Showing posts with label Salon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salon. Show all posts

March 14, 2023

Not being boring is the Trump and DeSantis challenge, but are they about to jump the shark?

 By Hal Brown

Read my related Mar. 15 blog here.

My version

I read this in Salon...

The real image


Double duds: Jim Jordan's and Tucker Carlson's lazy conspiracy theories bore MAGA

GOP propagandists believe MAGA buys whatever they're selling, so why put any effort into spinning lies?

... and I thought that the article could just as easily be referring to both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. You can see how I changed the illustration.

Just about everything that Amanda Marcotte writes in her article about Jim Jordan and Tucker Carlson, with some modification, could describe what might happen with Trump and DeSantis. 

Jumping the shark (see Wikipedia) of course originated with an episode of the popular TV show "Happy Days" where Fonzie was on water skis and jumped over a shark. After that the popularity of the series gradually declined but the term has expanded to mean a stunt meant to be a wowza which turns out to have been be a dud.

Consider how Trump is now hysterically warning that only he is capable of preventing World War III. DeSantis wants you to wet yourself in terror at the woke warriors who want to turn your children into "perverts".

Marcotte calls Jordan and Tucker's conspiracy theories lazy. I'd call them desperate. As far as I'm concerned the same goes for Trump and DeSantis. 

Jordan and Tucker are actors. This is from Marcotte's article (emphasis added):

Both Carlson and Jordan have become famous and powerful by dint of their effectiveness at spreading conspiracy theories. Carlson gets paid $6 million a year, strictly due to his acting chops, whether he's pretending to care about the sexiness of M&Ms or to believe in the intelligence of Donald Trump. Similarly, Jordan rose high in the ranks of House Republicans because he's talented at faking outrage. Yet both these men are showing less passion for conspiracy theories these days than your average unpaid and anonymous QAnon troll. It must be tiring, looking forward to the rest of their lives spent trying to feign zeal over fake culture war fights or made-up controversies. Not that they deserve your pity, of course. Being professional liars is the path they chose for themselves, and they're clearly stuck following it to the end. 
Not that I have to point out the obvious, but Trump and DeSantis are professional liars.

Their political fortunes depend on keeping their lying fresh and entertaining. Here's the 30 Second World War III possible shark jumper from Trump tweeted by Junior.





I don't have a comparable example from Ron DeSantis. The one thing he has in his advantage is that he always comes across as dull. 

This is from The Washington Post opinion piece How much does charisma matter? DeSantis is putting it to the test. by Paul Waldman published today: 
He is “reserved and dry” and has a challenge “forging connections with people.” He’s “pinched and humorless.” He “just doesn’t have the charisma to command a national political stage.” He “has the charisma of a pair of cargo shorts.”

He wisely doesn't try to out-Trump Trump in feigning outrage. He depends on using a dry presentation of the dire consequences of woke policies. I don't know what latest policy announcement could, in retrospect, be seen as him having jumped the shark. I expect it could just the a straw the breaks the camels back executive order.

Both of the top contenders for the GOP nomination depend on not being boring. They are very different in this respect from Mike Pence and Joe Biden. Both of them are naturally low-key. You could call them boring in how they present their ideas and policies. When Biden is particularly animated, or expresses anger, more than usual people take notice, for example:

Click above to read article

Neither Pence nor Biden have to worry about boring MAGA-world since residents of this land of won't vote for them anyway. It's Trump and DeSantis who have to worry about boring the denizens of MAGA.

Addendum
I was curious about this...


so I looked it up:
Click above to read article

Trump can try to gin up hysteria about a nuclear attack but does he really care about the rest of Americans when his house has three bomb shelters? None can withstand a direct hit but why would Putin want to take out Mar-a-Lago when Trump is his pal?


Please scroll down to the comments link and let readers know what you think. Sharing on social media, also through the links below, is appreciated.

February 16, 2023

Salon's Brian Karem's best line: "...extreme members of Congress, with their cocaine eyes and speed-freak jive..."

 By Hal Brown


I am always on the lookout for writers I'd call snarky wordsmiths. They not only have a lot of original thoughts to express but they convey them in compelling, often snarky and clever ways. They often come up with an original turn of phrase which really grabs me as describing an individual or group in a way I'd say was deliciously nasty. 

I think Salon has some of the best wordsmiths of this ilk. Heather "Digby" Parton and Amanda Marcotte are two of my favorites. (You can see their columns at the links.) I also particularly like Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. 

