Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Some Thoughts Should Be Kept Close to the ScotteVest (sic)

Scott Jordan is an entrepreneur who developed a line of clothing which allows for fashionably carrying gadgets within the garments.  Jordan even went on ABC's Shark Tank in 2012 in a bid to raise funds for his technology enabled clothing (but Jordan  rejected the the offers). 




ScotteVest snowballed into a $10 million company by 2015.

ScotteVest's pricey e-commerce product line  were often seen advertised on Fox News, presumably to appeal to geeky traveling businessmen who tired of fumbling gadgets when they went through TSA lines.



ScotteVest CEO Scott Jordan may have unraveled this fashion market niche by oversharing on social media.  Scott Jordan had developed a reputation of being an outspoken CEO on social media, pumping products and pimping his progressive politics. However Jordan recently shared on Facebook a smarmy post which revealed marketing strategy while denigrating his customers.




While one could certainly see a small time celebutard who is full of himself to contemptuously sneer at the little people on whom you've made your millions while taking  a chair lift in Ketchum ski resort.  But it is almost unfathomable that he would share this "burn" on social media. It really makes one wonder, to use Jordan's parlance, who is the "f**king idiot?

After Jordan's Facebook faux-pas festered for a few days, the ScotteVest CEO posted an incomplete apology on Twitter, which linked to the original Facebook post. Unfortunately, the Facebook post had been deleted.  





No doubt that this story certainly won't make ScotteVest's media buzz page. But the internet never forgets. The question is whether ScotteVest's customers will be willing to forget that they are considered to be gullible f**king idiots" by the guy profiting from their sales.

Social Media is a wonderful way for companies to reach customers. One need not be "Always Be Closing" when sharing on social media and genuineness is a way to cement bonds with fickle customers of an expensive, niche products.  But denigrating the demographic which lined one's pockets is an odd way to reach out to customers.  A smart CEO would have kept his crass critiques of customers closer to his ScotteVest. 

Enjoy your  après-ski canapés and hope that your cup is not forever full of sour grapes. 

Knob Hill Ski Lodge, Ketchum, Idaho 





Ben Franklin on Excuses

Ben Franklin on Excuses

Walt Whitman on Disposition

Walt Whitman on Disposition

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Is Barack Obama Really Trying to Bridge News Universes?

Ex President Barack Obama bemoans lack of commonality on the news during Letterman Netflix interview

During the initial episode of David Letterman's new limited run program on Netflix "My Guest Needs No Introduction", former President Barack Obama laments the lack of a common baseline of facts for the news.



 In some ways, this echoes a theme that Mr. Obama emphasized in his BBC Radio interview with Prince Harry about finding common realities on the internet. And during the speech at the Dallas Police Shooting Memorial, then President Obama lamented political polarization stemming from news coverage.  

Yet is is hard not to appreciate Obama's implication that those watching Fox News are "way out there" vis-a-vis the Mainstream Media represented by  taxpayer supported National Public Radio. His quip served as a laugh line to the Netflix audience at City College, New York. Such a jibe will affirm the biases of coastal elites who cannot fathom how fly over country could vote for a guy like President Donald Trump.  But it inspires a broader question of what is news and what is the prudent way to discern truth on current events. 

Some have fantasized about having a group that evaluates the news for its truthfulness.  But as it has been tried by Politifact's Truth-o-Meter  and the Washington Post's Fact Check with the Pinocchio scale, it has proven to be skewed and lacking. 



It is repugnant to the First Amendment to contemplate having the government take a role in vetting media.  It is bad enough that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are using "curating" newfeeds to avoid conservative stories deemed as "fake news" and algorithms which shadowbans opinions not in favor with the social media powers that be. 

Then there is the question of how to cover a story.  Recently, CNN launched an advertising campaign with the spot "This is an apple" touting "Facts First".   The Media Research Center's study of coverage of the first eight months of the Trump Administration was 91% negative stories. In another study, the MRC examined one day of coverage on CNN, when 92% of the airtime was focused on President Trump, and CNN used 96 critics and seven supporters to back up their coverage. That hardly seems like facts first or fair and balanced news.

