Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, July 18, 2019

What is POTUS Doing?

Whipping up a crowd into a racist frenzy with the full and calculated support of his staff, all of whom would, in a fair and just world, now be poisonous and unemployable. That's all.

UPDATE: Even though the eventual chant from the crowd at the hatenanny was completely encouraged:

And even if the sentiments involved are exactly his very own sentiments:

He's going to claim he did not care for how that crowd behaved:

Daaaaaaammmmnnnn, Trump Fans. You went and embarrassed him in front of the normals. What do you even have to say for yourselves?

As for what Trump is doing right now, it's called gaslighting. Who do you believe, him or your lying eyes and ears?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

For the Record

Today's vote to condemn President Trump's racist remarks regarding the House Democrats' "Squad" may not seem like a lot, but it is. For one thing, it is a highly unusual move for Congress to make, for another, the act of taking this move required an actual violation of parliamentary rules forbidding disparaging the president in order to properly characterize the things that he said.  The point, however, is that what Trump has said, and the final vote, are now a matter of record.

All Democrats, four Republicans, and Justin Amash voted to condemn. We now have a record of 187 Republicans who are comfortable, on record, with what the President said.

So, how do House Republicans want to deal with this matter. I would say, chiefly, they would prefer not to. They do want to complain that Speaker Pelosi "broke the rules" regarding decorum which is just a quaint thing to assert when defending Trump (not the greatest fan of rules or decorum). And Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney chose to follow Sen. Lindsey Graham's lead and talk about socialism. Because why not distract from the president's racism with a Red Scare (and, I guess, claims about the disloyalty of a certain "dark underbelly" that "pals around with terrorists" while we're at it, to not forget Kellyanne Conway's very busy day)?

In just the way this vote landed along more or less partisan lines, I think feelings about this vote and what it means will likely be interpreted differently by people based on their affiliation. To my thinking, it demonstrates that House Republicans will stick together even if the president's language is egregious, even if his behavior is egregious, for the most part. Time will tell whether this has any effect on the constituencies of those House members later on.

But the point of the exercise wasn't to shame Trump (he doesn't know what shame is) or even to change his behavior (which seems pretty baked-in at this point).  Based on prior behavior, Trump is likely to even double-down. It was to get the reaction of House Republicans down for the record.

And this is now what we have.

But also, just for the record, Rep. Swalwell also made some "unparliamentary speech"--he just quoted Donald Trump:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Kellyanne Conway Is Having A Normal One

Sure, who doesn't ask a reporter about their ethnicity when defending their boss regarding his (checks notes) racist Tweets?

Self-aware people, that's who. People who still had a grip and aren't actually racist might have quit by this point. But damn, she's a trooper.

UPDATE: She has followed up on this on Twitter, and frankly, it doesn't really help--

because not everyone in the US is from somewhere else originally (Native Americans) and not everyone who came from somewhere else necessarily has their ethnicity associated with that geographic area.

It's kind of a hot mess response.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trump Writes Notes to Himself

It's not necessarily the dumbest thing about Donald Trump, but somehow, just knowing that his handwritten notes to remind himself of the lying smear-job he was going to hit a sitting congressperson with were rendered phonetically ("Al caida") adds a little wry reminder that this is a person who doesn't read, and bases his strong opinions on things "some people" are saying.

Maybe there's a learning issue involved affecting his curious spelling choices, and I shouldn't judge him for that. But I think we definitely can judge a person who doubles down on racism by adding a lie (not for the first time) that associates an innocent person with terrorism because she has the temerity to disagree with him.  

You don't have to like what "the Squad" stands for to understand what he is doing here and know that it is wrong, however you want to spell it.

Senator Graham Goes All In

For awhile, it was fashionable to speculate about what happened with Lindsey Graham that he turned from being opposed to Trump to one of Trump's biggest fans. He had been capable of saying quite reasonable things, after all. Was he being blackmailed? Was there a deep dark secret? Had something happened? Could a person be this terrified of being primaried from the right?

I am more and more persuaded, however, that saying reasonable things was the anomaly, and that, overall, Lindsey Graham is a terrible person.

UPDATE: And the Dracula to his Renfield approves!

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Still (And Always) A Birther

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These Tweets should remind us the Donald Trump is always going to be a birther because 

1) it works for him, 
2) he's racist and 
3) the truth means nothing to him

but as needed, he will direct his birtherism to new targets, in this case, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, all of whom were born in the USA. 

It's really the Ur-"Ugly White Racist" stereotype he's leaning on here: "If you don't like it here, go back to Africa! (or wherever)".  He's deflecting criticism by implying that these people of color have no right to speak about this country's policies (even though they have been elected by their constituents to do so) because their experiences make them "migrant sympathizers"--in rather the way birtherism, and its companion, the "secret Muslim" hoax, were used to imply that President Obama's experiences made him sympathetic to Islamic nations to undermine his foreign policy goals

The simple message--they care more about "those people" than they care about American people. As if it were impossible to do both. And also, implicitly, that what you care about tells us how American you are, for a definition of American that is a certain shade of skin tone and a certain flavor of Christian. 

He lashing out with this particular viciousness because VP Pence's photo-op didn't shift the optics on migrant detention in the way Trump hoped. So, in his typical fashion--he smears the critics, in the same way he smears real journalists as "fake news".  