I am not meaning to suggest that there aren't superb writers posting online descriptions of people like, for example, Frank Bruni's of Ron DeSantis in The NY Times:

It brings me no joy to make those observations. It gives me the willies. I’m rooting hard against DeSantis, a flamboyantly divisive and transcendently smug operator with the chilling grandiosity to cast his political ascent as God’s will and a rapacity for power that’s one of the best arguments against giving it to him.

I am referring to the particularly powerful but also sarcastic, sardonic, and satirical ones.

Brian Karem (all columns) is another wordsmith like this who I admire. 


He has some really good descriptions in his essay today:

We went nuts over a balloon! Thank you for saving us, Rihanna


If I had to select one description from his essay which I thought was his best it is this:

... extreme members of Congress, with their cocaine eyes and speed-freak jive...

This struck me as a great way to describe the GOP zealots in Congress even though I wasn't sure whether cocaine eyes were those with tiny or enlarged pupils. I looked up the term (here):

The photo in the lower right is of a cocaine eye.

I assumed that I knew what "speed-freak jive" was, but I figured I'd look it up since I was writing this blog. I discovered it really was a "thing" in pop culture and more than just someone speaking very rapidly and incoherently.

Click above to enlarge. This is a web search on DuckDuckGo.

It is in the lyrics to The Rolling Stones' song Can't You Hear Me Knocking:
Yeah, you got satin shoes
Yeah, you got plastic boots
Y'all got cocaine eyes
Yeah, you got speed-freak jive, now

Note that both cocaine eyes and speed-freak jive used together comes from this song. Brian will have to respond to me on Twitter or Mastadon to confirm this is where he got the idea to use it in his essay.

Musician Howling Waters has a song with that title. You can watch the video here.

Other parts of the Karem essay I particularly liked in addition to the main message which is conveyed in the subtitle about the balloon hysteria that:

It ought to be a "teachable moment": This country is deeply unhinged.

It is possible to be sidetracked by the clever jabs. What he is saying is very important.

Follows are some excerpts that grabbed me:

Millions of people jumped to conclusions, declared themselves experts in downing high-altitude balloons or were too quick to blame Joe Biden for an overblown crisis that would've made a great plot point in "Seinfeld." It was like accidentally tossing a Junior Mint into an open incision during an operation. (Of course people not familiar with that episode wouldn't appreciate this.)

and... 

Speaking of Ron DeSantis, that's why many people speculate he will upend Donald Trump and claim the GOP nomination in 2024. In other words, some are betting Ron DeSantis is the flatulence that is actually a bowel movement. He keeps smelling bad and won't go away, rather like Trump, but he's a fresher squeeze of the cheeks.

I like his describing Nikki Haley this way:

Nikki Haley has now tossed her political Medusa tentacles...

He also wrote about her:

She has a better chance of shooting down a high-altitude balloon with a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun...

I'd add to that reference that it is probably an homage to the line in the classic movie "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie says he was this BB gun for Christmas and is told he'll shoot his eye out with it if he has one.
Read more about this here.

When I read creative clever wordsmiths like these I wonder why I even try to write my blog.

Below: Please comment and share on social media.

October 7, 2022

Mainstream media fails to warn that Trump aspires to be a fascist warlord

Mainstream media fails to warn that Trump aspires to be a fascist warlord

by Hal Brown

Comment on my stories on Facebook (here) or on Twitter (here). Stories that pique my interest through the day are down the page.

Salon's Chauncey DeVega once again tried to sound the alarm about just how dangerous Donald Trump is. Unfortunately Salon's alarm bell isn't nearly loud enough to wake democracy loving Americans  up so they do something to stop it.

His message can be summarized in just the first two and the last paragraphs. 

Donald Trump aspires to be a warlord. He publicly admires despots, tyrants and other authoritarian leaders who kill their enemies and take away the rights of anyone who oppose them. Mental health professionals have repeatedly warned that Donald Trump is likely a sociopath with an erotic attraction to violence and mayhem.

He has repeatedly shown that he has no regard for the rule of law, democracy, human rights or other restrictions on his behavior. He encourages his followers and allies to engage in acts of terrorism and other violence on his behalf. The most notable example came, of course, on Jan. 6, 2021. To this point, Trump has been limited by his cowardice. He prefers to have others engage in violence on his behalf instead of directly ordering such acts or participating in them himself.

This was the lead story in Salon this morning:


By way of 
comparison this was the lead on FoxNews' website this morning:


Alas, Salon's influence is less than nil when it comes to swaying opinion among the people whose eyes to the growing menace of Trumpian fascism in America couldn't be more tightly closed.

The story has been cross-published on RawStory (here) where it is trending and has, as of this writing, 167 comments. 