A more difficult thing to detect is the news that the mainstream media chooses not to report. A concrete example is when undercover video exposed that Planned Parenthood clinics were selling baby body parts.  Network news did not give one second of coverage, probably because it sullied a cause with which the networks suits agree. No wonder why there is a populist outcry against "Fake News".

Another niggling aspect is what "news" mainstream media outlets choose to report.  It is interesting to see how much that makes it on a network nightly news is just recycled packages that were creating for fluffy morning news shows. ABC is notorious for cross promoting entertainment programming as news.  The Tonya Harding 20/20 episode seemed to give as much airtime to its affiliated journalists as the protagonists in order to hype a film poised for Best Picture for the Oscars, which will be broadcast on ABC.  One should expect that NBC's News will be chock full of Olympic feature stories (as it broadcasts the Winter Olympics in February) when it is not bashing the Trump Administration.

As a news junkie, it is laudable to seek out news sources which do not comfortably give "confirmation bias".  In addition, it is necessary to vet the reliability of news sources when considering stories.  However, it is dubious that President Obama wants to find a real "baseline of common facts".  His out of this world comment seems more inclined to smear those who do not buy into the line from the mainstream media, shaped by the likes of the Journo-list and then disseminated via papers of record, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, which then dictates the coverage in most of the rest of the media.

As much as one would like to believe that Mr. Obama is trying to bridge news consumption universes, this comes from a leader who gathered lawmakers around a table supposedly to work together on health care and then wanted to dictate terms.  It is likely that politically correct pressure about the consensus on the news would drown out minority opinions and counter facts.  So it would be like the pre-internet "fairness doctrine" days when there was little choice and the public could be simply swayed. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Martha McSally on Courage

Rep. Martha Mcsally announces her bid for US Senate emphasizing combat courage



Today Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ 2nd) announces her candidacy for the U.S. Senate to replace Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ). 

The Republican field is already populated by Dr. Kelli Ward, a candidate endorsed by Steve Bannon, and Joe Arpaio, the 85 year old long-time ex Maricopa County sheriff renowned for his tough treatment of criminal aliens who was recently pardoned by President Trump.


[L] Dr. Kelli Ward [R] Ex Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Arizona GOP candidates for US Senate

Although Democrats need to defend 25 of 33 Senate seats in the 2018 election cycle, including in 10 states in which President Trump carried in 2016, Republicans are worried about losing their slender control of the Senate.  Senator Jeff Flake's (R-AZ) decision not to stand for re-election puts another "safe" GOP seat up for grabs.

In some respects, the GOP primary might be made up of voters with trollish Trump-eteer tendencies (infamously redubbed by Hillary Clinton as the "Basket of Deplorables") who think that strong immigration stances are the way to win via Arpaio's reputation and rhetoric.  Kelli Ward had positioned herself to be a Bannon disruptor of the GOP Establishment,  but now is backing away from "Sloppy Steve" after his fall from grace in the "Fire and Fury" fiasco.  

Establishment Republicans hoping to avoid a repeat defeat akin to the Alabama special electionseem to favor McSally to keep the seat as she has legislative experience and is not an agitating lightning rod. However, when an ex fighter pilot urged her colleagues to "grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done", such a candidate might not be exactly safe for the go along to get along in the so called Senate country club in the District of Calamity (sic).



H.L. Mencken on Politics

H.L. Mencken on Politics

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On the FISA Fracas

Rep. Tom Garrett seeks reformation of FISA warrents


The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (1978) is a federal law which allows the federal government to conduct surveillance of foreign powers and agents of foreign powers suspected of espionage and terrorism. FISA delineates procedures for acquiring warrants to a secret court when required.  FISA  has been repeatedly amended since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.  The 2008 FISA Amendment included Section 702, which allows the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to jointly authorize monitoring foreign targets abroad. 

