From a powerful piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates on Kayne West:
What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought—liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.
This essay is a response to West’s recent tweets endorsing of Trump, calling Trump ‘his brother.’
The New York Times has an interesting look at how Trump used words to brand his opponents:
The word choice is memorable. But it’s also the repetition that’s important. In its simplicity and consistency, that message is textbook marketing, said William Cron, a professor of marketing at Texas Christian University. “This is what the product stands for,” he said (Mrs. Clinton being the product in this case). Marketing research also suggests that the more we’re exposed to a belief or a brand, the more likely we are to believe that others share or use it. And so by repeating the slogan, Mr. Trump also feeds the notion that Mrs. Clinton is widely believed to be crooked.
Psychologists have another term for what Mr. Trump does here that is so effective. He “essentializes” Mrs. Clinton and his other opponents, like Lyin’ Ted Cruz.
It’s unlikely to happen, but a great way to neuter our abusive president it to take away his platforms. As George Carlin said, “words are all we have.”
I’d love to see what would happen if Trump could no longer tweet.
Eugene Wei explains the recent scandals in the news — Silicon Valley sexual harassment incidents, Bill Cobsy rape charges, everything Donald Trump does — in the context of common knowledge and “distributed truth”:
We need look no further than the highest office in the land to see that common knowledge often isn’t enough. When the audio of Billy Bush and Donald Trump laughing it up on the bus broke, I thought for sure that would be the incident to sink him. For once, Trump had been caught on tape, when the press and public weren’t in the room to serve as an explicit audience. The tape could be entered into evidence as common knowledge for the public. Then there was video of Trump mocking a disabled reporter.
And on and on and on. Trump has laid so much rope by which the public could have hung him that his feet ended up back on the ground. He is the troll who thumbs his nose at the two intellectually neutered political parties, realizing they have neither the will nor the ideas to do anything as he and his family laugh their way to the bank. In literature, the court jester is often the wisest fool in the room, but sometimes an idiot is just an idiot. If the gloves do not fit, you must acquit. Who will ever forget? What’s depressing about Trump is how he seems to be an exemplar of the variant: the gloves do fit, but you can’t do shit.
It’s easy to feel helpless when we see the ugly truth exposed on a person as bad as Donald Trump and then watch him walk away without punishment.
Luckily Wei shows us justice is possible (although not guaranteed). It just requires a lot of resilience and courage.
Mr. Trump’s aides, especially his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, have long implored the president to cut down on his tweeting, especially about the Russia investigations. But Mr. McGahn is not perceived as a peer by Mr. Trump, unlike Mr. Kasowitz, whom the president respects for building a successful business. White House aides hope that Mr. Kasowitz, who has advised Mr. Trump for years, can get through to the president — and that if Mr. Kasowitz leads a vigorous public defense, the president may not feel the need to do it himself.
Mr. Trump has demonstrated that he can tame his Twitter impulses, at least temporarily. As he traveled through the Middle East and Europe last month, he went nine days without attacking, scorning, complaining or contradicting his own staff.
He demonstrated he could “temporarily” tame his Twitter impulses.
What the fuck does that mean? He went nine days without throwing a temper tantrum so he gets a cookie after dinner?
This man is president of the United States, not a 13-year-old on Snapchat.
He is not fit to be president.
[…] The pomp and circumstance and deference will only increase after the inauguration. The press and the Congress are the only two institutions standing between a dangerous man and total power. They must both realize this is not the time to salute and grovel. This is not the time to fall into familiar patterns of default respect for someone who does not himself respect the responsibility to the public that he has been given. This is the time for them to rise to the occasion. And the occasion is a fight for civil society.
This is not going to be a free and fair exchange of ideas. This is going to be a fight. If you have not absorbed that fact yet, you are already losing.
This is only going to get worse.
I thought all those people were so cute who were “wishing 2016 was over already.”
Well, 2016 is over.
All that shit you hated about 2016? Multiple it by a lot.
From a December Washington Post article on the potential of Ivanka Trump being the first lady:
First ladies aren’t always presidential spouses. In fact, two early uses of the title refer to the beautiful, popular Harriet Lane, niece of James Buchanan, the only lifelong bachelor president. She was an able hostess who, not long before the Civil War, arranged for Northern and Southern guests to be seated apart at a White House function in order to keep the peace. Harper’s Weekly called her “Our Lady of the White House,” and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper captioned Lane’s picture thusly: “The subject of our illustration … may be justly termed the first lady in the land.”
