Category Archives: Politics

Headline of the day: Another Trump legacy?


From the London Daily Mail:

Mexico: We fear refugee camps along our border because Trump immigration crackdown will deport illegals to where they crossed into U.S.

  • New Department of Homeland Security laws say that migrants who cross illegally from Mexico will be deported  back there 
  • Until now illegals were deported to their country of origin – meaning those who were not Mexicans were not sent back across the border 
  • Mexicans say they fear huge numbers of illegals being dumped in their territory which could lead to ‘Other Than Mexicans’ camped on the border 
  • Tens of thousands of non-Mexicans come into the country to flood through to the U.S. illegally, often with people smugglers and drug cartels involved
  • Human rights center boss in Tijuana says Mexico could reject deportees one by one and create chaos for U.S. enforcement agents

To stop vile tweets: Trump staff’s media bubble


When the arrogant bombast of TrumpTweets™ threateneed to derail Agent Orange’s presidential campaign, his staff came up with a solution: Only expose him to media that stroked his ego.

From Salon:

President Donald Trump’s incessant tweeting has had a lot of undesirable consequences — from creating potential geopolitical crises with China and North Korea and praising a Russian dictator to possibly violating Twitter’s rules for abusive behavior. With that in mind, former Trump campaign workers have advice for current Trump staffers on controlling his Twitter tantrums: Do everything you can to avoid negative press.

“If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable,” Sam Nunberg, his former communications director, told Politico. “The same media that our base digests and prefers is going to be the base for his support. I would assume the president would like see positive and preferential treatment from those outlets and that would help the operation overall.”

Politico reported that campaign staffers made efforts to promote Trump’s good side following disparaging tweets. In one example, the staff convinced conservative media outlets to cover Trump’s meeting with Gold Star Mothers of Florida after his disastrous Twitter diatribes against the father of a Muslim U.S. solider who died in Iraq. Politico also described how staffers undertook similar efforts during Trump’s incessant tweeting about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

The aides curbed their boss’ temper by sending out a barrage of positive tweets promoting favorable coverage from “media amplifiers like Fox News hosts and conservative columnists” so that Trump wouldn’t feel the narrative in the news was too skewed against him.

Now that he’s finally in the White House, he’s been forced to confront the reality, one his staff had blunted through careful manipulation.

Now, with a White House staff drawn from Breitbart, Trump has new handlers, and they seem to be actively encouraging the trait staffers workers hard to suppress in order to win the the Oval Office.

Charts of the day: Support for DAPL steadily falls


Two charts from a new report from the Pew Research Center reveal that public support for the Dakota Access Pipeline has fallen steadily and where the divisions lie.

First, a look at how support has fallen over time:

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And, second, a closer look at where the dividing lines are drawn, with supporters drawn heavily from the ranks of old, white, Republican men:

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More form the report:

Americans are divided over whether to build the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines – issues that returned to the forefront after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to move forward on their construction.

The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines have become touchstones in the debate over energy and the environment. While parts of the larger Keystone pipeline have already been completed, the Dakota Access pipeline is in earlier stages of development.

About four-in-ten (42%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 48% are opposed, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12, 2017, among 1,503 U.S. adults. The pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast, had been blocked by the Obama administration over environmental concerns.

Support for Keystone XL has fallen since 2014, largely because of a sharp decline among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The share of the overall public favoring the pipeline has fallen 17 percentage points since 2014 (from 59% to 42%). Just 17% of Democrats favor building the pipeline, less than half the share that did so three years ago (44%).

Emails confirm new EPA chief a tool of the Kochs


Why are we not surprised?

From the New York Times:

During his tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch to roll back environmental regulations, according to over 6,000 pages of emails made public on Wednesday.

The publication of the correspondence comes just days after Mr. Pruitt was sworn in to run the E.P.A., which is charged with reining in pollution and regulating public health.

