Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Girtherism: America’s Cry For Help

[UPDATE]:

DTw02QwX4Agz5FT.jpg

It’s already starting, you guys:

The report considers only those incidents motivated by international terrorist groups — so instances of domestic terrorism are not counted. Moreover, individuals captured overseas, extradited and brought to the United States to face trial are included in the same category as people who emigrated to the United States and were charged with terrorism offenses years later.

For example, Ahmed Abu Khattala, convicted in November in connection with the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, is counted in the same category as someone who successfully applied for a visa to enter the United States.

“Doing that intentionally confuses the threat of domestic terrorist attack with the number of foreigners, by increasing the number of foreigners,” Greenberg said. Extradited terrorism suspects are not immigrants, she said, and should be taken out of the sample.

What next, yellow stars on the jackets of immigrants? It’s happening again.

—————————————————————-

In a hilarious take on the Obama birthers, there is a new conspiracy in town: “Trump Girthers.”

These are the folks calling bullshit on White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson’s obviously falsified report following Trump’s annual physical:

But he did say that Mr. Trump’s weight is 239 pounds and that he is too sedentary. His cholesterol is too high, despite medicine to lower it, and Dr. Jackson said Mr. Trump would be increasing the 10-milligram dosage of Crestor to better control it.

At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Mr. Trump has a body mass index of 29.9, which is just shy of officially being obese. A New York driver’s license issued in 2012 listed him as 6 feet 2 inches tall, which would put him just into the obese category.

More than just a piece of delicious karma or even, as some are claiming, “fat shaming,” what we have here is lie shaming. A 70-year-old man is not going to grow an inch in six years unless, of course, that inch is the difference between being medically obese and just “overweight.” The internet has had a lot of fun with this; “Guardians Of The Galaxy” Director James Gunn offered to donate $100,000 to Trump’s favorite charity if he would “get on an accurate scale” (a take on Trump’s own $5 million birther promise. By the way, whatever happened with that?). Gunn later quipped,

I would be afraid that it’s the Ku Klux Klan but there’s no way in hell he’s 239 pounds, so I don’t have to worry about it.

And the internet has been quick to post photos of Trump next to other 6’3″ people, or even the 6’1″ President Obama:

Tempting though it may be to laugh at this nonsense, it actually illustrates a far more nefarious tendency in this administration: a need to lie on behalf of a president who has so obviously made lying a job requirement. And make no mistake: history is filled with examples of how dangerous this can be in the hands of one with tremendous power.

From day one we’ve had Trump and those associated with him saying demonstrably, stupidly false things purely to fluff the Trump ego. It literally started on Day One with Sean Spicer lying, repeatedly, about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd, then lying to cover up his lie. These are silly, unimportant things to lie about and also easily verified, yet someone who works for the president of the United States has been forced to trash his own credibility in a humiliating way so that Trump can continue to live in an alternate universe where he is respected and adored.

We have politicians in Trump’s own party trying to curry favor by sending jars of candy, his favorite flavors hand-selected by an aide who, I dunno, probably had more important stuff he or she could have been doing that day besides separating out the red and pink Starbursts (we pay these peoples’ salaries, don’t forget). It has now become cliche to say, “imagine the reaction if Obama had done this…” but seriously, imagine if a Democratic Senator had given Obama jars of M&Ms with the brown ones removed. Heck, they lost their shit when he spoke to crowds of thousands (raise your hand if you saw one of these bumper stickers after the 2008 election; I sure did).

And it continues today, with Trump falsely claiming that his support among African Americans has doubled. It hasn’t. The folks at Breitbart and Fox & Friends just can’t do statistics.

This is how dictators and authoritarian leaders of Banana Republics behave, not leaders of free democracies. Toadies and sycophants debasing themselves so Dear Leader’s fantasy of being adored is not something we Americans have experienced before and it undermines America’s institutions. We saw it yesterday with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s amnesia on the “shithole” controversy.

If you’re going to publicly humiliate yourself and undermine your credibility on things like whether the president is obese or had the largest crowd size in the history of crowds, ever, period … I mean, where does it stop? He’s already lied about illegal votes, who’s to say he won’t do it again?