So as we learn that Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s older daughter, arranged a meeting between the president-elect and former vice president Al Gore; that she and husband Jared Kushner are reportedly house-hunting in Washington; and that Ivanka is rumored to be looking at White House office space, it’s pretty fair to say she isn’t breaking completely new ground. There’s no job description, so like other first ladies, Ivanka can define her position — and it looks like the gig is hers — in a unique way: advocating for nonpartisan causes, as Laura Bush did with children’s literacy and Michelle Obama did with nutrition, or setting up in the White House’s West Wing as a de facto policy adviser, like Hillary Clinton.
I never knew the first lady didn’t have to be the president’s wife.
But somewhere along the way, the democratization of the flow of information became the democratization of the flow of disinformation. The distinction between fact and fiction was erased, creating a sprawling universe of competing claims. The internet can’t route around censorship when the people who use it remain in their own closed information loops, which is nothing more than self-imposed censorship.
A universe of competing claims is the perfect environment for the rise to power of a politician who has made a career of championing his own truths and manufacturing his own realities. Not that Trump will be our first president who likes to operate from a closed loop. Richard Nixon was broadly dismissive of the State Department and the “Ivy League liberals” at the C.I.A., relying instead on the wisdom of J. Edgar Hoover, the more like-minded head of the F.B.I.
Happy New Year.
A small but determined political organization in Detroit began to worry that its official symbol was a bit off-putting. With the group’s central philosophy suddenly finding traction in the daily discourse, appearances mattered.
So in November, as the country’s divisive presidential campaign became ever more jagged, the National Socialist Movement, a leading neo-Nazi group, did away with its swastika. In its stead, the group chose a symbol from a pre-Roman alphabet that was also adopted by the Nazis.
This alt-right shit still boggles my mind.
I didn’t grow up with hate and racism like this in New Jersey and my parents didn’t raise me with racist ideals. When I attended Rutgers, it was at the inner city campus in Newark, NJ. I loved the diversity in Newark and had no problem that white kids were the minority there.
But I digress.
Back to the story:
The movement is also acutely image-conscious, seeing the burning crosses, swastikas and language of yesteryear as impediments to recruitment. Its adherents talk of “getting red-pilled,” a reference to the movie “The Matrix,” in which the protagonist ingests a tablet that melts away artifice to reveal the truth. New, coded slurs have emerged. Fewer pointed hoods, more khaki pants.
I love that the alt-right dislikes burning crosses and swastikas not because they represent hate and racism, but because they impede recruitment efforts.
Mr. Martin, the retired teacher, who attended the conference, also didn’t care for the Nazi-like salutes, calling them “very foolish.” But he suggested that most of those raising their arms were using the salute as “their version of the middle finger” — a defiant gesture “to the media, to the Trump haters, to everybody they feel alienated from.”
Why is the middle finger not sufficient enough of a “fuck you” to the media? Oh right, Mike, because the middle finger isn’t racist enough.
These are truly charming people.
This year, Time Magazine named Donald Trump ‘Person of the Year.’
It sounds pretty congradulatory until you spot the clever placement of Donald Trump’s Cheetoh head so the negative spaces around the ‘M’ in ‘TIME’ look like horns on his head:
This isn’t the first time this has been done.
Nope, Time gave Bill Clinton the horn treatment when they named him ‘Man of the Year’ in 1993:
Note that in 1993 it was ‘Man’ of the Year, but now it’s ‘Person’ of the Year.
President-elect Donald J. Trump is considering formally turning over the operational responsibility for his real estate company to his two adult sons, but he intends to keep a stake in the business and resist calls to divest, according to several people briefed on the discussions.
Under a plan now being considered by the Trump family and its lawyers, Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s elder daughter, would also take a leave of absence from the Trump Organization, in the surest sign that she is exploring a potential move to Washington with her husband, Jared Kushner. Mr. Kushner is discussing an as-yet undetermined role advising his father-in-law, and Ms. Trump plans on being an advocate on issues in which she has a personal interest, like child care.
I’m confused. I thought when a person assumes the role of POTUS, they have to put their investments in a blind trust and divest their business dealings?
Apparently this is all optional. Just like it’s apparently optional to disclose your tax returns when you go into office, something most GOP candidates since the 70s have done.
Now that I understand these things to be customs, not laws, people need to shut the fuck about them until they are actual laws, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.