I have to admit, I’ve been looking forward to seeing Trump attend the white house correspondents’ dinner. Maybe I’ve been secretly hoping to see another Colbert/Bush-type smack down (by John Oliver maybe?) So, I was a bit disappointed, but none too surprised, to hear that Trump will not be going. What I was surprised by were two things, 1) the nasty comments following the announcement on Fox News (which seemed quite similar to the nasty comments after the announcement on the Washington Post), and 2) how classy Trump’s own twitter announcement was. I’ll quote it here for you:
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
That was classy! I would write that. Normal people would write that. It wasn’t offensive. It didn’t insult anyone. It just said, ‘No thanks–you folks go have a good time.’ Boom. Done. Classy. I would vote for someone who could consistently communicate like that.
But, since I’m a whiny liberal who has to complain about something, I’ll share what I’ve been wondering for a while, namely, Is Trump a genius or a nincompoop (or both)? More specifically, does one now have to resort to childish name calling to be elected president of America in order to fix a broken system? Does one have to make enemies of both parties, the media, the intelligence apparatus, and half the country in order to fix the whole country? Does one have to spout lies and nonsense in order to fight half-truths and disinformation? Does one have to be a jackass in order to set things right? Or, is someone who acts like a jackass, actually just a jackass? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
A Google off shoot called Jigsaw has created a program to evaluate the ‘toxicity’ of comments. Websites like Wikipedia and the New York Times are hoping it will cut down on the trolling that plague their sites. (There was an interesting sample website up yesterday but today my website advisor thinks it’s toxic. Bummer.) I think it would be great to filter out useless, toxic comments on the internet, though I’m not sure what would be left.
It seems the administration is fed up with some of the FAKE NEWS (I’m not sure if this is an acronym but it always seems to be capitalized) newspapers and has dis-invited them from the party. I wonder if this was Sean Spicer‘s idea.
What bothers me is this. There seems to be no one to trust, in the opinion of the administration, except the administration. As far as I can imagine, there are only two examples of leaders who maintain that no one can be trusted but themselves. One is a cult and the other is a dictatorship. Maybe my imagination is limited.
So, in case you’re wondering where the clearing house is for non-FAKE NEWS, I guess it must be here at Donald’s own website. (Today’s news is that the stock market is higher because of something Trump said recently.) Also featured on the site is a variety of promotional material. You can get a nice shirt for only $18. I don’t think they have this yet at whitehouse.gov, but it may be coming soon to a Nordstrom’s near you.
A couple of professors at the University of Washington are offering the class “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data“. It starts soon but you can do the readings now if you want to. I loved reading the essay on this topic by Harry Frankfurt. The biggest takeaway from that article for me was his distinction between the liar and the bullshitter, namely, that the liar is concerned about the truth. The liar specifically wants you to believe the opposite of the truth, so he must know the truth and engage with it. The bullshitter, on the other hand, takes no interest in the truth at all. He just wants to distract you. He might even tell you the truth, or some truth, if it advances his agenda. He just won’t tell you the whole truth in context. It’s sort of like if everyone wants to talks about some kind of Russian scandal and you instead go on a tirade about fake news. Anyway, kudos to UDub. I think every university should teach some version of this class and make it mandatory. If you can graduate from college without being able to tell shit from Shinola, what’s the point?
Speaking of fake news, I finally found out where it’s coming from (at least some of it), and, it turns out, it’s from just up the road! I’m so proud. Watch out, The Onion!
It turns out that Mexico really is sending us their worst people. Or, at least, they’re sending us back our worst people. Maybe they shouldn’t be so worked up about that wall after all.
And, the world has just lost the only tolerable liberal. I fear the debate may have just ended.
The Dakota Pipeline protesters seem to have run out of luck. One lesson seems to be, Be very careful who you let into the country. At least, that seems to be the marching orders for the Secretary of Homeland Security. It looks like he’s ready to get started on that wall to the south. United States Customs and Border Patrol
“shall immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall, including the attendant lighting, technology (including sensors), as well as patrol and access roads, along the land border with Mexico…”
I haven’t seen the Request for Proposal yet, but I haven’t really looked for it, either. I hope they get the lighting right. It really makes all the difference.
Did you know there’s a map of hate groups in the United States? (There’s also a report, if that’s more your style.) Some are just armchair haters and others are a bit more nasty. Most of them would like the immigrants to go away. I didn’t see any Native American groups listed, though. Here’s the worst part for me. The state with the most hate groups? California! That’s right, California. Man, I hate that.
I’ve been trying to find pro-Trump coverage, so I changed the settings on my google newsfeeds to favor Fox News, the Daily Caller, and the Wall Street Journal (which seems to be trying to figure itself out about this). It’s been interesting to see the same news, but with a different slant. Of course, the difference is striking when I open the comments sections. I find the trolls are the best way to tell who the editors are writing for.
I’ve been trying to figure out Trump’s appeal. According to one article, it’s that:
We like people who talk big.
We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren’t.
And we don’t like people who don’t look like us.
Another article (same author) claims that what unites Trump supporters is simply a preference for authoritarianism. I think one thing that Trump understands (or just gets right) is that his base is interested in validation, not confirmation. They have no interest in seeing facts or statistics to support their views because they have no doubts about their views. What they want is someone strong and successful who will tell them it’s ok to have their views and express them out loud in public. They want validation, not confirmation. I think this is part of what confuses the non-Trumpers. They see Trump’s claims refuted by evidence and don’t understand why his followers don’t abandon him. But why would they? They follow him because he’s strong and validating. He is stronger than truth. If that doesn’t set you free, what will?
When I started this blog, I made it a goal to post for a month. Now, I’m going to make it a goal to take a break. I know this will leave the rest of the world in a bit of a quandary for a while, but I think it’s for the best. We’ll see how long I last.
In the end, the president seized the day (and a few bridesmaids), when he noticed a wedding taking place on his golf course, not far from where he and Abe made their historic stand of unity against the far-off forces of disorder and chaos.
“I saw them out on the lawn today,” Trump said of the bride and groom, who were standing nearby. “I said to the Prime Minister of Japan, I said, ‘C’mon Shinzo, let’s go over and say hello.’ “
“They’ve been members of this club for a long time,” Trump said of the newlyweds. “They’ve paid me a fortune.”