Then President-elect Trump was scoffed at when he claimed that he was "wiretapped" at Trump Tower.  But Mr. Trump felt vindicated when the House Intelligence Committee revealed that some members of his transition team were caught up in FISA surveillance. In the digital age, physical "wiretaps" are no longer necessary.
  
But there is controversy over how to handle information about American citizens whose communications are caught up in a cyber surveillance sweep.   Additionally, there are serious concerns over approval of FISA warrants which involve partisan politics. 

FISA was due to the renewed for six years by the end of 2017.  However, FISA is now supposed to  to sunset by January 19th 2018 unless approved by Congress.  

As the House of Representatives were considering FISA re-authorization, Conservatives and Libertarian  (and perhaps some civil liberty minded liberal) Congressmen sought to impose some reforms on FISA to limit NSA powers and require warrants before getting most information on American citizens). As Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX 2nd)  put it: "Section 702 was written to go after terrorists but it is being used to go after Americans," as he urged agencies to get warrants.  Rep. Tom Garrett wanted to be certain that FISA scrutiny was focused on foreigners. 




It seemed as if the Trump White House was lending support to the efforts to reform FISA with encouraging social media comments.  However Speaker Paul Ryan contacted the White House and President Trump that partially walked back earlier criticism of FISA.  

The FISA alternative, championed by libertarian Republican Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI 3rd) and Rep. Zoe Lafgren (D-CA 19th) failed 183-233.  The GOP leadership re-authorization of FISA easily passed 256-164, but sponsor Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA 22nd) stripped major changes to unmasking procedures prior to presenting the bill on the House floor.  

The Senate must re-authorize FISA by January 19th.  Libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and liberal Democrat Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) have vowed to filibuster FISA unless there are provisions that the FBI must obtain a warrant anytime it wants to search information about Americans.  Newsmakers have hinted that explosive news  about abuse of government surveillance will break in the next week.  This may well have an impact on the re-authorization of FISA. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

President Trump on the Overreach of the Federal Courts

Donald Trump on DACA and the Ninth Circuit


Ninth Circuit District Judge William Alsup issued an injunction from his San Francisco courtroom to block the Trump Administration's decision to let the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order lapse.  This occurred at the same time that President Trump indicated that he would sign any legislation over DACA that Congress passes.  The Trump Administration has waited six months before seeking to impose the policy in order for the legislative branch to do their job.




This ruling strains credulity.  Firstly, DACA may well not be constitutional. In 2011, President Barack Obama insisted that he did not have the authority to impose the DREAM Act without the legislature passing it.  Yet in 2012, Mr. Obama offered an Executive Order which halted deportations of this class of illegal immigrants while also granting the ability to apply for "temporary" work permits. So  a Chief Executive issues an edit not to apply the immigration and employment laws without receiving legislative approbation but it must be upheld because a District Court Judge's judgement on its constitutionality. 

But before the Trump Administration allowed DACA to lapse or for Congress to rectify the situation by actually passing a DACA bill, the Ninth Circuit (a.k.a. the 9th Circus) supposedly overrides the Trump Administration's Executive decisions. This is because  Judge Alsup's  believes that Mr. Trump's rational for exerting Executive will to end DACA was flawed because DACA was constitutional

This follows a trend in Federal Circuit Courts to countermand the Trump travel ban, as well as prohibiting transsexuals in the military. Obviously, Democrats are pursuing progressive politics through sympathetic courts. But these cases infringe on the constitutional authority of the Executive Branch while simultaneously assuming the proper role of the Legislative Branch.  The Supreme Court dismissed several claims against the travel ban and allowed the third iteration of the immigration order to go into effect. It is interesting that the Commander in Chief is supposed to have no authority over the troops which he commands, per these activist courts. 

Perhaps there needs to be a progressive re-education about our constitutional system and the division of power.



But that presupposes that they care about the rule of law rather than just favorable results for their cause-du-jour.


