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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2007, 03:49 PM
Number of posts: 26,732

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My 3-second interaction with Hillary Clinton, and why I said everything that I needed to say to her.

If you only had literally a couple of seconds to speak with someone important who you've long respected, what would you say?

I had to think about that question a few weeks ago when I watched Hillary Clinton meticulously work the line at a rally where I attended.

It's not the first time I've asked myself that question. It's not even the first time I asked myself that question about someone with the last name of Clinton.

A few months ago, I met former President Bill Clinton at a rally for Hillary. Well, technically I shook his hand, but that constitutes a meeting in my book. The still frame screen capture of our handshake from the news footage confirms this. President Clinton was the president in my formative years, and I've long been fascinated by his life story, so needless to say, it was a huge thrill to shake his hand. I believe I said something to the effect of, "Thank you for being my president," but honestly, I can't say for sure. The adrenaline rush I got from the encounter sort of clouded my memory.

I had a little bit more time to plan things out with Hillary. Unlike with Bill--where I had arrived long before the doors opened to guarantee I'd have a front and center spot for his speech--I was way back in the line to get into the Hillary rally. When I finally entered the venue, it was packed 3,000 strong, with more in an overflow venue. I was about 20 feet behind the stage and figured I wouldn't be shaking anyone's hand this time. Which was fine--I honestly just wanted to see her speak.

But as more people came in, the closer and closer I was pushed towards the stage. And by the time Hillary was done with her speech (which was great, by the way), I was only about 5 feet from the rope line between the crowd and the stage.

As I waited patiently to see whether Hillary would make her way to my side, it gave me some time to think about what I could possible say to her with full knowledge that dozens of other people were waiting for that same interaction.

And at some point, it dawned on me--I thought of my two elementary school aged daughters. They're too young to understand the intricacies of partisan politics, but when they heard that there could be a "girl president", they couldn't help contain their excitement. They knew that there had never been a female president before, but that there could be one in the near future. So their preference this election was unanimous, needless to say.

So as her detail finally moved in front of me and I saw her face to face, I reached out my hand and told her, "Hillary, my daughters are so excited about you!"

And she smiled her huge Hillary smile as she shook my hand and said, "Oh that's great!"

And that was it. She moved onto the next person in the throng, and I retreated from the line with glee. I don't think there was anything else I could have said or done that would have made the moment any better.

While meeting someone who will likely be our next president is undeniably a thrill, that's only part of it. I met someone who will be remembered forever in the history books as our first woman president. And that's a huge and momentous occasion. And for my little three-second interaction where I let this historical figure know the importance of what she's doing for my own girls....there's no other way I would have wanted to plan it.

And yes, my girls were super-excited when I told them I talked about them to the next "girl president", and that she knows who they are.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon Oct 24, 2016, 10:40 AM (17 replies)

If I recall correctly, the whole "Lock her up!" thing began in earnest during Trump's Manafort days.

Namely, that bizarre mob mentality faux show trial thing that Chris Christie lead at the convention. The "Lock her up!" chants became common place at Trump rallies at that point.

Notably, this was all after the FBI issued its report saying that Secretary Clinton had not done anything criminal. So it was all just a matter of wish fulfillment of Trump supporters of something they knew actually wasn't going to happen, at least with an independent Justice Department still intact.

It's very interesting that this movement saw its birth during the time Paul Manafort was leading the campaign.

Why is this interesting?

Because as we all know, Manafort used to be a key advisor to former Ukrainian strongman President Victor Yanukovych. Ultimately, Yanukovych--who much to the ire of the majority of Ukrainians sought ties closer to Russia and Vladimir Putin and away from Europe--would sick his special police force on protesters, killing dozens of them. It did not dissuade the protesters, however, and rather than stick around for a Ceausescu-like fate, Yanukovych packed up his truckloads of belongings at his gaudy palatial estate and hightailed it to Russia, where he was welcomed with open arms right before Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimean province and helped stoked armed uprisings in the eastern part of the country that remain active to this day.