Be careful about writing this stuff off as silly internet fun and games. It’s not. It’s democracy’s cry for help.

7 Comments

Filed under Housekeeping

There’s Something About Milo

Here’s a weird story for you: Donald Trump’s hedge fund moneybags the Mercers have embraced the odious Milo Yiannopoulos, apparently in an effort to “make conservatism cool.” From Vanity Fair:

In 2012, they invested $10 million in Breitbart and then watched it turn into a blazingly offensive news organ for pro-Trump opinions; with the founding of Milo Inc. this year, they hoped to break into the next generation. “The interesting thing about the Mercers is that they’re the only people on the right who fund anything that’s cultural, which has always been the big weakness of the right and conservatism,” said Internet conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, chalking it up to conservatives simply being bad at understanding culture, much less participating in it.

In this context, Milo Inc. can be viewed as the Mercer version of the conservative movement’s oft-failed attempt to Appeal to the Youths. (Watch any Republican attempt to prove their hipness and the struggle is immediately clear.) In keeping with their goal to construct a parallel cultural universe, the Mercers, according to one person with direct knowledge of their fund-raising activities, were curious to see whether Yiannopoulos could create a media empire that could bring in younger voters, make money, and drive a wedge in the culture war.

I emphasized the “conservatives simply being bad at understanding culture” bit because, isn’t an old white hedge fund billionaire using Milo Yiannopoulos to appeal to “the youth” the very embodiment of that? If you want to sell to the kids, shouldn’t you find a cool person to do that? And is there anything even remotely cool about Milo Yiannopoulos? At all?

I realize I’m a little past my prime, but I do know and work with a lot of young people. Maybe I’m out of touch but Milo strikes me as the exact opposite of cool. His “brand” is self-serving, douchey, attention-whore narcissism — a gay, British Donald Trump, if you will. And yes, his anti-politically correct persona may be in sync with today’s bootstraps conservatism, but will salt of the earth Midwestern kids really look to a fur coat wearing pedophilia apologist like Milo for their cultural cues? Not on your life.

This makes no sense to me, but I’ve been wrong before. And the Mercers are so rich, they can afford to drop $10 million on a bauble like Milo.

7 Comments

Filed under conservatives, Donald Trump

Marching Orders

Is Trump even trying to look like he’s not a Putin puppet? Not that I can tell.

This was published on May 23 in Sputnik News, a Russian propaganda outlet:

Moscow has called on Washington to settle the issue of the “illegal” seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the United States in the latter days of the Obama administration in a constructive way, adding that if the problem isn’t resolved, the countermeasures by Russia will follow.

In December President Obama had seized the two diplomatic compounds, saying they were used for intelligence gathering purposes. The move was retaliation for Russia’s hacking the U.S. election.

And now, six months later, we have this:

The Trump administration is moving toward handing back to Russia two diplomatic compounds, near New York City and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, that its officials were ejected from in late December as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Just one week after Sputnik said Putin wants his Russian spy houses back, Trump is following his marching orders. But, no puppet, no puppet.

Got it.

5 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump, Russia

Institutions

Hey, anyone remember “Travelgate,” the nothingburger Clinton-era “controversy” over Bill Clinton’s firing of seven people in the White House travel office? There was a special prosecutor assigned to the case and a House investigation. Travel Office Director Billy Dale was indicted for embezzlement but acquitted. The Clintons were cleared of wrongdoing, but it was the first big smear against the Clinton Administration and Hillary Clinton.

This was about firing people in the travel office. The fucking travel office. Fast forward to today and we have Donald Trump firing FBI Director James Comey who is investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia and all we hear from Republicans is that they are “concerned.”

Oh.

“Concerned.”

I wonder what that means:

I wonder which definition of “concerned” applies to Congressional Republicans? I’m starting to think it’s #3.

Look, I keep hearing from people that our institutions are strong enough to survive a Trump regime. With each day unleashing a fresh new hell on our democratic institutions — Twitter threats, cancelling press briefings, a new voter suppression scheme — it seems I must remind Republicans in Congress that you are the institution!

If you are an elected member of Congress, YOU’RE THE DANG INSTITUTION. Stop acting like our “institutions” are some building somewhere that you have no connection to. The U.S. Senate is an institution. The House of Representatives is an institution.

