Category Archives: Donald Trump

Horrible Ideas, Vol. Eleventybillion

The Trump regime actually thinks this is a good idea?

Miller also noted on Saturday that Trump administration officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose all websites and social media sites they visit, and to share the contacts in their cell phones. If the foreign visitor declines to share such information, he or she could be denied entry. Sources told CNN that the idea is just in the preliminary discussion level. The social media posts calling for jihad by San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik — made under a pseudonym and with strict privacy settings — are part of this discussion. How such a policy would be implemented remains under discussion.

Jesus ever-loving Christmas Tree, you’d think 9/11 had just happened again. What fresh stupidity is this? And can I point out that Tashfeen Malik was born in Pakistan and spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia — two countries not on Trump’s “target list”? This kinda makes Rand Pau’s hissy fit over getting a TSA pat-down look even more childish.

Who would submit to having their social media posts and cell phone contact lists perused by the U.S. government before being admitted into the country? Not me. How would this even work? Will tourists all have to take pre-emptive screen shots of them “liking” Despot Trump’s latest Tweet in order to get entry into Disney World?

Trump’s Muslim ban has been a disaster. But this is what you get when you put the Celebrity Apprentice in the White House. Someone with no knowledge or respect for how government works is not going to be able to craft or implement logical policies. The result is chaos, confusion, anger, you name it. You thought the TSA lines were awful before, just wait until a TSA agent has to check some hapless visitor’s Twitter feed before allowing him through. God, this is incredible.

Somehow “we told you so” just fails to convey sufficient despair this moment requires.

16 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump, immigration, War On Terror

The Alternative Fact That Shook The Nation

[UPDATE]:

I hate it when I’m right about this stuff.

——————————————–

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe…”

I confess, even I have been a little taken aback by this. The lie was so blatant, so obvious, that even people who would no sooner pay attention to a White House press briefing than pick up a copy of Scientific American were stunned by it. I mean, I got texts from completely non-political family members about it, and they were shocked at the chutzpah.

Here is a close-up of Sean Spicer’s eyes as he told his lie:

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What I see here is panic. The only thing missing is the gun to his head. The entire charade, as both Michael Moore and Mika Brzezinski noted, looked like a hostage tape. He’s saying this because he was forced to, and he knows exactly the pile of shit his boss is making him wade into, and he knows there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. Indeed, the statement sounds like it was written by Trump himself. The hyperbole, the grandiosity, are straight out of Trump’s Twitter feed.

Ari “We know for a fact that there are weapons there” Fleischer, a man who has told his share of bald-faced lies, said this:

“This is called a statement you’re told to make by the President. And you know the President is watching,” Fleischer wrote.

So while a stunned nation hashes and rehashes What It All Means®, I’m particularly hung up on this one fact:

The President of the United States forced his spokesperson to lie to the American people about how many people watched his inaugural.

This stupid, petty, in-the-grand-scheme-of-things meaningless thing was THAT important to him. He is supposed to be the leader of the free world focused on, you know, important stuff. But he forced his spokesbot to tell an obvious, easily checked lie about how many people watched his inaugural. It is that important for Trump. He must have the biggest, the best, the most, the (fill in the blank superlative), and yes, he will die on this hill. What little political capital he had was squandered on something stupid like crowd size because Trump demanded it.

Just let that sink in for a minute. It’s just … astonishing.

I know there’s been a lot of speculation about some deeper strategy here: that this marks the latest salvo in the Trump Administration’s war on the media, that Trump is attempting to delegitimize the national news media and delegitimize the entire concept of truth, that this marks the end of “access journalism,” etc.

While some of this may be true, I really don’t think it’s that complicated. I really think it’s as simple as this:

Donald Trump requires constant and undiminished reinforcement of his greatness.