But back while Yanukovych ran Ukraine with a corrupt fist with the assistance of Mr. Manafort (who apparently was paid in cash for much of his work), he felt the need to settle scores with his political adversaries (many of whom were involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution, where a prior election of Yanukovych fraught with fraud and abuse was overturned and Yanukovych was temporarily left out of office). Arguably, Yanukovych's most popular opponent was Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. After a fracture in the alliance of Yanukovych's political opponents, Yanukovych won back the Ukrainian presidency and defeated the still-popular Tymoshenko.

Yanukovych was not done with Tymoshenko, and decided to prosecute Tymoshenko on charges of fraud and embezzlement, charges which international observers viewed as unfounded, vindictive and politically motivated. She was ultimately sentenced to seven years in 2011. However, she was freed in 2014 after Yanukovych abdicated the presidency and fled to Russia.

During this entire ordeal, Mr. Manafort did not stay out of the Yanukovych-Tymoshenko fray:

Before he fled to Russia two years ago, Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections. During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.

It is unclear if Mr. Manafort’s activities necessitated registering. If they were limited to advising the Party of Regions in Ukraine, he probably would not have had to. But he also worked to burnish his client’s image in the West and helped Mr. Yanukovych’s administration draft a report defending its prosecution of his chief rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, in 2012.


So while Paul Manafort may no longer officially be involved in Donald Trump's campaign, clearly he has left his indelible imprint on the candidate's mindset, and we saw that front and center on Sunday night. Trump's mind has been shaped in the vein of authoritarian strongmen who seek to quash all opposition with any and all means possible.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Oct 11, 2016, 09:17 AM (0 replies)

He's just so.....horrible. At times, I'm just at a loss for words because he's just so horrible.

I find myself wanting to expand my thoughts upon the latest Donald Trump scandal or controversy and yet I keep on coming back to the simple fact that Donald Trump is an extraordinarily awful, terrible, horrible human being with no redeeming qualities or values whatsoever.

His horribleness is completely off the charts. He's ugly, both inside and out. While he may not be a complete imbecile, he's not smart--in fact, he purposefully doesn't aspire to be smart. He only aspires to be smarter than the people he's knows he's conning. So in that sense, he's lazy to boot. His life is built around greed, around vanity, around self-glorification. He's accomplished very little of the things that he's bragged to have accomplished. Most of his business adventures have ended in complete failure, and yet he's fashioned himself as a great success. He's petty and vindictive towards anyone who might look at him sideways. He'll show zero remorse for taking advantage of others for his own gain in the most crass and classless ways. The only charity he shows is charity towards himself, very literally. When he speaks, it's only to draw attention to himself and away from others.

What he's done over the past year has be for one thing and one thing only: Himself. He seeks to be the guardian of over 300 million people and a country who at least proclaims to be founded on lofty ideals such as freedom and democracy. But throughout that all, the only thing he's ever cared about is himself. He doesn't care about you. He doesn't care about anyone or anything, unless it has to do with him.

His appeal to the public is that of trashy reality television. It's that of virus infected internet clickbait advertising. It's that of calorie laden tasteless junk food that doesn't even rise to the level of a delicious guilty pleasure, and only leaves you feeling sick inside. It's that dizzying, flashing, neon lights that promise a great show and without fail always disappoint.

And yet, people have inevitably gotten suckered in. They like it. Somehow in the Bizarroland like atmosphere, the ugliness, the vapidness, the utter lack of class or decorum is considered a good thing. His opponent is intelligent, qualified, measured and competent individual, highly capable of standing head to head with the rest of the world's leaders and representing our interests in a proper fashion. She isn't perfect. She isn't without her flaws or shortcomings. If elected, inevitably she will on occasion let us down, just like the 43 men who held the office before her inevitably let us down from time to time. In other words, she's human. But when she takes the debate stage in less than two weeks, she will be the only real human on the stage. Standing at the other podium will be the human embodiment of a loud, intentional, prolonged and unrepentant fart, followed by a smirk and a giggle.