Stop sitting around with your finger in the air waiting to see which way the wind will blow. The wind is going to blow your ass out of office if you don’t step up and do something.

31 Comments

Filed under Congress, Donald Trump

How Democrats Can Work With Trump

First, how not to work with Donald Trump:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced she will vote for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

[…]

This vote does not diminish how disturbed I am by what Republicans did to Judge Garland.

Yes, actually, it does. It says you are 100% fine with the craven Republican gamesmanship that denied the last Democratic president his Supreme Court pick. It tells Republicans there are no consequences, only rewards, for such despicable acts. No matter how much you explain that you are outraged by what Republicans did to Merrick Garland (and she goes on for an entire paragraph reaffirming this dismay) you are signaling your approval of that action. Because even though you say,

There isn’t a perfect judge.

… this isn’t about the judge. It’s about the process. The process cannot be allowed to be corrupted. So when you say,

Regardless of which party is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court should be above politics.

…. please understand, you are negating those very words by voting for this nominee, any nominee, save Merrick Garland.

So, that’s how not to work with Donald Trump. But is there a way Democrats can work with him? Maybe. Because there’s a whiff of desperation in the air. Stories like this one are appearing with increasing frequency. Trump’s approval ratings are lower than Obama’s ever were in 8 years. Trump wants — no, needs — a win. Not “needs” in the political sense, but “needs” in the psychological sense. His ego demands it. As Tony Robbins observed (correctly, in my opinion):

We were discussing false confidence, and you’ve sat down with Trump, so how would you characterize his level of narcissism? It does seem like its born out of deep insecurity.

It is. His entire life is “you win or you’re nobody.” You’re seen and known. Even if people don’t like you, though he’d prefer to be liked, people will know how you are and respect you. That mentality is a ‘40s/’50s subset that some people have that he was brought up with, and it is him. The level of obsession that he has about the media coverage he gets—if you go to his offices he’s got a room stacked with magazines of everything he’s ever done. I know it sounds absurd, but I feel for the guy in that at any moment, his entire identity can disappear if enough people are upset with him. I hope that he’ll eventually adjust to a CEO mentality and be in a position where he wants to succeed so badly that he’ll do something that’s worthwhile. We’ll see.

Trump needs a win. He started out siding with the extremist far right, but they’ve given him nothing but losses. Trump is now attacking the Tea Party “Freedom Caucus” publicly on Twitter. He’s pissed off. He blames them for his epic losing streak. And he’s sucking up to Democrats right now because if he couldn’t get his win from the right, he’ll try to get it from the left.

I know that makes a lot of people uneasy but please remember: Trump has no principles, no political ideology of any kind. His ideology is “Trump must win.” It’s really no more complicated or deep than that. I firmly believe that. This is a guy who has supported Planned Parenthood in the past. He once supported climate change action. He once supported salary caps on executives receiving bailout funds. He even once supported impeaching George W. Bush.

Trump is the quintessential fair weather president. He has no deeply held beliefs, no adherence to any ideology. He’ll attach himself to whichever side gives him a win. Can Democrats use this to get some wins of their own? Maybe. It’s worth a try. Hell, if things get bad enough, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump didn’t come on board for single payer healthcare, as long as they called it TrumpCare! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but the point is, Trump is desperate for a win, holds no political allegiances, and will work with whomever can give him a win. I can easily see Trump ditching the far-right policies Paul Ryan foisted on him and swinging back left. Not only do I see it happening, I could almost bank on it.

Even better, if Trump started working with the Democrats, how fast would House Republicans move to impeach him? The mind boggles.

Something to think about it and discuss.

39 Comments

Filed under Democratic Party, Donald Trump

Culling The Herd

A lot of us suffered severe post-election anxiety, myself included. More than a few sleepless nights were spent worrying fitfully about what will happen to our most vulnerable citizens. And on a few occasions I even had the thought — fleeting — that in this new America, only the strong will survive. I have a bum knee, I need to lose 20 pounds, I’m middle-aged. Is there a place for me in Trump’s America? No, I decided.

