media”? May be we think that all concurrent politicians lie, so we can no longer use that as a measuring stick and must decide now on whose story is the most believable (or the most advantageous)? After all, Trump is not only the President but is the current leader of a major political party in the balance. Maybe you are like so many people I know who are completely frustrated with Washington politics right now and have decided to stop paying attention. If only it were that simple — we could just turn off Trump with our remote controls and he would go away. But as registered voters, it’s our duty to make educated choices and do our duty in the polling booths this November. Voting is hugely important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You should be aware that the Mueller investigation is following leads that the 2016 Trump campaign intercepted confidential strategy data from Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the help of Russian hackers. Mueller is all but accusing Trump of using this data in the last few weeks before the election to actually discourage would-be Clinton voters from making it to the polling booths. Trump’s campaign likely assisted the Russians and other groups to utilize targeted social media efforts — to tell people their votes didn’t matter, that Clinton would win anyway, And that she didn’t need their vote. Was that targeted social media effort in itself illegal? Probably not, even if it should be, but you can probably guess that working with Russian hackers to utilize stolen, confidential, and proprietary data in an American election is definitely illegal. Does that change the fact that Trump won the election? No. Will it ever? No. The Electoral College assures us of that. Many members of Congress are taking the stance that we should wait for the Mueller team to take its course and act when his team produces a report with its recommendations. Of course, Mueller is not the only one who is investigating Trump and his associates now. The pardon-proof state of New York has issued lawsuits of its own that could ultimately bring Trump and others to their knees. More than ever, we need to pay attention to what is happening in Washington, as it’s going to take all of the established checks and balances, including voters, to make sure we are able to maintain the freedoms we enjoy. That may sound alarmist, but I honestly believe our current President has the malevolent intentions of using his Presidential powers to get richer and more powerful at the expense of hurting American taxpayers, the economy and anything else he can use as fodder. Oh — but Trump proclaims that the economy is doing so well as a result of his brilliantness. Just wait — Trump will not have to get impeached for us to experience economic troubles at this point. We are already seeing signs of an economic downturn. Dairy farms being sold in the Midwest and factories closing on the Eastern seaboard, which are the direct result of Trump’s tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs put on us in response. While aligning himself with Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Trump has purposely alienated the leaders of Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, not to mention the leaders of bleep-hole countries like Haiti, El Salvador or any of the 54 countries in Africa. But you wouldn’t know any of that if you weren’t watching the news. It’s to Trump’s advantage that his constituents aren’t looking when, say, Michael Cohen pleads guilty of crimes closely associated to Trump, Manafort gets convicted by a jury, or, the latest — the CFO of the Trump Organization has been given immunity in exchange for his truthful testimony. And Fox News, which some are calling State TV these days, is careful to offer alternative programming during such events or give negative commentary in an attempt to discredit the accurate reporting of the so-called “fake news.” I hate to burst your bubble, but I believe that Trump is not “like a smart person” as he claims to be, and evidence from multiple bankruptcies suggests he is not a smart businessman, but I believe he is a FABULOUS marketer. Although he started his career in real estate, the bulk of his business has been related to marketing. Trump University — how did he convince all these students that his degree program would prepare them for getting good jobs? He has marketing skills. For example, he doesn’t necessarily own the buildings that have his name on them. He just sells the marketing rights to companies that own glamorous high-rises, casinos, and vacation destination hotels. It’s true. Look it up. It has been Trump’s business to convince everyone that he and his family are filthy rich, And in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation, Trump will put Bernie Madoff to shame when Trump is revealed as the biggest con artist the world has ever seen. One of Trump’s tried and true marketing tactics Is excessive repetition of phrases to invoke almost a Pavlov-like response when Trump says “Witch hunt,” do you automatically dismiss Mueller, the FBI, the CIA, and the entire Justice Department as having nefarious intentions? When you hear “no collusion,” do you automatically think he’s innocent? Have you started associating “fake news” as what Rush Limbaugh coined as the “liberal media”? Another tactic is deflection. Trump uses this every day. I think his entire beef with LeBron James, Maxine Waters, and the NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem was created to swamp the media with something other than the news Trump DIDN’T want us to focus on. Think I’m making this up? Just see Trump’s response the next time something big happens in the Mueller investigation. Like on Friday, all of a sudden Trump tweets something that will compromise Secretary Pompeo’s trip to North Korea, and the trip is canceled as a result. Does Secretary Pompeo even have a scheduled trip to North Korea? Perhaps the scariest tactic of all that Trump employs is called gaslighting, which sort of encompasses all the techniques I have mentioned. The term comes from the 1938 British stage play by the same name that is known in the U.S. as Angel Street, where a husband psychologically abuses his wife over time by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she remembers things incorrectly — all with the intent of getting her to question her sanity and not trust her logic or instincts. Do you believe Trump’s rhetoric that being educated is bad and fills your mind with foolishness? Do you actually believe that the so-called “lame stream” media is actually making all this stuff up about Trump? To do so, they would have to coordinate with each other in the three seconds before releasing the next breaking news, just in the effort of making the President look bad. How is that even possible when he and Giuliani can’t even get their story straight about how much and when Trump knew about the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels? I will tell you that I really am “like a smart person,” and so are many of my listeners. I can see through Trump’s propaganda techniques. When we learn Trump has lied about one thing, it usually means he’s lied about another. I can also tell you he is full of crap about something when he degrades women or uses white supremacist language, such as saying that a respectable member of Congress has a low IQ. or referring to immigrants and minorities as subhuman animals. Horrific! My advice — trust your instincts. Apply the same principles of integrity to Trump that you would require of your accountant or family physician and remember that this country was founded on principles of liberty and justice for all. Each of us in this country has a different view of our ideal utopia, but we forget that as Americans, we are in this together. When we try to protect the rights of others, we are, in essence, protecting our own rights. After all, the United States is a constitutional republic, which means that we protect the minority. Did you know that? Article 6 of the Constitution states, “Political decisions shall stem from the will of the majority expressed by means of a free vote. The majority’s decisions must heed the protection of the minorities.” To make our country work, both the majority rule and minority rights must be safeguarded. As you can see, there is a lot to talk about right now, and I have much to say. Look for more podcasts soon that will break down many of the topics I have discussed today, and I welcome your feedback. The things we have been taking for granted for decades just may be shifting. Now is the time to pay attention to national politics so that we may continue to have Liberty And Justice For All.