Don't get me wrong. He's not the first horrible person to enter politics and he won't be the last (assuming our country and world can survive intact if--God forbid--he is ever elected). For example, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were also horrible people. But the caricatures they invoked--a chuckling cowboy and Darth Vader, respectively--at least were interesting to ponder and expound upon, and dissect their dysfunctions. But with Donald Trump, you just want to avoid him. You want to steer as far away from him as possible. At this point, we've run out of movie villains or animals with which to compare him. He's now much, much worse. He's like green, sickly, slimy, noxious, oozing gunk collecting in the most unwelcome of places. He's the simmering, acidic gassy aftertaste in your mouth right after you've just thrown up.

He's just so horrible.

Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Sep 15, 2016, 09:43 AM (68 replies)

If nothing else, at least I can say I lived under a historically great President in my lifetime.

I've been lucky to have lived under three Democratic presidents in my lifetime so far. Each one of them brought something unique and tremendous to the table.

Although I was too young to recall President Carter's actual presidency, from all my father's continued glowing on his legacy and character, all that I've read about him, and all that I've seen of him in his post-presidency, I am absolutely convinced he was by far the most moral, honest, upstanding, and decent human being ever to hold the Oval Office. It's why I honor him with my avatar on this site.

On the other hand, I do recall President Clinton's term in office. He was the President in my "formative years." I don't know if there's any other person in politics whose life and character fascinates me and inspires me as much as Bill Clinton. The story of a guy of humble origins but tremendous, raw natural leadership talents. His communication skills, his ability to connect with people every time he opened his mouth and have people resting on his every single word--it was unmatched. Even when he occasionally let us down, his sheer brilliance and persona always overshadowed his flaws. In my office, I have two notable items. One is a personally signed letter my grandfather received from President Clinton shortly after he was elected President. The other is a rather grainy screenshot of the moment of earlier this year when I had the opportunity to finally shake his hand, a moment I had literally dreamed about for years.

But as extraordinary as both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were, neither would probably meet the criteria of being a "great" president in the historical sense. Mind you, it's through a fault of neither of them, but merely a matter of context. President Carter only served one term, and was scapegoated for problems that were beyond his control. President Clinton served in the warm afterglow of a post-Cold War euphoria and thus any problems he did face were arguably too relatively mild to test his true potential. So as unique and tremendous as the assets of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were, historically speaking their presidencies won't be scrutinized along the likes of Lincoln or FDR.

Which brings me to President Obama.

Historically, President Obama could have simply been viewed as a novelty, a gimmick. A sign of a desire to move beyond our racially divided past and nothing more. When he was elected in 2008, I was excited, but feared he would only be a one-term president. I thought that his opponents would do everything and anything to lay every single tremendous problem facing our country (and in 2008, it was daunting) at his feet. And they most certainly did. How I completely underestimated the man was how he was able to overcome that resistance. How he was able to tenaciously push forward when he was being disparaged, being called every single name in the book, even literally having his own legitimacy as an American citizen challenged. And he just did not stop moving forward and pushing on. And he defeated not only his opponents in 2012, but my own pessimism as well.

Yesterday evening when I sat in my dark living room in front of the glowing television watching President Obama give his address, a feeling came over me. All these years I had wondered back to those who lived under Lincoln and FDR with a bit of envy, knowing that for all the turmoil of their times, at least they were able to see a truly great leader as an unshakable captain in the storm. And I suddenly realized that time for me was now, that I was living that moment now. I was watching someone who was able to right this country, someone who had that innate sense of leadership even with only four years prior experience at the federal level. I was watching someone whose voice was a clarion call, whose words would resonate decades after they were first spoken. And as he finished up his speech, I couldn't help the tears welling up because of the moment. This was history. This was greatness. And it was happening at this very moment.

I finally had my great President.

The thought of the likes of Donald Trump--someone so unabashedly unqualified and unfit for any public office, let alone the highest one--being elected President has caused me some anxiety and concern. If we have any sense whatsoever, we will elect President Hillary Clinton to build on the foundations that President Obama has given us. If we elect Donald Trump, well, God help us. I fear the long lasting consequences of such a decision for the lives of my young children and the children they may have. But if that be the case, I'll take solace that at least I'll have some point in my life where I saw a truly great President in action, that my children may have some vague recollection as well, and that there will always remain that undying sense of hope.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Jul 28, 2016, 10:16 AM (2 replies)

Why Trump-Palin *could* happen: The Trump Trot.