I have written extensively about Trump being a dangerous malignant narcissist who revels in violent fantasies. In fact just the other day Trump's writing about Mitch McConnell having a "DEATH WISH" prompted me to write this story showing him as I think he fantasizes himself:



I am alway interested in what other mental health professionals have had to say about him, particularly the only one who knows him up close and personal. Chauncy DeVega quoted Mary Trump in his story.

I wanted to put her words into an illustration showing an angry Trump so I looked "angry Trump" up on DuckDuckGo and the Salon article came up first:
Click above to enlarge

Here are the words I wanted to highly with the photo:

Chauncey DeVega concludes his article as follows:
Aspiring warlord Donald Trump has told America and the world exactly what he and his movement intend to do. Unfortunately, the mainstream news media and other hope-peddlers have deluded themselves into thinking that it's all a misunderstanding or harmless hyperbole. We should take Trump at his word. On these issues, he does not prevaricate or tell lies. It will do no good to protest that you couldn't possibly have known. We all knew this was coming, and now it's here.

If the crisis to democracy isn't here right now it certainly is around the corner. Like Putin having amassed his troops for their so-called military exercise on the borders of Ukraine, Trump has readied his soldiers to do battle.  The signs are there. How big do they have to get?

Whether it's the Boy Scout motto, Miguel de Cervantes, or the proverb "to be forewarned is to be forearmed" the message is the same...


Afterword:

The proverb "to be forewarned is to be forearmed" should be applicable to Donald Trump.  For proverb and idiom mavens (from this website):

Many idioms that have no obvious source are often referred to, for no good reason, as 'old proverbs'. 'Forewarned is forearmed' has a genuine claim to be called such, as it dates from at least the end of the 16th century, and could be much earlier. The Latin saying 'praemonitus, praemunitus' loosely translates as 'forewarned is forearmed'. There's no evidence to show that the English proverb is merely a translation of the Latin though. The two sayings could easily have originated independently.

The meaning of the proverb is quite straightforward and literal - so long as it is understood that forearm is here the archaic verb meaning 'to arm in advance', rather than the noun forearm, that is, the part of the arm between the elbow and wrist. The saying is so straightforward in fact that it was originally simply 'forewarned, forearmed'. It is found in that form in Robert Greene's A Notable Discovery of Coosnage (a.k.a. The Art of Conny-catching), 1592:

"forewarned, forearmed: burnt children dread the fire."

Stories of the day that piqued my interest.


This article came out in February. It is now even more relevant than it was then:


The hypothetical look into what happens if Trump goes to prison


Here’s Hoping Elon Musk Destroys Twitter, by Ross Doughat (NY Times, Subscription)

The essay begins:

“I strongly supported Obama for President,” Elon Musk tweeted late last month, part of the spree of ideological comments accompanying his continuing takeover of Twitter, “but today’s Democratic Party has been hijacked by extremists.” Around the same time, he set the social-media platform ablaze by reposting a cartoon showing a stick figure comfortably on the center-left in 2008 redefined as a right-wing bigot by 2021 because the left-wing stick figure had raced way off to the left. Then this week, he expressed the same kind of thought in the abbreviated style for which the site is famous: “Twitter obv has a strong left wing bias.”

And now, at last, we have the news that he’s likely to allow Donald Trump to tweet freely once again.

All of these comments and promises align the country’s richest man with the rightward side in our culture war. But though I don’t know Musk — I’ve never interviewed him or hung out with him in any secret billionaire lair — I think I know enough about him, and I know enough Silicon Valley people like him, to suggest that neither his tweeted self-descriptions nor the criticisms being lobbed his way capture what’s distinctive about his position and worldview.

A term like “conservative” doesn’t fit the Tesla tycoon; even “libertarian,” while closer to the mark, associates Musk with a lot of ideas that I don’t think he particularly cares about. A better label comes from Virginia Postrel, in her 1998 book “The Future and Its Enemies”: Musk is what she calls a “dynamist,” meaning someone whose primary commitments are to exploration and discovery, someone who believes that the best society is one that’s always inventing, transforming, doing something new.

If you think this sounds uncontroversial, think again. First, the dynamist may not care where novelty and invention spring from: Unlike the purist libertarian, he might be indifferent to questions of public versus private spending, happy to embrace government help if that’s what it takes to get the new thing off the ground — and happy to take that help from regimes like Communist China no less than from our own. And he may be willing to risk much more than either the typical progressive or the typical conservative for the sake of innovation. Political principle, social stability and moral order are all potentially negotiable when discovery alone is your North Star.