This is Pathological Narcissism. It’s scary as hell, because this level of neediness is never sated. This is Tyrant 101. This is how wars happen and freedoms are lost. The fact that this weak-minded man has surrounded himself with sycophants and ego-strokers is not surprising (they all do that), but at some point even Spicer and Kellyanne are going to give up, because even the best enablers can’t keep propping up the naked emperor forever.

Traditionally when that happens, the enablers are marched in front of the firing squad. Or, if they’re smart, they’ve figured out how to get the Pathological Narcissist to self-destruct (see the final scenes of “A Face In The Crowd” for an idea of what I’m talking about … a “leak” for the pre-internet age.)

What will happen here, I don’t know. I see in Kellyanne’s eyes their own special brand of cold-as-ice ambition and craven opportunism:

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She thinks she can manage the Ego In Chief but the thing about Pathological Narcissists is that they are never, ever truly managed. Their emptiness is a bottomless pit. Kellyanne may think she’s smart and has Trump under control but her “alternative facts” flub shows she’s not immune to a screw up herself. She might not be quite smart enough for this situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kellyanne weren’t the first one trotted out before a (metaphorical, let’s hope) firing squad as the Id in charge lashes out those who failed to sell his greatness to the world.

Interesting times, indeed.

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Filed under Donald Trump, media, media manipulation

Man-Baby

Your weekly reminder that this person will have the nuclear launch codes in two weeks.

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8 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump

Real? Or Not Real?

[UPDATE]:

Samantha Bee is on the case.

Frequently when walking our youngest dog Willie we have to play a game I call “Real? Or not real?”

Willie is the most skittish pup I’ve ever met (especially since he’s a ginormous, scary-looking pit bull/Lab mix). He’s a real marshmallow inside though, and is terrified of new things that appear in his space. Once it was a shopping cart that had somehow landed at the end of our street; he wouldn’t get within 15 feet of it for a week. Another time it was a beat-up VW Bug parked on the street that had never been there before. Balloons in front of an open house are extremely suspect, as are the Halloween decorations my neighbors have put up in their yards: those ghosts and witches hanging from trees that catch the breeze are too real for Willie. He’s sure they’re monsters come to life.

So, on our walks I often have to spend 5 or 10 minutes playing “real, or not real?” We get as close to the offending inanimate object as possible, I touch it, let him sniff my hand, we eventually get closer, repeat the touch and sniff, until finally he feels safe enough to sniff it on his own. Once he realizes it’s not real and not dangerous, he’s okay. Sometimes it takes more than one round of “real or not real” for him to walk past the object without fear. He’s still not convinced those Halloween decorations aren’t real. I understand why he thinks that; some of them look pretty real to me, too.

I bring all of this up because we have our own little version of “real, or not real” playing out on social media, influencing our national discourse and possibly our elections. I’ve noticed it with Donald Trump’s campaign, or at least people supporting his campaign, and if you spend any time on social media, you’ve probably seen it too: hundreds, maybe thousands, of fake Twitter accounts, many of which look and behave impossibly real, spreading the Trump message du jour, ginning up outrage where none probably exists, and driving the news narrative for the next 48 hours, days, or weeks.

How can you tell who is real and who is fake? It’s not easy. I’ve learned to spot a few clues: people with either absurdly few followers (and who aren’t following anyone), or non-famous people with tens of thousands of followers are big giveaways. Bio photos of young women with “Hollywood” looks are another clue: the hair and makeup are professionally done, the pose is staged, the outfit is professionally styled, etc. This tells me the bio photo was skimmed from a stock house or long-defunct ad campaign. Many of them have the word “Deplorable” in their handles now, a way of reinforcing the false outrage that Hillary calling them Deplorable was just the most offensive, terrible thing ever.

I don’t know where these fake people have come from; frankly, I’ve come to suspect a lot are tied to White Nationalists groups, as these folks seem to have figured out how to use social media as a manipulation tool. I find the whole thing absurd, and fascinating, and frightening.

