Archive for the ‘Election’ Category
John Cassidy has a very interesting column in the New Yorker. From it:
. . . A successful rebranding campaign must have two elements. It must be surprising enough to attract people’s attention and make them think again about a company or product. And it must be credible. Back in 2000, British Petroleum, with the help of the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, launched a new public-relations campaign under the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.” The company ballyhooed its investments in clean energy and changed its logo to an environmentally friendly green and yellow sunburst.
This exercise never passed the credibility test. In 2005, a BP-owned refinery in Texas blew up, killing twenty-five people; in 2006, a pipeline owned by BP failed in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude; and, in 2010, the BP-owned Deepwater Horizon rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in a huge oil spill that threatened the entire Gulf Coast. Six years later, BP is still struggling to recover from a huge hit to its finances and reputation.
The “Beyond Petroleum” fiasco proved that you can’t deny who you are. Trump is Trump. There isn’t much point trying to market him as a kind and cuddly figure: nobody would believe it. But that doesn’t mean . . .
Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, D.C., it has still not determined a cause of death for Shawn Lucas, the 38-year old process server who delivered the class action lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and its then Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to the DNC headquarters on July 1. One month later, the girlfriend of Lucas came home to find him dead on the bathroom floor.
It has now been more than three weeks since Lucas died with no cause of death announced. We asked the Chief Medical Examiner’s office if the delay was a result of toxicology tests being conducted. We were told it can make no comment beyond the fact that the cause of death is “pending.”
The official report from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. indicates that officers Kathryn Fitzgerald and Adam Sotelo responded to a 911 call from the girlfriend of Lucas, Savannah King. The officers arrived “at 1913 hours,” or 7:13 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, August 2. According to the report, Lucas was “laying unconscious on the bathroom floor” and when “DCFD Engine 9 responded” there were “no signs consistent with life.”
A video of the service of process, which has garnered over 474,000 views as of this morning, shows Shawn Lucas saying he was “excited” and “thrilled” to be the process server on this lawsuit. He comments later in the video that it is like his “birthday and Christmas” rolled into one.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, the attorneys for the Sanders’ plaintiffs already had significant evidence that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz had put their fingers on the scale to tip the primary results in favor of Hillary Clinton while overtly undermining the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. (The DNC is prohibited from unfair treatment of Democratic primary candidates under its own bylaws.)
Then on Friday, July 22, 2016 at 10:30 a.m., just as the DNC was set to open its National Convention the following Monday, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attached documents that had been sent by top DNC officials. The emails left no doubt that there had been a concerted campaign to undermine Sanders while boosting Clinton’s chances to win the primary. Wasserman Schultz had to announce she was stepping down before the DNC convention even began to quiet the outrage.
The Wikileaks emails showed DNC executives plotting to undermine Sanders as an atheist (which Sanders says he is not) and plotting to say that Sanders “never ever had his act together, that his campaign was a mess.” There was also DNC plotting on how to respond to press charges that the joint fundraising committee set up by Clinton’s campaign and the DNC was illegally laundering money to boost Clinton’s chances. (See related article below.)
Prior to Wikileaks releasing its emails, . . .
Glenn Greenwald reports in The Intercept:
As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the foundation, and then insinuate — or even outright state — that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the foundation are “going to hell.” Other Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.
That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in its name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for president.
The claim that this is all just about trying to help people in need should not even pass a laugh test, let alone rational scrutiny. To see how true that is, just look at who some of the biggest donors are. Although it did not give while she was secretary of state, the Saudi regime by itself has donated between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation, with donations coming as late as 2014, as she prepared her presidential run. A group called “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” co-founded “by a Saudi Prince,” gave an additional amount between $1 million and $5 million. The Clinton Foundation says that between $1 million and $5 million was also donated by“the State of Qatar,” the United Arab Emirates, and the government of Brunei. “The State of Kuwait” has donated between $5 million and $10 million.
Theoretically, one could say that these regimes — among the most repressive and regressive in the world — are donating because they deeply believe in the charitable work of the Clinton Foundation and want to help those in need. Is there a single person on the planet who actually believes this? Is Clinton loyalty really so strong that people are going to argue with a straight face that the reason the Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti and Emirates regimes donated large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation is because those regimes simply want to help the foundation achieve its magnanimous goals?
Here’s one of the Clinton Foundation’s principal objectives; decide for yourself if its tyrannical donors are acting with the motive of advancing that charitable goal: . . .
Michael Rosenblum writes in the Huffington Post:
Donald Trump is going to be elected president.
The American people voted for him a long time ago.
