The Attack of the Cohen-Heads!

twentytwentynews, michael, cohen

Franklin, Contributor

Disclaimer: This story was originally put in the “Catch-and-Kill” bin, but after possibly declining several offers of obscene amounts of money to bury it like a gnawed bone in the backyard, it was quietly moved to the “Catch-and-Release” bin. (Please refer to paragraph 17, section C of your non-disclosure agreement for more details.) Or, we just made this shit up to point out how surreal it is that people eagerly read tabloids for their unparalleled journalistic excellence regarding celebrity alien abductions and “SHOCKING REVELATIONS!” and that tabloids can easily afford to pay out millions for salacious gossip.

Please note that this story is written by a hipster, questionably sober, Yorkie Canine-American with poor typing skills and acute attention deficit disorder when in the presence of squirrels, but everything else is undeniably and completely true, unless it is not, or if there is pending litigation.

Provided that the Era of Trump miraculously doesn’t end in some apocalyptic nuclear winter, historians will remain perplexed when they try to understand the unwavering, cult-like support of The Orange One’s followers. Trump was, indeed, prescient when he declared he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his base. In fact, the leader of Trump’s fan club, Michael Cohen, expressed his passionate love of the Mango Mussolini by saying he would take a bullet for The Don. The media has labeled Cohen as Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer”, but it seems more likely that Cohen is the cartoonish embodiment of a mafia henchman in its’ most hackneyed and clichéd portrayal. His defenders should be called “Cohen-heads” because Trump has violently grabbed them “by the base of their snarglies!”

Perhaps, they are not human after all…

While America consumes mass quantities in deep regret over electing a moron con-man for president, they realize that this is just the beginning of “The Attack of the Cohen-heads!” The Cohen-heads are generally a Machiavellian species devoid of morality and ethics with the singular purpose of amassing wealth, the tacky trappings of luxury, and high social status. They are related to another alien life-form, although of much lower social class, called Trumpsters who worship the Orange One and have an innate, uncanny ability to rationalize and legitimize the most disgusting and outrageous behavior of their tweeting, golfing, incoherent god. Trumpsters and Cohen-heads have infiltrated America posing as normal humans, but they can be detected by examining their right-wing conspiracy-laden social media rants, their obsession with incarcerating Hillary Clinton, and their inexplicable love of artificial tanning while eating Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.

The Cohen-heads and Trumpsters share a mean-spirited worldview and pursue their political agenda like famished locusts that leave nothing in their wake but destruction and famine. Their obvious hypocrisy and inability to tell the truth is baffling to the humans who interact with them. The appear outwardly like others in the community, but in truth, they’re an ideological leech that feeds off its host body, directing their skin-suit to tweet with the hive-mind of Fox and The Orange One to receive their next instructions for global dominion. They seek to colonize the Earth and use misinformation and mass media as weapons of war. They may also be using long red ties held together with tape, we’ve heard.

Now, I know you think that this is a wild conspiracy theory, but it is obvious that The Orange One is not human. His skin tone is clearly alien and his diet consists of eating mostly artificial substances. His weak grasp of language is also a major clue that he is simply not from here. The Cohen-heads, also clearly aliens, aligned with the Trumpsters to ensure that they amass wealth, which they may be sending back to their gilded, intergalactic mothership, “The Covfefe.”

Clearly, there is no other explanation as to how Trump got elected or how he continues to have an approval rating in the double digits. It defies all reason and it must be some sort of alien plot for harvesting the planet. Any sort of rational justification for the existence of Michael Cohen has been debunked and he remains categorized as an extraterrestrial parasite.

There are two choices for Americans as they suffer the Attack of The Cohen-heads, you can put your tin-foil MAGA hat back on and pretend everything is normal until you notice your skin slowly turning orange, or you can join The Resistance, learn the truth, and vote.

Don’t believe the Cohen-head who said, “When my people come to colonize this planet, you will be on the protected rolls, and no harm will come to you.” To them, you are nothing more than mammal flesh waiting to be charred in a flame pit while they consume mass quantities.

Members of The Resistance have little choice but to “Narftle the Garthok!”. If you’re human and reading this, you know exactly what I mean…

Who gets to define “fake news”?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

As Facebook faces a Congressional inquiry and public relations nightmare into their sharing of private user information and the dissemination of fake news, we must determine what exactly makes a news story fake. It’s not enough to simply claim that a biased or slanted piece is fake and it’s also dangerous to haphazardly label satire and other forms of written expression as fake to suppress circulation.

News is broadly defined as the reporting of recent noteworthy or important events. It is supposed to convey the facts and the relevant, salient details of a situation that has changed. Pieces are published or broadcast based on their potential to engage news consumers and that decision is based on a subjective opinion of the piece’s newsworthiness or importance. Obviously, opinions and editorials are commentary on news, but in today’s media landscape they are often infused in the reporting of news. Opinion injected into news may be annoying or distasteful, but it doesn’t necessarily render news as suddenly fake. It may make the presentation of the news slanted and may influence consumers to feel a certain way about it. When this happens in its most extreme form, it is propaganda.

