The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 42 – Mutiny on the Ideological Ship of Theseus

In-Sight Publishing

The Middle-Aged Genius’s Guide to Almost Everything 42 – Mutiny on the Ideological Ship of Theseus

February 6, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s do the Trump acquittal at the conclusion of the impeachment process.

Rick Rosner: So, there’s a slight positive thing happening. Mitt Romney, a Republican, voted Trump guilty on one of the charges, making him the first senator from the party of the president to vote that president guilty, among all three presidents who have had impeachment trials.

Jacobsen: Have all three presidents been Republican or an admixture?

Rosner: Andrew Johnson was Republican. Clinton was democratic. In every case except for Romney, no senator from that president’s political party voted against him. So, of course, Donald Trump, Jr., is asking for Romney to be kicked out of the Republican Party. Today, Trump pre-empted television on the four major broadcast networks. Plus, all of the news networks to give a one-hour triumphant speech where he attacked all of his enemies. He called it bullshit. It came out today that Bill Barr, the Attorney General, has shut down 8 investigations into Trump.

Jacobsen: Why?

Rosner: Because Bill Barr is Trump’s hatchet guy. He was picked to do Trump’s bidding. Even though, that is not what the Attorney General is supposed to do.

Jacobsen: Is Bill Barr corrupt, in other words?

Rosner: He has been corrupt. He is, apparently, Dominionist, which is some hardcore Christian group devoted to increasing religion’s power over government.

Jacobsen: Another term is Reconstructionist. They want religion to dictate politics. In other words, they’re closet theocrats. If they will have their way, it will make America more theocratically-minded.

Rosner: Religion aside, he is an ends-justifies-the-means guy. He, Trump, and McConnell will do anything to win. They may have moral reasons for thinking that they should win. McConnell is just straight up corrupt, as is Trump. Two days after the Iowa caucuses, these are the first event in the presidential primaries. They were all screwed up, the tallying. One of the reasons was Trump supporters had found out the telephones numbers the individual voting precincts were supposed to call to report their tallies.

They called these numbers and tied up the phone lines. If the election is going to be, or even if it is not going to be, completely corrupted and full of rat fucking and dirty tricks. Vegas is giving Trump close to a 60% of being re-elected. If we can’t wrest control away from the Republicans now, they can continue to degrade our political system. Even if they don’t get re-elected, they can continue to degrade the thinking of 40% of American adults.

Jacobsen: Is American democracy disintegrating before our eyes?

Rosner: Possibly, Carole and I are starting to have the Berlin 1942 talk. Not every smart Jew or smart gay, or whatever, got out of Germany and nearby countries, before the hammer fell, before the swastika sliced. There were smart people. It wasn’t just dummies who were caught up or who were slaughtered, but there were plenty of smart people or just skittish people who got out of Germany while there was still time.

Jacobsen: British Columbia, Canada has a wonderful and large Reformed Jewish community.

Rosner: A couple of hours ago, I told Carole, “Canada.” We can take her mom with us. It will probably be cheaper to get her senior care there. I am going to look at Canada pretty seriously. If we’re where you are, we’re not that much farther. So, it’s not the end of the world. It’s time to start thinking about it. Because after WWII, in Germany, when we occupied Germany, we had a program called de-Nazi-fication, the Allies.

It was intended to help the German people recover from the diseased thinking that they’d fallen into under Nazi propaganda or having to live under the Nazis. I am sure the most effective form of de-Nazi-fication was letting time pass and then the old Nazis died. Now, Germans are delightfully nice and tolerant, and not wanting to kill Jews. America is going to need something like that. We are not going to get it. Because, regardless of what happens in the election, Fox News and all the other far-Right sources of bullshit will continue to pump out bullshit.

So, I’m not sure that democracy is falling apart right in front of our eyes, as you said. It has, certainly, been irreversibly changed. To get to anywhere, we’re not getting back to anything. We’re not getting back to before Fox News or this latest wild increase in popular derangement. But to get to somewhere where the derangement is less and effects a smaller percentage of the population, there’s going to need to be legislation, which is going to be tough because the Republicans will still have, even if they lose, a 2/3rds chance of holding onto the Senate.

Even if they lose, they will still have a narrow minority and will continue to be able to fuck things up in the Senate. To legislating information, we haven’t done a good job so far. Putting limitations on bullshit, legal limitations, is going to be a tough sell in a country that has the First Amendment. Right now, conservatives in the country care more about the Second Amendment, the ‘Guns Amendment,’ but, if bullshit perpetrators become in charge and continue lying to people, then the First Amendment and Second Amendment will become important too.

There is a famous quote from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.” We’re going to have to decide. We’re probably going to fail to do anything about deciding that; you don’t have the right to pump out lies and manipulate people through targeted lying via social media. I’m on Twitter all the time.

One of the stories that caused outrage today was that some woman let her 4-year-old kid die of the flu because she went to an anti-vaxxer web forum; and people told her not to give her kid the Tamiflu. That her doctor had prescribed for her kid. Instead, give her lavender and put potatoes in her socks.

Jacobsen: That’s really dumb and tragic and infuriating.

Rosner: Yes. What can you do to stop that kind of stuff? You can probably prosecute the mom for negligence, but that is after the fact. That’s all I got for right now. That it doesn’t look good for the election. If the Democrats were smart, then they would see if they could get Mitt Romney on the ticket for Vice-President, and see if they could grab some disgruntled Republicans, conservatives, who hate Trump. Also, in the election, Bernie Sanders is now the frontrunner, apparently. Biden has fallen way down.

Biden is considered a safe choice. Because he has got a long political record, is inoffensive. He’s kind of venerable. He’s been in politics for 40 years. People thought that he could get some cross-over votes from Republicans or Independents who are sick of Trump. Now, we’ll see. The primaries are going to happen really fast now. There’s another primary on Tuesday and one after that. Super Tuesday when 13 states vote on March 3rd, which is less than 4 weeks from now.

But I’m not sure who among the Democrats is a sure bet to win against Trump. Biden was the leading contender. 

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

License In-Sight Publishing  by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s