The Raging Bull****-- Robert DeNiro Covers President Trump

Robert DeNiro condemns President Donald Trump as the Emperor with no clothes

Robert De Niro has been outspoken to his opposition to the 45th President.  He latched unto an allusion pushed by "Fire and Fury" author Michael Wolff of Donald Trump being the Emperor who has no clothes.

De Niro's earthy opinions expressed at National Board of Review Annual Awards is in line with the actor's animus against Mr. Trump.  During the 2016 Presidential General Election campaign, De Niro cut an ad for "Vote Your Future" in which DeNiro, best known for playing mobsters and low lifes,  claimed that he wanted to punch Trump in the face.




After Oprah's soaring speech at the Golden Globes, hopes were lifted that entertainers would be more articulate when pontificating on politics.  But that it too much to express from many celebutards.  Consider his rousing remarks last spring when De Niro addressed the Brown University commencement, when he urged graduates to not leave his alma mater and go into a "tragic, dumb-ass country."  

Regarding De Niro's current scathing statement about Mr. Trump-- does it take one to know one or was that just Raging Bulls***?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bette Midler on the Fakies


Bette Midler on President Trump's Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards


Entertainer Bette Midler has been outspoken in her opposition to President Donald Trump.  Midler went nuclear on Twitter concerning President Trump's tongue-in-cheek "Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards".  





Her remark apocalyptic aspersions about Mr. Trump's bigger nuclear button are typical of those suffering from the progressive malady of Trump Derangement Syndrome. 




But not everyone took umbrage at President Trump's tweet.  Late Show host Stephen Colbert took out a real billboard in Times Square, New York City to invite consideration for a "Fakey" award.

Stephen Colbert Times Square billboard inviting consideration of President Trump "Fakey" Award 


And  the Divine Miss M's might be even more distressed to learn that President Trump has delayed holding the "Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards" until Wednesday.  Perhaps that will give time to include rightful reward to "Fire and Fury" author Michael Wolff's contributions.

But it is unlikely that the Fakey trophy will not be fashioned after Macaroni Midler from Seinfeld.


Tim Allen on Hollywood Groupthink

Tim Allen on Hollywood Groupthink


Lou Holtz on the NFL's Take the Knee Conundrum

Lou Holtz on the NFL's problem of direspecting the flag by players who take the knee

Mark Hamill Leads the Liberal Light Saber Brigade Against Trump

After several days of a media feeding frenzy prompted by the publication of a gossipy book about internal back biting in the early days of the Trump Administration, President Trump sought to settle some scores about "Fire and Fury" through his communication channel of choice-- Twitter.




This catty post from the White House served as catnip to his critiques to pounce upon.  Mark Hamill, the actor most famous for portraying Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, also took to Twitter to lead the light saber brigade against the supposed Dark Side's Supreme Leader.


Mark Hamill channels Luke Skywalker via Grump Cat to mock President Trump


Liberal cohorts took Hamill's tweet as a signal to charge against Trump, focusing like a laser beam against the perceived purile peevish dimwittedness. 

Hamill has a history of animus against Donald Trump.  When the then President-Elect posted a New Years greeting on social media, Hamill mocked it by voicing it as "The Joker" (a role which he has played  in Batman animated shows since 1992).




Sometimes it is hard to take play actors seriously because we associate them with their on-screen roles.  After the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), this is especially true considering the sour demeanor of Luke Skywalker.  One can perceive that Hamill channeled his recent rancor against President Trump through the filter of Grumpy Cat.






Saturday, January 6, 2018

Does Fire and Fury Signify Nothing?




Author Michael Wolff bragged to BBC Radio that  his book "Fire and Fury" will help the public to see that Trump is the Emperor who has no clothes and that realization will end his presidency.  While that is great copy designed to stoke book sales, it does not jibe with reality.