If a gang of Trump thugs attacked me in a parking lot, could I fight back? Nope. My kickboxing days are more than a decade in the past. I haven’t run a marathon in years. I need to go to the gym, work out, diet. I need to give up beer. Trump’s America — Paul Ryan’s America — is for the young and strong. The denizens of Crossfit and SoulCycle.

And then I thought … nah! I mean, look at Steve Bannon: more Baron Vladimir Harkonnen than Master Race, right? If this schlub can get away with an extra 30 pounds, so can I.

But not so fast. Turns out I was onto something:

This budget will make America a lean, mean fighting machine with bulging, rippling muscles and not an ounce of fat. America has been weak and soft for too long. BUT HOW WILL I SURVIVE ON THIS BUDGET? you may be wondering. I AM A HUMAN CHILD, NOT A COSTLY FIGHTER JET. You may not survive, but that is because you are SOFT and WEAK, something this budget is designed to eliminate.

This excellent piece of satire had me ROFLMAO and is definitely worth spending one of your Washington Post freebies reading (or just go ahead and get a subscription, you cheapskate. Support the goddamn journalism, already.) But after the laughs died down I remembered my November panic attacks about being old and fat and weak and I realized,

Oh my god. Alexandra Petri is right. They are culling the herd.

And it’s not just Trump, it’s the entire Republican Party. It’s the entire ethos of conservatism: if you’re poor or weak or sick, get outta the way. You’re dragging the country down. You are dead weight on American greatness.

Some examples:

Trump Budget Cuts Put Struggling Americans on Edge

[…]

“I have lung cancer and it’s the dead of winter,” she remembers thinking. “What am I going to do?”

Help came in the form of a heating subsidy: money from the federal government, delivered by the Highland County Community Action Organization, a small nonprofit in rural southern Ohio, where Ms. Feltner lives.

Now, that program is on the chopping block. It is one of many cuts in President Trump’s new budget proposal that would inflict the deepest pain on the most vulnerable Americans — a great number of whom voted for him.

Duh, lady. “What am I gonna do?” Die, of course. Don’t you know that? Get with the program, honey. Stop holding the rest of the country back with your lung cancer and your poverty and your lack of winter heat. That’s not American greatness! That’s weak. So either stop being weak and sick and cold, or get the fuck out of the way.

Here’s another one:

Rural Areas Brace for a Shortage of Doctors Due to Visa Policy

[…]

While the Trump administration is fighting, in the courts of justice and public opinion, for its temporary travel ban affecting six countries, the slowdown in the rural doctor pipeline shows how even a small, relatively uncontroversial change can ripple throughout the country.

In Montana, for example, where nine counties do not have a single physician, it means Benefis Health does not know when a Romanian doctor trained in kidney transplants will arrive. The health care company spent months recruiting the doctor and had been expecting her in July.

“Our health system already has nine months invested in her, and now we have no idea when she can start,” said Erica Martin, who recruits doctors for the company.

Sorry, Montana. Kidney transplants are for pussies. Do we have to make it more clear? People who need kidney transplants aren’t great, they are reminders of weakness and failure and THAT CANNOT BE ALLOWED so die already and stop reminding us of what losers you are.

This one is my absolute favorite: a “veterans rights gun bill” that would remove 174,000 mental health records from the background check system. It basically reverses a Bush-era law passed after the Virginia Tech massacre. Keeping PTSD-afflicted veterans from committing suicide sounds like the kind of namby-pamby thing liberals and losers would do. In the Republican Party’s “only the strong deserve Murrica” approach to public policy, Veterans considering suicide need to get on with it already – -and here’s the gun to do it with. Y’all are dragging us down, man! Soldiers traumatized by war are weak! Didn’t you get the memo? America doesn’t do weak anymore! So go and do what you need to do and get the fuck out of the way because we’ve got Greatness to accomplish, you candy-assed wimp.

(I love that the bill was sponsored by Tennessee’s own Rep. Phil Roe, by the way. An alleged “doctor.”)

And of course there’s this one:

Trump’s NIH Budget Cuts Threaten a Serious Setback in Medical Research

This makes no sense until you realize that the point is to cull the herd and cures for cancer and other diseases are simply impeding that process. If you are sick, disabled, mentally ill, poor, unemployed, etc., then you should be about one thing: getting the fuck out of the way. By dying. If you aren’t in the business of dying then you are dragging the country down.