Donald Trump is a Cluster B. He's a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, one of several Cluster B personality disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder are others)--mental disorders that not only negatively impact the inflicted person, but those around him or her as well.

It's been said of serial killers (mind you not all Cluster Bs are serial killers, but many serial killers could likely fall into some Cluster B categories) that they grow more impulsive as their killing go on. They get an inflated sense of invincibility, as well as a sense that they need to top their past killings in their spectacular nature. Eventually, this leads to many of them ultimately making a mistake and getting caught.

While not a serial killer (at least not that we know), Trump in his Presidential quest seems to thrive off a sense of invincibility. He seems to love the idea that he was dismissed as a joke and then rose to the role of frontrunner and subsequently presumptive nominee. He seems to thrive on his legion of adoring, personality-cult worshiping fans. As we all remember, he once proclaimed, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's, like, incredible."

So I think we're expecting too much when we think Trump as a nominee will act more pragmatic, or nuanced, or measured, or "more presidential". He knows he's selling The Greatest Show on Earth, and picking an establishment type running mate just doesn't seem to be in his character.

He wants to be buzzworthy and talked about and the big story in the news, because he's hopelessly NPD, and having a counter balance of someone who at least thinks before he or she speaks just runs against that style. So I see Trump wanting to pick a VP nominee who is outside the establishment and is every bit the wildcard he is. There's several notable people who could fit that role, but Ben Carson seemed to identify the one name that would undoubtedly cause the biggest, yuuugest splash:

Sarah Palin.

It sounds crazy because it is crazy and Trump wants crazy because people will talk about Trump. And Trump has built up what he thinks is an immunity to bad acting and insane thinking based on what I call the Trump Trot, a corollary to the Gish Gallop. I explain it in detail here:


But in short, it means he overwhelms us with obnoxious behavior, bizarre statements and bewildering actions, things that if isolated would cause campaign killing outrage against any other seemingly normal candidate, but because we're placed into a state of shock due to the sheer number of instances he acts out like this, calling him out seems futile and useless.

And what's better than one practitioner of the Trump Trot? Two practitioners of the Trump Trot. And no person in politics comes closer to the level of sheer insanity and general unfitness for office that is Donald J. Trump than Sarah L. Palin.

Trump wants The Greatest Show on Earth, and he knows the media will promote it to no end. Naming Sarah Palin to the ticket would guarantee such a result.

Despite all the insanity that Trump-Palin entails, the prospect itself is not as crazy as you think.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue May 17, 2016, 10:18 AM (6 replies)

My 25,000th DU post, and my best DU moment: More apt today than ever.

Well, this is post number 25,000 for me here at the DU. I didn't think that when I signed up circa 2007 we'd be discussing the horrifying prospect of Donald Trump as our next president, but that's where we are that. Glad to say that we saw the final end of the Bush presidency and for the most part we've enjoyed President Obama and all that he's done for the country. Yes, our primaries discussions are a bit ugly--at least here in the DU bubble--but I'm still confident that come November we'll all be behind our nominee, whoever he or she ultimately is. We certainly can't afford not to be, knowing what the stakes are if we lose.

When it comes to milestone posts, I usually do something goofy, and I thought about doing the same this time for 25,000. Perhaps something related to a certain bald, mayonnaise loving white Canadian rapper with poor video production values. But somehow, whenever I do that in GD, my posts get locked. Apparently people don't appreciate great poetry such as, "You can catch me in the alleyway gettin' drunk and high." Sigh.

But I figured for 25,000, something more serious might be more appropriate. And I got to thinking what my ultimate moment in DU has been, what one post at DU am I most proud of out of the 25,000. And there've been a few, but there was one in particular that stood out. It was back in September 2009, back when the whole Tea Party hysteria began to manifest itself as an ugly, reactionary response to the fact there was not only a Democrat back in the White House, but a black Democrat to boot.

And I saw a picture from one of those rallies of a smiling old lady, kindly looking, holding up a sign reading, "The zoo has an African (lion) and the White House has a Lyin' African." And it really didn't make me angry to see such an ugly display of racism. It just made me sad.