“Thank you to your respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President Obama’s EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states,” said one email sent to Mr. Pruitt and an Oklahoma congressman in August 2013 by Matt Ball, an executive at Americans for Prosperity. That nonprofit group is funded in part by the Kochs, the Kansas business executives who spent much of the last decade combating federal regulations, particularly in the energy sector. “You both work for true champions of freedom and liberty!” the note said.

Mr. Pruitt has been among the most contentious of President Trump’s cabinet nominees. Environmental groups, Democrats in Congress and even current E.P.A. employees have protested his ties to energy companies, his efforts to block and weaken major environmental rules, and his skepticism of the central mission of the federal agency he now leads.

A tools of the plutocracy

The documents, though redacted, make clear that Pruitt serves not the interests of the citizens he has sworn to serve but the billionaire patrons who have greased the skids for his political career.

More from the Center for Media and Democracy, the organization which battled for and won release of the documents, which are posted at the link:

As a result of an Open Records Act request and lawsuit filed by the Center for Media and Democracy, on Tuesday night the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office released a batch of more than 7,500 pages of emails and other records it withheld prior to Scott Pruitt’s nomination as EPA Administrator last Friday.

The AG’s office has withheld an undetermined number of additional documents as exempted or privileged and submitted them to the Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons for review. A number of other documents were redacted, and CMD will be asking for the court to review those as well. On February 27, the AG’s office has been ordered to deliver records related to five outstanding requests by CMD.

“Despite repeated attempts by Pruitt and the Oklahoma AG’s office to stonewall CMD and the public, we’ve won a major breakthrough in obtaining access to public records that shine a light on Pruitt’s emails with polluters and their proxies,” said Nick Surgey, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy. “The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events. And our work doesn’t stop here – we will keep fighting until all of the public records involving Pruitt’s dealings with energy corporations are released – both those for which his office is now asserting some sort of privilege against public disclosure and the documents relevant to our eight other Open Records Act requests.”

“There is no valid legal justification for the emails we received last night not being released prior to Pruitt’s confirmation vote other than to evade public scrutiny,” said Arn Pearson, general counsel for CMD. “There are hundreds of emails between the AG’s office, Devon Energy, and other polluters that Senators should have been permitted to review prior to their vote to assess Pruitt’s ties to the fossil fuel industry.”

Among the documents released late yesterday, CMD has found:

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Graphic Representation: TrumpTopia™ Fails


We begin with the day’s bext offering, via the Arizona Republic:

Steve Benson: Donald Trump’s ‘inherited mess’

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The follow-up, via the Chicago Tribune:

Scott Stantis: Trump begins

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And then this from the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Clay Bennett: Never Forget

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And from the Washington Post, a certain similarity:

Ann Telnaes:  Trump is more like Putin every day

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While the Los Angeles Times examines one of his policies:

David Horsey: ICE raids and White House schemes provoke fear in Latino families

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From the Salt Lake Tribune, the White House press corpse:

Pat Bagley: Freedumb of the Press

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Finally, from a great syndicated cartoonist, duck and cover, GOP-style [that sign reads I KNOW NOTHING!]:

Jeff Danziger: It’s a twistah!

Spicer erupts in Holocaust Day TrumpUmbrage™


President Pussygrabber grabbed a lot of attention when he omitted any mention of Hitler’s genocide in his statement issued to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Now we’ve criticized Israel for using Hitler’s mass murder of Jews as a Get Out of Jail Free card whenever justly criticized for lang grabs and bloody “incursions” across borders.

We’ve also faulted media and pundits for ignoring the genocides of Roma and Sinti peoples, homosexuals, and others, and for failing to consider other genocides, including those of Native Americans and Armenians.

But no Holocaust Remembrance Day remarks should fail to mention that awful event that sparked the creation of the day.

Omission of the mention of Hitler’s genocide did draw praise from one quarter, earnng high marks from the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi webasite that now bills itself  “The World’s Most Goal-Oriented Republican Website.”

The paper’s name is the translation of Der Stürmer, the pornographic racist rag run by whip-toting bloodthirsty Hitler henchman Julius Streicher.