Come on, America. Get busy living, or get busy dying. That’s the fucking point.

41 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump, Republican Party

Trump In Nashville

You Are My Hero

What a bizarre event.

Trump’s campaign started robo-calling supporters in a four-county area 48 hours ago offering free tickets. The optics they were going for, of course, was, “thousands of people lined up to get in,” which isn’t as hard as it sounds when your venue is the Municipal Auditorium, not exactly the largest rink in town. However, they got the crowd they wanted: thousands of people were, indeed, lined up … all the way down James Robertson Parkway, all the way up to the state capitol, all the way around the building. I’m guessing there were 15-20,000, but I’ve heard other figures that are higher. Let it be said: most if not all of these folks could have fit inside the Titans’ football stadium. But that wouldn’t have provided Trump with the necessary ego-gratification that comes with a “standing room only/thousands turned away” narrative.

Several protesters made it inside the Municipal Auditorium, by the way. Some chanted “no ban, no wall,” and got tossed out. Some turned their backs and left. One, a doctor, unfurled a banner and was ejected (but not arrested). Unfortunately, the coordination of the protest was poor so I’m afraid the message got watered down. Watching the televised speech, you could see something was happening that Dear Leader didn’t like. Maybe other cities can learn from our experience and do a better job of planning and coordinating ahead of time.

As for me, I was out on the street with both supporters and protesters. Any delusions that this wasn’t garden-variety bread-and-circuses were dashed by the dozens of pro-Trump merchandise tables outside (and huge Trump/Pence merchandise BUS, yes, it was a bus.) And from the looks of those selling the merchandise, not everyone submitted a head shot and full body shot.

As for the protest, again, there didn’t appear to be a lot of coordination. Protesters were scattered until around 5:00 or so, when the protest crowd really started to swell. It’s frustrating to me that there were so many different groups doing so many different things — there was the immigrants’s rights group, the #Resist group, the women’s group … people, can we not all talk to each other? Because nothing looks lamer than 30 people in pussy hats carrying Planned Parenthood signs through a crowd of 10,000 Trump supporters — especially when there were a couple hundred other pussy-hatted folks just a few blocks away, unaware of the march. Would have been nice if we all could have marched together, you know?

Also, it seems I must remind people once again that staying home and Tweeting about a protest is not, you know, the same as actually protesting. And here’s a fun fact: you can Tweet from a protest! Really!

So I was a little disappointed in the protest, but I left around 5:45 pm. At that point I’d been walking around in the freezing cold for 2 hours and had a nasty windburn. I understand good vibes were shared later in the evening.

Below are some more pictures from the event:

Some Slogans Never Get Old

Some Slogans Never Get Old v. 2

Great Sign!

Random Shouty Guy

Random shouty guy, religious edition

18 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump, Nashville, protests

4 Times In 29 Minutes He Didn’t Mean It

He didn’t mean it, according to Sean Spicer.

Even though he said it again, and again, and again. He still didn’t mean it.

He didn’t mean it in a box. He didn’t mean it with some socks. He didn’t mean it when on Fox. He didn’t mean it, though he Tweeted it.

Not just once but FOUR times:

He didn’t mean this one, either:

And five minutes later, he didn’t mean this one:

… and he still wasn’t over not meaning it, 10 minutes later:

Donald Trump is a liar, an idiot, mentally ill, or all three. How is anyone supposed to trust him on anything when we’ve been repeatedly lied to and then told the problem was OUR fault for listening to him?

This is one sick motherfucker.

14 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump

Principles

I apologize, I’ve been remiss in posting. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve started about a dozen posts over the past six weeks and every time, without fail, I’ve deleted them. They’ve all seemed inadequate to the task when compared to the absurdity of current events.

And not that I would put myself in the same company as our political press, but I do understand why they all fawned over Trump’s address to Congress. It was like this collective sigh of relief that they could write about something normal for a change. Familiar ground at last! Terra firma. Was the speech good or bad? Whew! As opposed to today’s headlines, which went something like,

wiretap

I mean, my God.