They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to Pawn Stars and Swamp People.
They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley to Naked and Afraid.
They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to My 600 Pound Life.
They voted for him when CBS went from airing Harvest of Shame to airing Big Brother.
These networks didn’t make these programming changes by accident. They were responding to what the American people actually wanted. And what they wanted was Naked and Afraid and Duck Dynasty.
The polls may show that Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, but don’t you believe those polls. When the AC Nielsen Company selects a new Nielsen family, they disregard the new family’s results for the first three months. The reason: when they feel they are being monitored, people lie about what they are watching. In the first three months, knowing they are being watched, they will tune into PBS. But over time they get tired of pretending. Then it is back to The Kardashians.
The same goes for people who are being asked by pollsters for whom they are voting. They will not say Donald Trump. It is too embarrassing. But the truth is, they like Trump. He is just like their favorite shows on TV.
Trump’s replacement of Paul Manafort with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon shows that Trump understands how Americans actually think. They think TV. They think ratings. They think entertainment.
We are a TV based culture. We have been for some time now. The average American spends 5 hours a day, every day, watching TV. After sleep, it is our number one activity.
More shockingly, we spend 8.5 hours a day staring at screens – phones, tablets, computers. And more and more of the content on those devices is also video and TV.
If you spend 5 to 8 hours a day, every day, for years and years doing the same thing it has an impact on you. For the past 40 years we have devoted 5 to 8 hours a day staring at a screen – every day. And we haven’t been watching Judy Woodruff. We have been watching Reality TV shows. That is what we love. That is what we resonate to. The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
The French may love food, the Italians may love opera. What we love is TV. We are TV culture. It defines who we are.
In the 1950s, early television was allowed, with many restrictions, to be an observational guest at political conventions. . .
Damn straight. I’d like to see Condi Rice’s emails, since you can get them just by asking.
Felix Salmon has an interesting piece in Fusion:
It’s a narrative we’ve seen dozens of times. First, Donald Trump says something completely beyond the pale, whether it’s about a Gold Star family or assassinating the president; then mainstream Republicans feel the need to repudiate what he said, to distance themselves from the crazy.
By engaging with Trump’s ideas, however, they effectively ratify them. Concepts which used to be unthinkable—like, say, banning all Muslims from entering the country—are now debated on prime-time TV as issues on which politicians differ.
This process is known as widening the Overton Window, and Trump has done it better than any American politician in living memory. He has singlehandedly sidelined elite legislators and media barons as the arbiters of acceptable conversation. As a result, we now live in a world where a major-party presidential nominee is happy to sound indistinguishable from an insurrectionist gun nut at a Texas barbecue after a few beers.
In doing so, Trump and his kin have effectively rotated the axis upon which we place political candidates.
For generations, politicians have been viewed on a left-right spectrum, according to their policy positions. Now, however, they’re placed on a different spectrum entirely. At one end you find the sanguine technocrats of the old elite; at the other, the angry revolutionaries with no time for constitutional niceties.
Call this second group the “chaos monkeys,” the political outsiders who have no interest in mainstream policy debates. They tend to be deeply attractive to a huge and disillusioned “lol nothing matters” crowd, and often their egomania drives them to thirst for ever-greater power.
Vladimir Putin is a chaos monkey. So is Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines. And then there are the comedians – people like Beppe Grillo, in Italy, or Boris Johnson, in the UK, who catapult themselves into politics by force of little more than name recognition and an outsider attitude.
Chaos monkeys thrive in a world of social media, where messages aren’t intermediated by media elites and where a struggling middle class, which has seen little in the way of real economic gains in decades, has never found it easier to vent its frustrations.
Trump is the platonic ideal of the chaos monkey form: he has an enviable ability to capture the inchoate frustration of the 99% and turn it into something which can dominate the national political discourse, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else.
And that’s a huge problem. When a chaos monkey is in the race, he tends to render invisible severe and important policy distinctions. Trump is a very different beast from conventional politicians, but in order to see the difference, you need to look at him from a very different angle—an angle which renders everybody else more or less indistinguishable.
As a result, when people talk about Trump, it doesn’t matter whether they support him or oppose him. Either way, they end up clustering everybody else—Clinton and Romney and Obama and all of the many Bushes, and basically any politician you can remember from more than a year ago—into an “establishment” bundle at one end of the spectrum.
On this new axis, differences between left and right no longer matter. Or, at any rate, they don’t matter nearly as much as the differences between intellectually coherent, on the one hand, and dangerously unpredictable, on the other.
In Trumpworld, it doesn’t matter that . . .