So I sat down and typed out an open letter to this nameless--yet very real--woman. It only took about five minutes, and I didn't think much of it. I wasn't out to get a huge response. But I managed to get over 400 recs on that post, and it shot to the top of the Greatest Page, something I think has only happened to me once or twice since. And mind you, this was back in the day where DU was experimenting with "negative recs", so technically anyone could have voted it down. But I don't think there was anything in there that would have made anyone wanted to vote it down, because that's what DU is at its very best moments--a place where certain universal human truths, such as rejecting ugly bigotry, are heralded. Remember that fact the next time primary season comes around and we're all at each others' throats about Candidates X and Y.

So I'm reposting that as part of my 25,000th post here at DU. I'm reposting this because we are in the midst of an election season where it has been determined that our Republican opponent is one of the most loathsome, despicable and disgusting human beings to ever run for the office of the Presidency of the United States. And this man has openly supported and advocated for an atmosphere where attitudes such as this poor, unfortunate woman are the norm. That we ought to be divided. That we ought to go for the low blow. That we ought to make cheap jabs at race and ethnicity and whatever they can that runs so contrary to the spirit of civil rights movement decades ago. When I saw the old woman with the "Lyin' African" sign, I was shocked at that display of racist bigotry. My hope was that it would subside by the time 2016 rolled around and President Obama was finishing his term in office. Sadly, after seeing so many signs at so many Donald Trump rallies, I'm no longer shocked like I was 7 years ago. This woman had become the norm. There are thousands upon thousands versions of this woman at every place Donald Trump stops at, and we should always be cognizant these are real human beings fallen by the wayside and caught up in the ugliest display of humanity. And we can only hope--perhaps against hope--that maybe they can change, that they can be redeemed. But it will take some sort of internal reflection on their part.

And I wonder if this woman is still alive, and if so, if she's seen the error of her ways.

And my sincere hope is that she has.

Thank you to all the DUers past, present and future for all the great political discussions. You've made the time pass much easier, and I've learned a thing or two thousand.

Oh. And long live Chuggo.


An open letter to the woman with the "Lyin' African" sign:

Dear Ma'am:

I do not know your name. Chances are, I will never know your name, nor will the billions of other people totally oblivious to your existence. You see, you and I, we are the anonymous. While I do aspire to do great things with my life, I have resigned myself to the fact that the probability is high that my name likely will never be a household name, and I am quite fine with that. Being a good husband, father, employee, citizen, human being--that alone is enough for me to judge my success in life, without having my face thrust into the spotlight.

So, as a fellow member of the anonymous, I must implore you--what the hell were you thinking? From the looks of it, in 20-30 years you probably will have passed on from this world. And us anonymous folk, well, we only leave little tidbits of our existence on this earth after we are dead and buried. A mention in the local newspaper here, a donation plaque on the wall of the library there, and the rest is relegated solely to the memories of relatives and friends that you directly dealt with when you were alive. So few are the easter eggs that one leaves behind to remind the common person of one's existence.

So given that you will live and die for the most part anonymously, and unlike the great men and women of history, your legacy will be razor thin, you have chosen to define your legacy to the world with a simple sign. A sign with clearly obvious racial overtones to it. A sign that appears to be poorly crafted and poorly worded to boot.

Yet there you are, grinning and smiling, holding up your poorly crafted and not-so-subtly racist sign, and congratulations. You and your shit-eating grin have been beamed through cyberspace for thousands--perhaps millions--to see. You have voluntarily exposed yourself to be a racist, the worst kind of a person, someone who judges people solely on physical appearance and place of origin as opposed to the character they present. They may never know your name, but they will know you for who you are, and whatever your name may be, it would surely be mud to anyone who sees your face.

On your finger I see a wedding ring. You are somebody's wife, and likely somebody's mother and perhaps grandmother. You have placed your husband, your children and your grandchildren in a horrible spot--they must now defend you to the rest of the world and plead with them--no, she wasn't really like that. She loved dogs. She made a whopper of a peach cobbler. Yes, so she was a little "antiquated"--so what? Aren't we all deep down inside? No?