None of this is normal.

Recently I was in New York City at a music club. A guy at the table behind me was talking in one of those loud, overheated voices men use when they’re trying to impress their dates. It was hard not to hear him, and when it became clear he had worked for the Trump campaign, you’d better believe I listened in. He said,

“most of us in Andrew’s office are pretty liberal Democrats….”

(Andrew being Cuomo, the governor of New York, I am guessing). But when the Trump campaign came along a bunch of them saw an opportunity because,

“…Stephen (Miller?) came in and said how if the Democrats aren’t going to be the party of working people, we might as well be….”

… as if the Trumpers give a shit about working people? Really? And so all of these folks who worked for the Democratic governor of New York were now finding roles in the Trump administration, principles be damned.

But our Boy Wonder is no dummy, even he could see what a shit show the White House is, so he was going try to find something in the AG’s office. And how you can call yourself a liberal Democrat while working under Jeff Sessions is a complete puzzler to me.

I heard all of this on the earie, as they say, and it was all I could do to keep from turning around and asking Boy Wonder WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? I mean, kids today, amiright?

Folks, this stuff matters. This isn’t just your resume we’re talking about. There are actual, real-life consequences to the policies that Trump is pursuing. Real people are being affected here. There’s the migrant deported to Mexico who committed suicide hours later, the grandmother deported while her son in law is in Afghanistan. Or the trauma inflicted on this family:

Immigration agents tailed a man as he dropped off his daughter at a Los Angeles school last week. They pulled him over and took him away — all while his 13-year-old sobbed in the back seat.

It’s been just six weeks, and this is the kind of stuff happening already. There’s more: I know people who expect to lose their Obamacare coverage who have been forced to make real life changes as a result: career decisions, life partner decisions, you name it. So the idea that someone would be so cynical as to think, “I’m a liberal Democrat but I’m going to work for Trump because I’ve got my career to think about” is repulsive to me.

And it seems to be going around. A lot of people want to know how Stephen Miller became such a horrible person. Friends want to know how the educated, liberal Jewish Julia Hahn came to write for Breitbart News and ultimately get hired by Steve Bannon as a White House staffer. It’s quite a conundrum:

After college, Hahn moved to Washington, D.C., hoping, she told friends, to “get a job in media.” She didn’t seem to care what kind. At around this time, a Chicago classmate who worked at a think tank saw Hahn at a party; Hahn said that she was a producer for Laura Ingraham, a fixture of far-right talk radio. “I asked, ‘Oh, is that what your politics are?’ ” the classmate recalled. “She went, ‘Nah, I’m apolitical.’ I thought, O.K., there are two possibilities. Either she’s dissembling because she doesn’t feel comfortable being outed as a hyperconservative or she actually is just a pure social climber.”

[…]

“Seeing her writing for Breitbart—and writing some of the most aggressive, white-nationalist stuff on the site—was quite a shock,” Eliza Brown, one of Hahn’s Chicago classmates, said. “My friends and I talked about it a lot, along the lines of ‘Was this festering in her all along?’ ‘Can you ever truly know anyone?’ ” She continued, “Not to wax too poetic about academia, but part of the idea of learning the canon is that it will, ultimately, make you a better person.”

Is this some new thing, people not having any principles? Is it some generational thing? And looking at the shit show that the Trump regime has become after just six weeks, who thinks a Trump administration job will be anything but a liability on their resume in coming years?

I don’t get it, I really don’t. But whatever. The important message, if there is one, is that this shit matters. Everything you do matters. Even if you aren’t Boy Wonder, even if you’re a normal person going about your day, what you do matters. Do it with integrity, honesty and humility or don’t bother getting out of bed in the morning.

That is all.

25 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump

This Is Your Periodic Reminder That Trump’s Twitter Is Fake

Looks like the dumb housewife has struck again.