Here’s an example: Meet Melissa, (now called Deplorable Melissa)

deplorable-melissa

Something seemed fishy to me about this lovely young woman; maybe it was the Pinned Tweet (they all have Pinned Tweets). Maybe it was that her Twitter feed consists almost entirely of re-Tweets. Maybe it was the professionally done hair and makeup, the “head-shot” pose. This looked like a photo skimmed from an old Revlon ad. So I did a reverse image search. I didn’t get any hits from ads, but I did get several links to suspended Twitter accounts. And one of the earliest suspended accounts had this photo as its bio image:

april-2016

Notice the background, the type of backdrop typically found at an entertainment industry red carpet event. The logo appears to be for something called “Sassy Sweet,” a name so generic it returned dozens of hits, from a line of hair care products to a franchise for little girl’s parties.

So, is Deplorable Melissa a real person? I don’t know, but I’m going to guess not. Over time her bio pic has been cropped and recropped, lost a background, her account has been suspended, she doesn’t Tweet anything original. I’m going to guess this photo was skimmed from Facebook or an old magazine. I could be wrong. There are people far smarter than me, with far better tools, who could figure this out in 5 minutes.

What I do know is, fakery on social media is being used by political campaigns to dupe the media and general public into thinking a message or idea has more support than it actually does.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “So, Beale, basically you’re telling us that stuff on the internet is fake? What next, water is wet?”

Yes, I get that. My point is that in this case, the “not real” is becoming “real,” simply by virtue of its existence. Get enough of these fake Twitter accounts Tweeting and re-Tweeting whatever the VRWC wants people to get hot and bothered about, and it quickly filters from the “not real” to the “real.” Case in point: the “rigged election” meme. It started with Donald Trump repeating “it’s rigged! Rigged, I tell you!” at every campaign event. It was then repeated by hundreds of fake bots and Twitter accounts, ended up on some timelines of real people, and before you know it, they start re-Tweeting it too. Suddenly the idea that election is rigged appears to have substantial support among actual voters.

Did any significant number of people out there seriously believe the election is rigged until the idea was planted in their heads? Doubtful.

And now the news media, which uses socials media as its assignment editor, is reporting on Trump supporters talking about a rigged election. This is the idea which has now been inserted into the national narrative: the process has been tainted, the election now has a pall of illegitimacy surrounding it, you can’t trust the institution. All of these ideas simply weren’t there in any significant way until very recently (hell, I remember the idea of electronic voting machines being hackable was considered a lefty fringe thing a few years ago). Now we have real people like this guy in Cincinnati saying Hillary Clinton “needs to be taken out if she gets in the government” and, “if I have to be a patriot, I will.” Secretaries of State around the country, including Tennessee’s own Trey Hargett — a Republican! — must deny the “rigged” claims.

We now have the news cycle driven by the “rigged election” meme. This is allowed to happen because our political news coverage is almost entirely driven by process stories, with very little time or effort devoted to substance. So the political press can report on the “rigged” story and whose campaign it’s most likely to hurt and what the longterm impacts of such a claim might be, etc. etc. But has anyone bothered to ask if any actual vote rigging has occurred? I read on Twitter that all across the country, “illegal immigrants” are voting and dead people are voting. It’s happening everywhere, you guys! I know ‘cuz I saw it on Facebook!

Except it’s not happening. It’s not even real. Absent any evidence of actual “rigging,” all of this seems to have been cooked up in Donald Trump’s tiny little brain. It’s “not real,” but now Secretaries of State all around the country must prove a negative. And it’s not the first time Trump’s done this, either. Carey Wedler at theAntiMedia.org wrote about Trump’s Twitter fakery during the primary. It’s a fascinating read, all the more interesting because the person who figured it out is an anti-Trump conservative activist. As Wedler wrote then:

Compared to planting pundits and making threats, using fake Twitter followers may seem benign, but the intention remains the same as more extreme forms of media manipulation: to force narratives on the public in the hopes of amassing power and influence.