The bitter irony of this all is that the gentleman who is the subject of your sign will have a great legacy. He is one of only 43 individuals to hold the highest office of power in this country. People will remember him for many great deeds and words and decisions. Yes, at some point in his life he too may have his public moments of embarrassment or shame like you have--he is, after all, merely human. But unlike you, he has more than ample opportunity to counter-balance any missteps with acts of greatness. You and I, however, as members of the anonymous do not have any such luxury.

Therefore, you have made your sign to the world, and now you must be forced to wear it in perpetuity. My only hope is that in the remaining years of your life is that you somehow wake up and realize how perverted and hateful your mindset has been up to this point, and change your life accordingly. Otherwise, we will only know you for the photo you gave us.


A fellow anonymous
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu May 5, 2016, 10:38 AM (22 replies)

Donald Trump: The *real* first Internet candidate.

Sure, I know the internet has been around for decades. I know that it's been a major part of public life since the mid 1990s, and much has been made about it, how it has transformed global society and connected the world at our finger tips.

And yes, political candidates have flocked to the internet as a campaigning tool. From campaign websites to social media to Youtube videos, it's hard to imagine a political campaign that hasn't been heavily centered around the internet.

But there's the internet. And then there's the Internet.

There's the internet in what we, in our most optimistic and idealized state of mind, conceptualize it to be: the free and open exchange of ideas across the globe, a marketplace of speech, where we can engage one another in stimulating thought and conversation from miles apart. It's a great "Buy the World a Coke" type of attitude that would make anyone want to stand up and cheer.

But then there's the Internet, the Internet that it far too often actually is: an anarchic, chaotic Wild Wild West of a place, full of liars, scammers, predators, bigots and bullies. Full of ugliness and people emboldened by anonymity to be the very worst human beings that they can possibly be.

And that--the latter Internet--is what embodies this entire Donald Trump phenomenon as a whole. The Internet plays towards con artists and uninhibited human nastiness at the very lowest level, and that is everything that Donald Trump is.

Donald Trump is the clickbait links that seek only page views under the guise of vague, sensationalist headlines.

Donald Trump is the pseudo-scientific woo talking about fake natural cures to serious ailments or encouraging bad health advice, such as skipping vaccinations.

Donald Trump is the multi-level-marketing (MLM) scams that seize the minds of well-intentioned but gullible folks to sell useless products that would fail on the shelves of your neighborhood retailer.

Donald Trump is the "like-farming" on your Facebook feed, promising to enter you in a contest for a free vacation worth thousands of dollars to a place they have no authority or affiliation with, if only you "like and share" their phony page.

Donald Trump is the Alt-Right--angry, hateful, racist and misogynistic cretins found in places like 4Chan and Reddit, the people behind Gamergate, who have an odd unending obsession over "cucks" and "SJWs" and posting "dank memes". (These people really are attributing to much of Trump's online support--read any live feed to a Trump speech and it's teeming with them. It's scary.).

Donald Trump is the fake news stories from fake news sources passed off as truth--not satirically, as The Onion and The Borowitz Report do so,so well--but in a genuine attempt to confuse and mislead people, even though a simple internet search of minutes or a checking of Snopes or Politifact would reveal it all to be lies.

Donald Trump is the pop-up ad that you try to click away, only to inadvertently infect your computer with a nasty virus.

Donald Trump is Infowars and World Net Daily and the peddlers of insane, impossible conspiracy theories that people nonetheless buy into as the gospel truth.

Donald Trump is your spam email account, full of Nigerian lottery scams, ads for porn sites and fake prescription drug offers.

Donald Trump is Stormfront and other online hate groups that do nothing but to divide and incite the most ugly, hateful, bigoted reactions against any possible group imaginable.

Donald Trump is all those things of the Internet. He is the green, oozy, sickly, foul fecal-smelling slime that coats and suffocates the high-minded foundations of the internet like an invasive algae bloom.

He is the first true Candidate of the Internet.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon Apr 25, 2016, 11:44 AM (1 replies)

I think people are discounting a major reason for Trump's popularity. And it's very simple.

That is, the susceptibility of a significant portion of the population to being conned and scammed.