Speaking of reality, consider "Fire and Fury"'s prologue, which admits that Wolff included contradicting narratives and many may be boldly untrue.  Including, it would seem, Wolff's supposed "interviews" with President Trump.  When a prologue basically states that he is just printing lies "in a Trumpian fashion" with no editorial discretion nor effort to ferret out the truth, it makes the narrative quite dubious.

Wolff has intimated that he has some of the interviews on tape.  If so, release them as the publisher Henry Holt takes two weeks to rush print a second edition.  Ex Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon had profane prognostications about Russiagate and scathing assessments of the First Family.  This sounds plausible considering the persona of "Sloppy Steve",and Bannon never really denied the quotes. It would be interesting, however, to hear his state of sobriety as well as put his charges on a time line.  Civic minded journalists anxious to impeach might want to facilitate testimony for Special Counsel Mueller.

Wolff thinks that books flying off the shelves at tony District of Calamity bookstores is a bellweather for the end of the Trump presidency.  But away from the talking heads circuit on the Eastern seaboard, it is unlikely that "Fire and Fury" is electrifying the public or changing minds.


On the one hand, those suffering from progressive Trump Derangement Syndrome will eat up the Wolff accusations, and other politicos will presumably buy books which soon after will be repurposed as door stops.  But they are willing to buy anything which comports with their confirmation bias.  


For example, a Twitter wag circulated a post about President Trump demanding "The Gorilla Channel" be available for watching in the residence on his first night at the White House.  



Even after it was disclosed that many Trump haters had been taken for a joke posting, MSNBC's Joy Reid insisted that it still rang true.  





And there was also the Los Angeles Times Op/Ed columnist who contended: "Why we believe Michael Wolff? Because, for now, it is too good not to". 

On the other hand, Trump's so called Basket of Deplorables will brush off any accusations against the 45th President.   And many Republicans who were not keen on Trump will see the liberal media campaign against him and have a "rally around the flag" effect.

It would seem that the major effect of the "Fire and Fury" rollout is the self-immolation of Steve Bannon.  At the 2017 Values Voters Summit, Bannon re-emerged after his ouster from the West Wing of the White House with a strategy of declaring war against the GOP Establishment.  That would be in alignment with the Trump "Drain the Swamp" rallying cry.  


[L] Steve Bannon [R] Judge Roy Moore

To that end, Bannon championed failed Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. But Bannon's caustic comments in "Fire and Fury" towards his boss and the Trump operation at the campaign and in the White House exemplifies his "burn the whole system down" reputation, thus alienating him from Trump devotees.  Now Bannon is without obvious political allies and he may well lose his bully stick platform with Breitbart News. 

Even some scrupulous left-of-center friends wonder why Wolff's tome has drawn so much attention, considering his sloppy journalism.  It seems like the most plausible answer is that "Fire and Fury" is another means to feed the beast to stoke hatred against Trump. 

In order for "The Resistance" to prosper, it needs to maintain the Orwellian "Two Minute Hate" that inspired a half million women gather on the National Mall on January 21st 2017 to protest President Trump's inauguration as 45th U.S. President wearing "pussy hats". 


Women [Who Hate Trump] March, January 21, 2017, Washington, DC


But when that failed to engender follow-up identity politics mass protests, the emphasis shifted to Russiagate.  But after a yearlong barrage of "Russia, Russia, Russia" negative news against Trump, it seems that Hillary! 2016 campaign and Democrat operatives were the ones colluding with the Russian Federation.  The emphasis on sexual harassment did not turn towards Trump but instead implicated many liberal media and entertainment figures.  So now, it seems that the modus operandi is highlighting Trump Administrative infighting, cementing the man-child meme of the Commander in Chief and perpetuating the myth that Trump's end is near. 

"Fire and Fury" may not signify nothing, but the implosion of Steve Bannon might not have been the outcome which the Trump-hating industry would desire in the long run.

Sarah Sanders Puts the Wolff (sic) At Bay

Trump Press Secretary Sarah Sanders puts Michael Wolff at bay in Fire and Fury book