Fake news is a deliberate attempt to make a news story appear true when the writer or publisher knows that it is based on lies, hearsay, or that pertinent facts have been purposely omitted. This can be treacherous as stories develop quickly, change dramatically in substance, and when the totality of facts is not immediately known.

Although the methods and forms of news products has changed, it is worth remembering that this conflict is certainly not new in our society. Revisiting the legacies of William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and Joseph Goebbels are, indeed, illuminating when studying the effects of mass media and deliberate bias in shaping public opinion. Fundamentally, mass media communication has always been a deliberate decision between a sender of information and a receiver. In this discussion, both bear culpability in the arena of “fake news.” Senders, or publishers, have a responsibility to accurately label their content. Receivers, or consumers, bear the task of determining the validity of content and, more importantly, must accept the idea that no one source should be blindly accepted as definitive. Consumers need to do their research. Publishers need to be ethical and carefully label content to avoid consumer confusion.

For example, twentytwentynews.com is clearly left-wing commentary and it’s labeled as such. The moniker of “news” in the title is appropriate because it deals with changing, noteworthy current events and it’s made immediately clear to readers that the news is presented through editorial comment. No one comes to this site expecting a “just the facts” presentation devoid of interpretive insight or commentary. Just in case there is any confusion, the editor and mascot is a hipster Yorkie, which should serve as a big clue to those might mistake it for, say, CNN or The New York Times. Twentytwentynews.com doesn’t pretend to be something that it is not and, in fact, celebrates its dedication to liberal ideology and political policy. For example, when we’ve had fake satirical interviews between the Yorkie and public figures, it’s not masquerading as truth and may God help you if you are confused in any way. If you are, we’ll have Franklin, the Yorkie editor-in-chief call you to clear up any misunderstandings.

In a world where we can’t trust corporate publishers to be forthright about their labeling of content and suspect that news stories may be slanted for political purposes, it is up to consumers to do their research and step out of their algorithmic, pre-determined comfort zones. However, after you fight off nausea due to watching a few minutes of Fox and Friends to learn how crazy people think, you can always come back to twentytwentynews.com for some mental healing and reading material that is significantly higher than our president’s preferred fourth-grade vocabulary level.

The battle over defining “fake news” is just one skirmish in the modern media war. The only way to win in this war is to seek higher truths, to critically read dissenting opinions, and to remain skeptical and analytical.

Remember, if it walks like an orange spray-tanned, narcissistic, bullying, grifter ignoramus, if it talks like an orange spray-tanned, narcissistic, bullying, grifter ignoramus, if it tweets like an orange spray-tanned, narcissistic, bullying, grifter ignoramus, it’s probably Donald Trump and don’t let delusional apologetic conservative blow-hards with orange-tainted lips tell you any different.

Another day, Another Shitastrophe

trump, shitstorm

Franklin, Contributor

As I ponder the onslaught of political gaslighting, I’ve come to relish the memory of a gentler time when our biggest scandal was the president sporting a tan suit. Between porn stars, money laundering schemes, clandestine meetings with Russians, and living large on the taxpayer’s dime, the Trump administration can only be described as a “shitastrophe”. It began as a notably large shit show and rapidly morphed into a category 5 shitastrophe. For the linguistically curious, that’s synonymous with “clusterfuck”, but several degrees worse because it was a wholly preventable condition and one that could be eradicated immediately if Congressional conservatives would simply open their eyes.

We all understand the importance of rallying behind your party’s surprise leader, even if he is a vulgar, mean-spirited, philandering, pathologically lying ignoramus. We get the part about passing an agenda and tolerating “eccentricities”. We even get the part about how he deserves a little slack for being inexperienced in politics and governing. However, conservatives have urinated on their collective moral conscience, and traded basic accountability for idol worship, in their self-loathing, cult-like worship of Trump.

The Democrats can continue to illuminate the obvious unethical and illegal machinations of Trump and his confederacy of self-promoting shysters, but until Republicans come to some minute degree of existential epiphany, they remain happy to look the other way and recruit more delusional apologists. Every day is another day of shitastrophe that they pretend is justified, excusable, and unremarkably normal. It’s like watching a fire-breathing, live-grenade juggling chihuahua unicycling through a warehouse full of fireworks while shouting, “Nothing to see here!” in perfectly pronounced Klingon.

We are witnesses to a mob-like criminal enterprise destroying government agencies and constitutional norms for their own profit and self-aggrandizement. We are subject to an unrelenting diatribe of lies and told that the facts are contextually pliable and inherently unreliable. We are asked to make our own morality into an irrelevant emoji as an apologetic means to excuse the blatant bad behavior of our leader, who refers to all of his actions and promises in absurd, delusional superlatives.

So, now the Department of Homeland Security will track journalists and “media-influencers” to keep us safe from having to hear any criticism of America, or its Shit-Gibbon-in-Chief. Just another shovel of excrement to ensure the longevity of the shitastrophe. As if the trade war, the dismantling of environmental safety regulations, and the daily revelations of scandal just wasn’t enough corrosive crap?