My comment:

Full disclosure: I have a Twitter account which I primarily use to try to promote stories I post on my blog. I fully expect Musk to allow Trump to resume tweeting. Aside from the negative of handing a victory of sorts to Trump, there are two positives. The lesser is that if he personally invested money in Truth Social that is gone since that platform will immediately go under. The greater positive is that every time he tweets something off the wall or outrageous (which will be most of the time) there will be numerous sarcastic, scathing, and snarky replies, some with contemptuous, mocking, and ridiculing illustrations which will be posted in articles about his tweet.

Related from BuzzFeed

We were on...
"Have you ever had a friend who’s had one of those on-again-off-again relationships, like a less cute Ross and Rachel situation?"



 Excerpts:

.... it was easy to imagine Republicans launching apoplectic broadsides in response to Biden’s sweeping and progressive pardons. The public would inevitably hear tired clich├ęs about Democrats being “soft on crime” and failing to appreciate the seriousness of “gateway drugs.”

And yet, in the wake of Biden’s announcement, the Republican National Committee had literally nothing to say about it. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee were silent, too.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also completely ignored the developments.

To be sure, it’d be an exaggeration to suggest that all Republicans sat on their hands. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who routinely complains that not enough Americans are behind bars, made sure to register his disapproval yesterday. So did one of Fox News’ prime-time hosts.

But by any fair measure, the GOP apparently thought that the smart election season move yesterday would be to let Biden’s pardons go unmentioned.

My own opinion on this is that the timing coming prior to the November elections is smart. Biden has been characterized by the Right as being old and out of touch with the younger generations which these days seems to mean anyone not on Social Security. In the case of marijuana there are numerous potential voters left, right, and center who have used it in the past or who currently used it. Whether any of them are inclined to vote Republican might change their mind based on this issue alone is hard to say. However, it can't hurt and it may very well help some Democrats in close races.


Excerpts:

"...if God Himself actually tells you (to kill someone), and He’s like, 'Hey, I am the ultimate governor of all of life, and I have judicially said that person is going to die, and I’m telling you to do it,' yeah," Winger said. "Now, historically, as a Christian, do I expect this to happen? Not really.

He later backtracks:

 "So, as a Christian, in principle, if God tells you to kill someone, yes, you should. It’s God."

"But in practical reality, I really don’t expect this to happen," he continued. "Not that there could never be an exception, but if anybody comes up to me, and says, 'God told me to kill so-and-so,' my default is to think they’re probably wrong, because there’s a lot more weirdos out there than there are people that God is telling to do something like that. There’s my answer."

Basically he's saying that it is "weirdos" who hear God telling them to kill people. In fact, anybody who actually hears voices whether they believe they come from God or a teapot is mentally ill. It doesn't matter whether the voices tell them to adhere to Christian values or run naked in the street, they are still auditory hallucinations.

This is bad news for the FBI and in particular Trump appointee FBI Director Wray:


Read article about this in RawStory. It isn't just Director Gray that is under fire. Attorney General Garland is also being harshly criticized for the way is, or isn't, handling the documents investigation.

You probably don't read The Bulwark. If you don't look at from time to time you miss stories like this:


Excerpt:

Masters was asked, point blank, if he thought the 2020 election was “stolen” or “rigged—in any way, shape, or form—enough to keep Donald Trump out of the White House,” and Masters replied:

I suspect that if the FBI didn’t work with Big Tech and Big Media to censor the Hunter Biden crime story, yeah, I suspect that changed a lot of people’s votes. I suspect President Trump would be in the White House today if Big Tech and Big Media and the FBI didn’t work together to put the thumb on the scale to get Joe Biden in there.

Trump is 'daring the DOJ to come and get him' over more missing documents: NYT's Haberman...


She said ""The Trump team is basically daring the DOJ, once again, to come get him and we'll see what the DOJ does."

I am very skeptical this comes from Trump's team of lawyers telling him what they know is in his best interests. It may be another "team" of sycophants. If he hears it from his lawyers they are telling him what he wants to hear. I think this comes form Trump and is absolutely predictable because he is a malignant narcissist with seriously impaired judgment. He revels in the thought of a confrontation where he, in his grandiose delusional state, which he thinks he will win. He's bought into his own propaganda, into the iconography produced by artists hawking their wares to his cult.




Here's a name from the past that I bet you forgot about:

Harvey Weinstein’s Second Trial For Rape And Sexual Assault Charges Begins Next Week. Here’s What You Need To Know.

After being convicted of sexually assaulting two women in New York, the former movie producer is facing criminal charges related to five other women in Los Angeles.


Oregon news: 


This is bad, very very bad...




Homelessness: Daytime nightmare about to unfold in Portland

  Public domain, Creative Commons.. By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist This is a classic case of municipal decision makers putting t...