This is the first time in history the President of the United States has made no mention of Jews, anti-Semitism, or the science fiction Zionist folklore about ovens and gas chambers so prominent in (((Hollywood))) narratives.

[We’ll leave it to you to doing a search for the quote; we simply don’t feel like driving traffic their way.]

Otherwise,  Agent Orange has been buried in criticism and he doesn’t like it.

From the Independent:

The White House Press Secretary has attacked the Anne Frank Center for its negative statement about President Donald Trump’s disavowal of anti-Semitism.

Asked about the Center’s statement, Sean Spicer told reporters that the President “has been very forceful with the denunciation” of people who are racist or sexist.

“The President has made clear since the day he was elected and frankly through the campaign that he seeks to unite the country. He has brought a diverse range of people into this administration,” he said.

“It’s ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this, it’s never good enough.”

He added: “I wish that they [the Anne Frank Centre] had praised the President for his leadership in this area. And I think hopefully as time continues to go by, they will recognise his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans.”

Trump a racist?

An anti-Semite?

A racist?

How ridiculous!

After all, he’s the guy who admits he “probably” said this:

“Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

And sexist?

How can any man be sexist when he says things like this?

I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. . .Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

You go, Sean Spicer.

Please.

Just go.

And what did the Anne Frank Center have to say that got Spicer’s knickers so twisted?

From the statement released today by Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect:

“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Antisemitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting Antisemitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Antisemitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration.”

Trump’s rhetorical secret? Use “I,” keep it simple


The top ten most over-used terms for each candidate. One can see the presence of expressions related to the dialogue between candidates (‘Senator Sanders’ by Clinton, ‘Donald’ with Cruz, ‘Jeb’ under Trump). The relationship of some candidates to their origin is also represented (‘Ohio’ with Kasich, ‘Texas’ for Cruz, ‘Kentucky’ with Paul, ‘Maryland’ for O’Malley). From “Analysis of the style and the rhetoric of the 2016 US presidential primaries ,” [open access].

The top ten most over-used terms for each candidate. One can see the presence of expressions related to the dialogue between candidates (‘Senator Sanders’ by Clinton, ‘Donald’ with Cruz, ‘Jeb’ under Trump). The relationship of some candidates to their origin is also represented (‘Ohio’ with Kasich, ‘Texas’ for Cruz, ‘Kentucky’ with Paul, ‘Maryland’ for O’Malley). From “Analysis of the style and the rhetoric of the 2016 US presidential primaries ,” [open access].

A new academic study by linguist Jacques Savoy of the University of Neuchatel offers a detailed analysis of the Campaign 2016 presidential debates and reveals that the use of language by the candidates reveals deep and disturbing patterns.

Consider the ten most distinctive words used by the ultimate winner: I, very, tremendous, nobody, going, Mexico, not, Jeb, excuse, and deal.

There’s no room for complexity, no room for nuance, and no space for anyone else.

More on the research from Oxford University Press via Newswise:

A new paper published in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities reveals and quantifies dramatic differences in the speaking styles of candidates in the 2016 United States presidential election. Lexical analysis indicates that President Donald Trump had a distinct communication style, and it was far more direct than any of the other candidates.

The most frequently used thematic words are very similar across politicians, with ‘people’ appearing in the top 4 for 7/9 candidates, and ‘say’ for 5/9. Trump and Hillary Clinton had 3 out of 4 most-used words the same.

Researchers here analyzed the transcripts of the TV debates involving Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Martin O’Malley, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

According to several overall stylistic indicators, candidate Trump used a simple communication style, avoiding complex formulation and vocabulary. The authors analysed lexical density – or how much actual information there was in the words spoken. Trump scored the lowest for lexical density, and he also reused the same phrases more than other candidates.

Former governors (Bush and Kasich) tend to use “we” more frequently than “I.” Usually Senators (Cruz, Paul, Clinton, and Sanders) tend to prefer using the pronoun “I.”

Donald Trump presents an atypical figure, employing short sentences, a reduced vocabulary, repeating the same arguments with simple words. He is the single candidate to have the pronoun “I” in the second rank (after the article “the”).

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