Last year I had a sneaking suspicion that there was something very phony about Trump’s most active Twitter followers. I’d see people — some of them prominent journalists and public figures — get in weird debates with Trump supporters. But there was something really strange about these supporters. They always had 32 supporters or 32,000 — no middle ground. They universally had “Deplorable” in their names and the #MAGA hashtag in their bios. Their profiles usually represented a minority of some kind — African Americans, Hispanics, women, etc. — i.e., people who were not supposed to be Trump supporters, according to conventional wisdom (and polls). Their bio pics were always extremely physically attractive, not a dog in the litter. And their Twitter feeds were all virtually identical. They all repeated the same pro-Trump lines, and re-Tweeted each other. Many were re-Tweeted by Trump himself. It was all just a little too “straight out of Central Casting” for me, and my bullshit meter went off. I finally wrote about it here.

Since then we’ve learned more about Trump/Russia’s use of social media to spread Trump memes. The goal is to establish the idea that Trump’s agenda and Trumpism in general is more widely accepted among Americans than it actually is. Another goal is to attack opponents — Hillary during the campaign, but post-inauguration, the tactic is deployed against anyone opposing Trump.

Why Twitter? Because our idiotic news media uses Twitter as its assignment editor. There are news shows that literally cover “trending topics” like they’re real things. Last week a WSMV morning news report had the “breaking news” (not making this up) that Trump Tweeted five times overnight. So it’s important to remind everyone that Twitter is often fake, and Trump’s Twitter in particular is super fake. Trump-related Twitter activity does not equate with support for his regime.

For example, a Twitter audit reveals that over one quarter of Trump’s Twitter followers are fakes:

twitteraudit

This isn’t necessarily Trump’s fault, as bots and zombies can attach themselves to anyone without the account holder knowing about it. But when this zombie bot army is Tweeting identical pro-Trump messages, it’s not out of line to question what the hell is going on. For example, see this string of identical Tweets from different pro-Trump accounts. Hmmm …

And there’s this from Facebook (I know I’m talking primarily about Twitter here but the same shit goes on over at Facebook):

c3zdtetweaajsh2-jpg-large-1

Just before the inauguration Forbes did an analysis of Trump’s Twitter following and found not only are there an unusually large percentage of zombies and bots, but the majority of accounts are not U.S.-based:

In Trump’s case, many of those followers come from Moscow or elsewhere in Russia, India, Nigeria and Latin American countries, primarily Venezuela and Mexico.  It’s not surprising that our PEOTUS is followed by people around the world, but those people should not be counted as part of Trump’s electoral base in the U.S.

If you limit the scope of analysis to accounts of users who self-identify as living in the United States, those 20 million total followers worldwide become more like 3 million active domestic Twitter users who included a location setting in their Twitter profile, and thus are likely to represent actual people and businesses. Affinio says they often see large shifts in audience size by applying this kind of geography filter.

So of Trump’s 20 million followers, only 3 million represent actual Americans. That’s … pathetic. Mashable recently noted:

It’s been estimated that up to 80 percent of Trump’s Twitter traffic is perpetuated by bots, singing his praises and hawking Trump-related merchandise. The most famous item they sold was a now-infamous “Liberal Tears” mug.

Tolulope Edionwe at The Outline uncovered that the mugs were a scam, with many customers never receiving their much-desired liberal-shaming swag.

As the Mashable piece explained, a change in Twitter’s mobile app has made the creation of spambots moot. They’re still there, but not as prominent. But of course, whenever technology creates a wall, savvy manipulators figure out how to build ladders.

I have long suspected that a major reason Trump was so enamored with Twitter in the first place is because it’s so easy to manipulate. It’s so easy to create an army of adoring followers on Twitter, which is what Trump craves. And who knows, maybe it’s not him, maybe it’s someone smarter than him — a Steve Bannon type, maybe — who’s figured out how to pull Turmp’s strings by using bots to up the “likes” on whatever asinine thought comes to him at 3 a.m. I don’t know if he’s using Twitter as part of a massive propaganda campaign or an ego gratification campaign or if someone else is using it to manipulate him; regardless, it’s time everyone wised up and started acting accordingly.

So, I don’t want to hear any more “breaking news” about trending topics, or Trump Tweets. If Trump wants to threaten opponents with his Twitter army, bring it on: the “army” is fake. It’s one thing for the news media to cover the latest cute kid viral video, but when this stuff involves our acting leader, and the information affects world events, the news media needs to seriously check itself.

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Filed under Donald Trump, media, Social Media