It's grotesque and overt, and exactly the sort of thing Trump's biggest fans are likely to applaud. 

What Mike Pence Saw And Didn't See

Regarding his visit of the Donna and McAllen detention centers, Mike Pence said he wasn't surprised at what he saw, that he thought CBP was doing a great job, that the conditions were excellent except for what could be blamed on Democrats and that the crisis was Democrats' fault--in other words, Pence and his group saw what they were prepared to see, and did not see what they were not going to see. 

Pence's responses to the trip have cause some to call him a "fake Christian" and I'm not really interested in questioning Pence's religion based on what he's said anymore than I'm sure Pence is thinking about it right now. I've long been of the opinion that people who go out of their way to remind you about their spirituality do so because their behavior would never remind you of it otherwise. 

He took to Twitter (!) to call CNN liars about their coverage--but does the footage lie? Or is it just different than what he wanted to focus on? And while Pence may have been told that treatment was good when he visited, that accounts for one facility, when, sadly, this can not be said for all facilities

Not all of the problems have to do with funding, and funding without ensuring actual better conditions seems inadequate, but it's interesting that he focuses on that. There are also questions about who is detained in these facilities, and for how long, and the fallout from harmful policies that still resonate.  There are also questions about how agencies are run, staffed and lead,  and how stressful conditions create extremely poor morale that shows itself in different ways. Those are questions that Pence might want to take up with his president if he were truly concerned about what he saw.

Not that he would see any progress by doing so. But it would be as useful as his photo-op was. See?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Hanging Laundry

I've been thinking a lot about audiences, lately, especially as pertains to politics. It seems like we are moving away from a time when a politician can safely get way with crafting a message just for a particular audience because the internet never forgets. It used to be a candidate could safely chat away in a closed-door fundraiser or hold forth in front of a special interest group and not really be that concerned whether a cellphone video would come back to bite them--within hours.

After all, that's what happened to Mitt Romney with the 47% comment, and that's how we came to know of Barack Obama's infamous "cling to their guns or religion" comment, too.  The message only would have sounded acceptable to a given audience who spoke and understood the particular encoded message.  The speaker isn't necessarily even being fake or trying to hide what they are saying--they just would say something a bit differently in front of a different audience. Maybe more diplomatically. It happens in other professions, too. Doctors and nurses might speak to one another in more of a jargon that would be misconstrued by a patient or concerned family member, a salesperson will say something to their manager that they wouldn't say to a customer, and so on.

Politics is a different animal, though. More of what a politician says is subject to dissection for meaning and intent, and it should probably now be obvious that everyone is, for better or worse, in the room when speaking more or less publicly. The result of forgetting who "everyone" is now means opening oneself up to something a bit like what happened to Joe Biden at the last debate--maybe there is an audience (or was an audience) that could hear about working with actual segregationists without some offense, but there are also people in the room for whom that sounds very differently. The skill of speaking to the equities and investment of all the people in the room is a learned skill and probably no one can always do it without error, but thinking about all those people: the voters, the taxpayers, the constituents, the people affected by policies and either included or excluded by language, is necessary and matters a lot.

Social media is a room with everyone in it. It's not really a great place for nuanced messages. People read titles and don't click on links. People share things without considering the source. And people can read a message without actually considering "Is this for me--and if not, who is it for?"  Social media is good for crusades. It is good for reaching a lot of people. It is not especially surgical. It's a sledgehammer, not a Swiss army knife.

Without being very explicit, it looks to me like House Democrats of different factions are using social media (Twitter) in a way that I am not sure I agree with. I'm not screen-capping any damn thing, because I have no interest in getting bogged down in the minutiae and there are literally thousands of people who are not me who will line up to do just that. Having made politics their business, I don't know if they have momentarily lost sight of what audience they are intending to reach, but I have noticed we are all able to see them. So I openly wonder--are they being messy by design? Or should they just get their laundry off the timeline and take this nonsense to the DM's?

Or better yet, find themselves a quiet room? I don't know. I just hate to see it. I'll just add that message discipline should be the responsibility of not just members of congress but their staff and it isn't really too much to ask people not to do call-outs of co-workers for the sake of professionalism--no matter what that person's role might be.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

This is Not From a Parody Account

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Today, Trump will be entertaining some of his fringe social media allies to give them legitimacy because legitimate news doesn't cater to his pathology the way he thinks they should.  The way Trump posted this could be assumed to be with a winking acknowledgement of his media persona as a name-calling, vain, chronic narcissist. As in, he "gets" the joke.

But it isn't a joke--the is who the president of the United States is. He's a shameful, insulting person who is on his way to meltdown when his inadequacies are correctly portrayed. When he says "just kidding"--he's not. It is a cold trick to point out that journalism as a business is in trouble; a colder trick to portray it as being the fault of the people who are trying to do a good job reflecting the facts as they are without fear or favor, while he rewards sycophants and liars. It is another to say "we will not let them get away with it much longer" as a person who swore to uphold the Constitution, which enshrines freedom of the press. He is issuing a threat.

This would be "normal" if it came from a parody account--a series of Tweets that display the worst of the man. But this is how he represents himself--a conscious choice. A deplorable one.