So, next time a meme picks up steam in the public discourse, it may help to play our little game of “real, or not real?” Where did it originate — before Jake Tapper and Chris Cilizza and Lou Dobbs started talking about it? Was it cooked up in a campaign kitchen and delivered to the public by a bunch of fake bots? If so then it’s not real, you guys.

Unreal.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, media, Social Media

OMG I Knew It

If Trump TV becomes reality I am literally giving up on humanity and moving into a yurt in the desert somewhere:

The Republican presidential nominee’s interest in harnessing his political gains and populist appeal for a slice of the cable TV market has long been rumored. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been in contact with Aryeh Bourkoff, founder of investment bank LionTree, about starting a TV network if he’s defeated in the presidential election in November, the FT reported.

Three days ago I wrote that I didn’t want to see anyone associated with the Trump campaign “falling upwards” after this disgusting campaign. That includes giving anyone associated with it their own TV show or, God forbid, an entire cable TV network. Fuck you, Aryeh Bourkoff and LionTree. I’ve never heard of you but anyone even considering doing business with the Trump organization at this point deserves what’s coming their way. Don’t you know everything Donald Trump touches turns to shit? That he has the original touch of merde?

And what fool thinks there’s a market for a hate channel? TLC didn’t exactly win big with Sarah Palin, did it? We already have WhitePrideTV on the internet, do we really need it on cable? Please.

I’m starting to think this was the grift all along.

Meanwhile, let the parodies begin:

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, media, Media

There’s No Downside To Doing The Right Thing

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing”

[UPDATE]:

Drip drip drip ….

One team managed Emily West, a budding musician who later appeared on “America’s Got Talent.” The other managed Luke Bryan, a country singer and songwriter who has gone on to notable success.

During the boardroom session that decided which team did the better job transforming its artist, Trump turned the conversation sharply ― and at times, uncomfortably ― to West’s physical appearance, specifically her skin.

“I assume you’re gonna leave this off, don’t put this shit on the show, you know. But her skin, her skin sucks, okay?” he says, according to the transcript. “I mean her skin, she needs some serious fuckin’ dermatology.”

Mild, compared to “pussy-grabbing,” but I assume this is just the start …

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That Donald Trump is a repulsive, sexist bigot has been the worst-kept secret in media and entertainment circles for years. Everyone who has ever worked with him or been around him has known this. I’ve heard stories from my industry friends of things Trump has said to female entertainers at awards shows, charity events and the like. Things that reveal who he is: a man who sees women as objects, not human beings.

It’s long past time for these people to come forward. Because it’s one thing when you’re talking about a skeevy TV star (paging Bill Cosby!). It’s quite another when that person is seeking elected office — and not just any elected office, but the highest office in the land. He wants to be President of the United States, you guys. This shit’s important. It actually matters.

And to be fair, women have come forward, actually. But they aren’t “names,” they haven’t received traction in the media. We’re now starting to see a trickle of reports make it onto the airwaves, but I just have to wonder why this hasn’t happened already?

A big reason, of course, is how women are treated when they come forward with stories of sexual assault. We’re called liars, sluts, gold-diggers, accused of looking for a payoff. But now that we have Trump bragging about how fame allows him to assault women, maybe more will come forward.

There’s plenty of evidence out there on video, too. The story is that there are “Apprentice” outtakes in which Trump uses the “n” word, and worse. Because TV producer Mark Burnett owns “The Apprentice,” leaking this video could result in costly litigation. Now that a Clinton supporter has perhaps offered to pay those fees, we might actually see that video. We need a whistleblower to put the final nail in Donald Trump’s sad, delusional, despicable campaign.

Because the sad truth is, America doesn’t believe anything unless they actually see it on TV. Someone can tell you Donald Trump pulled you into a bedroom and tried to rape you, but in modern America where we have to “check the kerning” on everything, we are a nation of skeptics.