As the abomination of Trump’s shitastrophe spreads, we must recognize that the only way to win this war of minds and hearts is to strenuously exercise the First Amendment. This is more than a resistance of memes, more than well-organized protest marches with creatively snarky home-made signs. This is about finding new and creative means to get galvanizing messages to the mainstream and learning innovative ways to craft narratives that inspire and unite.

Like many, I begrudgingly gave Trump a chance in the hope that the weight of presidential responsibility would temper his juvenile urges and narcissistically-driven penchant for chaos. Trump not only failed, but showed that his worst is a looming evil promise. We cannot afford a second term of Trump. We cannot be apathetic as he uses his first term to further divide us. Underestimating him would be devastating and stunningly foolish.

As I write this, Trump is sending National Guard troops to the southern border to stop an imaginary threat and to give his angry base more fuel for their racist fires. As I write this, his ex-campaign manager, Manafort, is facing hundreds of years in prison and trying to craft benign explanations for all his nefarious Russian entanglements. As I write this, the porn star Stormy Daniels, is litigating her hush money contract with Trump and his greasy attorney, Cohen. As I write this, I wonder what thing he will next deface or what vital institution he will cripple. I cringe as he smears excrement on the public trust. As I write this, I count the days until we vote again and pray we have someone to vote for, instead of against. I miss Obama in his tan suit.

Another day, another shitastrophe in the era of Trump.

We’re Watching the EPA get Neutered

trump, epa, pruitt, neuter

Jerry Waters, Contributor

Proving that it’s much easier to destroy than to create, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has directed the agency in charge of protecting our environment to eliminate Obama-era gas mileage and emissions regulations for automakers. Maybe, next week corporations can just dump poisons in our drinking water and… oh, wait, he already did that.

Okay, so the new pro-pollution policies come after Pruitt has gutted clean water regulations and allowed corporate farms to spray produce with all sorts of horrifying insecticides and herbicides. Pruitt, like other Trump cabinet members, is on a mission to neuter to the agency he’s been tapped to lead. So, why should anyone be bothered that he’s been crashing at a condo paid for by natural gas lobbyist? What the frack, guys?

Ah, Pruitt, the asshat, who as Attorney General for Oklahoma, took money from the fossil fuel industry and sued the EPA fourteen times. Pruitt, the scholarly genius, who publicly declares that mankind’s pollution has absolutely nothing to do with global climate change. Just chew it all over with a second helping of chlorpyrifos, Pruitt’s favorite insecticide- you know, the one that’s only responsible for about 10,000 deaths a year.

Trump knew that Pruitt despised the EPA and that’s why he put him in charge of it. In fact, Trump made most of his cabinet choices ensuring they were in direct conflict with the agencies’ missions, in order to ensure that corporations could get away with figurative and literal murder.

The downright dangerous and unethical actions of Pruitt are merely symptomatic of a greater problem in the American psyche. It’s the idea that common sense regulations designed to keep businesses from ruining our environment or engaging in practices that are exploitative are somehow too onerous a burden. Conservatives continue to peddle the myth that businesses cannot be good stewards of the environment and make a profit simultaneously.

Trust me, the polluters are making obscene profits. They can afford to do the right thing, but their unquenchable greed is celebrated by many, rather than being recognized as a diagnosable obsession or a malignant evil. These observations are not an indictment of wealth or success. Instead, it’s a recognition of a corporate world that increasingly only gives lip service to ethics and puts short-term profit and shareholders ahead of everything else.

As Pruitt guts environmental regulations, we are left to hope that companies will make choices that protect us. Instead of dumping raw pollutants wherever they see fit, they’ll invest in technologies to limit their toxic waste or dispose of it in a way that doesn’t harm people or the planet. Yes, hope for that because their track records show that they’ll do just that, right? Hmmm, isn’t that why we needed the EPA and regulations in the first place?

Pruitt is also allowing our public lands to be sold or to be exploited for their natural resources. He could care less about ecosystems or habitats. His focus is pleasing the lobbying groups that fill his campaign coffers and give him under-the-table sweetheart deals. That’s why he constructed a $43,000 sound-proof and hacker-proof bunker in his EPA office- because doing the people’s business of protecting the environment, requires the utmost secrecy? Apparently, it also requires a full-time security detail and first-class flights. As head of the EPA, he sure wouldn’t want to be confused with a tree-hugger!

An oil spill happens in hours and the clean-up takes years. Air pollution doesn’t just magically disappear, nor do toxins in our drinking water. You’d think we would have learned from Superfund sites or rivers that used to catch fire. It’s going to be easy for Pruitt to destroy the decades of hard work and research that led to the EPA formulating regulations that have kept America’s polluters at bay.

Pro-business conservatives will idolize Pruitt, but the next generations, regardless of their political leanings, will suffer his polluted, soot-filled legacy as he neuters the EPA into impotence and tragic irrelevancy.