Women describing sexual assault in particular are viewed with doubt, anyway. So I get why it’s hard. I get why there’s reluctance. But now is not the time to be squeamish. Now is the time to be brave. The fate of the republic is literally at stake.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, media

I Don’t Feel Sorry For The Crazy Party

This election just reached Defcon Crazy. I don’t even know what to think, except that I don’t see how Donald Trump can stay in the race at this point. But on the other hand, he’s such a stubborn narcissist, and his supporters are so crazy themselves, I don’t see how he can drop out.

Republicans are in a fine pickle, my friends. Trump is bleeding “elites” — Hugh Hewitt, Mike Crapo, John Thune, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, etc. etc. have all withdrawn support. The RNC has reportedly halted its Victory Project activities. Paul Ryan disinvited Trump from a rally today.

But Trump is standing firm, in interviews and on Twitter:

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And his ardent supporters are standing behind him. Paul Ryan was booed and heckled by Trump supporters at his rally today — the one he’d disinvited the candidate from:

Defiant Trump supporters voiced their frustration at Ryan and other Republicans who spoke at the county fairgrounds in front of two large American flags, rows of pumpkins and stacks of straw. Ryan — who said Friday he was “sickened” by Trump’s words — was heckled with shouts of “Shame on you!” and “You turned your backs on us!”

(By the way, has anyone checked on Ted Cruz? Seems like just yesterday he was endorsing Trump. He’s gotta be kicking himself now.)

Trump has people who love him precisely because he’s a boor and a pig and a bigot, not despite. These are the people who are cheering the candidate on now (note the 57k “likes” on that Tweet as of 2:40 pm today, a number which had grown to 62k as of 7:40 pm). That chorus of fans is all his ego needs to convince him to stay in the race. And will the RNC make that impossible by withdrawing financial support, GOTV assistance, etc? I don’t see how, especially as they have down-ticket races they are desperate to win. Replacing Trump on the ticket seems increasingly impossible, and by the way: how hypocritical is it that just yesterday Republicans told us they couldn’t extend voter registration a day because of a hurricane, but now some want to scrap the entire ticket (or at least half of it)? Puh-leeze!

Sorry, Republicans, but you own this one. No, actually, not sorry. Not sorry at all. You had ample evidence that Donald Trump was unfit for office, a sleaze and a bigot and someone who would definitely cause problems for you as the nominee. To your party’s credit, some of you actually realized this early on. Kudos to the #NeverTrump crowd who showed some spine.

Too many conservatives didn’t (and still don’t). I especially love those phony Christians like Tony Perkins, who would rather support a man who brags about how he can grab a woman’s crotch because he’s famous, than the Democrat, because,

[…] Christians “are left with a choice of voting for the one who will do the least damage to our freedoms.”

Yeah, nothing screams “freedom” like having your privates mauled by a famous guy. Let’s empower this perv by making him president! But I digress.

We’ve known Trump is repulsive for months. We’ve seen the evidence. We heard him say despicable things about Mexicans, Latinos, people of color, Muslims, atheists, you name it. We’ve seen the lawsuits. The New York Times wrote about his refusal to rent to African Americans. The Los Angeles Times wrote about how he wanted to fire unattractive women. We heard what he said about Miss Universe. None of this is new, guys. Somehow seeing it on video is more powerful, I get it. And so maybe this is the last straw. But I don’t see an out here for anyone on the right. Just take your lumps, lose the election, and for God’s sake, try to figure out how you fucked up and gave the big prize away to a despicable turd like Donald Trump.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump

Ha Ha He Was Totally Kidding You Guys

Donald Trump’s surrogates are scrambling to defend the GOP candidate, who mentioned the possibility of “2nd Amendment Solutions” to stop Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court nominations.

This seems to be a theme with the Republican fringe. Remember this?

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Someone remind me what happened not long after the above appeared? Oh, yeah. This.

What the fuck is wrong with people?

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, gun control, gun violence, Guns

Just Another Contractor Stiffed By Trump

I last mocked the USA Freedom Kids back in January, when I called them a “Hitler Youth/Bob Roberts mash-up.” Now Donald Trump is the one having the last laugh, as it appears they’re just another Trump vendor to get stiffed by the man himself:

The founder of viral pro-Trump tween singing group “USA Freedom Kids” now plans to sue the Republican presidential campaign for violating various unwritten agreements. The tween cheerleaders first achieved national fame after performing their song “Freedom’s Call”—with lyrics like “Deal from strength or get crushed!”—at Trump’s January rally in Pensacola, Florida. The group’s founder, Jeff Popick, father to the youngest member, claims it was at that rally that the campaign broke its promise for compensation; only to once again break financial and logistic promises at another rally at which they were scheduled to appear.

Honestly, you’d think Donald Trump would at least be trying to put to rest all of these allegations that he stiffs his contractors. But, no. It appears it’s business as usual at Camp Trump.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Music & politics

It’s Always About Disaffected White People

The same disaffected white people who listen to Rush Liumbaugh and rail against “political correctness” are flocking to Donald Trump and his promise to “Make America Great Again.” Problem is, America has always been great … for them:

Which America is he promising to us? If you ask his supporters, they say life has gotten worse for people like them over the last 50 years. It seems safe to assume that, in the eyes of Mr. Trump’s overwhelmingly white male fans, America was greater a half-century ago. Indeed, it was pretty great — for them.

It’s not just that factory jobs were more plentiful or that women and minorities were largely kept from positions of power. Large national programs that radically changed the country kept America great specifically for white men. New Deal-era systems like Social Security and unemployment insurance; rules that demarcated minimum wages and maximum work hours and protected unionization; and the G.I. Bill at the end of World War II substantially transformed the country and created a booming middle class. But they all purposefully left out most women and minorities.

It’s a little-remembered fact that the social safety net, that product of the Great Depression, initially was available primarily to white working-class men. Social Security excluded domestic and agricultural workers until the 1950s — jobs held largely by people of color and women. Ditto unemployment insurance and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Gays and lesbians, excluded from the right to marry until last year, of course were denied all of the legal benefits of such contracts: inheritance, property settlement in divorce, insurance benefits, Social Security spousal benefits, etc.

So yes, America has always been great for white men. Particularly straight white men. And these are the folks whining that America isn’t great anymore because they have to share their piece of the pie after 240 years? Get the fuck outta here.

I know this isn’t any groundbreaking news to liberals. I’m just really happy to see the paper of record acknowledge what’s really going on with this “Make America Great Again” nonsense. I’ve heard far too much about “wage stagnation” and “income inequality” as if it’s really economics driving the rise of Trumpism. I don’t think that’s it at all. I think it’s the same old shit that it’s always been: loss of white privilege. The news media seems awfully loathe to call out the racism in our electorate, as if it’s impolite to call things what they are. But there you have it.

Here’s something else I learned: watching one of the weekend MSNBC shows, I learned the last Democratic president to receive the majority of the white vote was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Gee, now what happened in 1964? Thinking … thinking

From a presidential perspective, that doesn’t seem to matter: we’ve had several Democratic presidents who managed to get elected without white peoples’ votes. Here’s a nice little run-down. We even managed to have majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate during that time period. So I’m really not too worried about my party losing white voters. If all they want to do is whine about how they have to share their toys, well, let the Republicans have them.

At some point this is all going to change, though. The generation that remembers when they owned the playground is going to die off and a new generation will take over. These will be people who grew up at a time when everyone played together; they weren’t alive at a time when others suddenly got the same rights and privileges they’d been enjoying for decades. That all happened long before they were born. It will be interesting to see what America is like when that happens.

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Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, feminism, GLBT, racism