As evidence, I'll point where I'll always point: Facebook. Because sad as it seems, Facebook is our best means today to see normal human interaction and human reaction to stimuli over a diverse group of people you either know or people who know the people that you know.

Over the past year or so, I've seen essentially the same scam come up every month or two, in a variety of incarnations. It's called "Like Farming". A Facebook page will appear, purporting to be the page of a major US company. Most frequently it's Disney World. Sometimes it will be an airline or a retailer. They'll post a generic picture, and then claim that they are holding a contest. They'll claim they are giving away an all expenses paid 5 day vacation for 4. And not only that, they'll also give you $2,000 in spending money. Sounds great, doesn't it? So exactly does one have to do to win this sensational prize? Why, it's very simply. Just "Like" the page and type "Thanks" in the comment section.

And just like that, tens of thousands of people will do just as they say, thinking they're in the running for a vacation worth several thousand dollars. Of course, the problem is, they're not actually liking the real Disney World (or whatever company they think is running the contest) page. They're liking the page for "Dizney World" or "Disney World." (with a inconspicuous period behind it.) Meanwhile, the people who've created the dummy page get access to whatever information on your own Facebook page that is available to friends that isn't available to the general public. It should be obvious given that the dummy page has no other markings that an official page would have (no verified check mark, no posting on any other topics than this one contest). But you'll see tens of thousands of likes, and comments such as "I can't believe I have a chance to win this vacation!". Because sadly, despite all the obvious signs, there are plenty of people who think they are genuinely in the running for an official Disney World vacation. And it breaks my heart to see such gullibility on display.

Or sometimes there will be a blurry picture, and the message above will say, "Like this page and type 'Like!' in the comments and see what happens!". And again, thousands of people will fall prey, thinking that the simple act of liking a picture will magically change a static .jpg's digital properties.

I've also seen people fall victim to MLM scams on Facebook. I saw one friend posting about her "Essential Oil" business, and claimed--without any sense of irony or sarcasm--that these Essential Oils helped claim--among other things--Parkinson's, Autism and Cancer. No. Really. Apparently, the key to ever major disease out there is flax seed oil.

So now, we have this bombastic, in your face, presidential candidate who's made his living hawking himself in front of television cameras. He's had exactly two specific proposals in the 7 months he's been running for president: First, he's going to build a wall along the Mexican border and claims he'll have Mexico pay for it. Secondly, he's going to deny admittance to the US on the basis of religion, namely to Muslims. Other than these two ridiculously impractical and offensive proposals, the rest of his campaign has been shrouded in vaguery and smoke and mirrors. He'll talk about all the polls he's leading, about how he's going to win, all the people he knows, how he'll "Make America Great Again", how he has hats that say "Make America Great Again", and lots and lots of tearing into enemies and perceived enemies under the guise of "I'm not politically correct."

He hasn't said anything. He hasn't said a thing. He's gone on and on and on blabbering his mouth, but has yet to offer a single realistic, viable proposal or vision of how he wishes to lead the most powerful country on earth and help its citizens. All he talks about is himself. It's one of the most frustrating things I've happened upon in the news in recent memory, about how someone so obviously vapid and doing something only to selfishly feed his own pathologically festered ego can be so successful at the hands of gullible people.

But people eat it up. They think "Make America Great Again" is an actual policy, or that his "I'm not politically correct" validates their own internal bigotries. Just like "Like Farming" and MLM scams, we're seeing another great con being played on the American people, and far too many of them are falling victim.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Wed Feb 10, 2016, 12:14 PM (38 replies)

A very important DU Public Service Announcement:

General Discussion: Primaries is for general discussion about the Democratic Party primaries.

In case you somehow missed the giant banner that you had to click on before posting here at plain old General Discussion.

And that includes the whole "I was just making a general, non-election related comment on X Democratic Candidate, No really, I was" thing. Because no one believes you and that's just pathetic.

Some of us consciously avoid the ridiculous shit flinging insanity that is GD: P for a reason. Not that there's anything wrong with shit flinging. Just fling your shit over there for a reason.

I'm glad I can bring this to everyone's attention, and I'll expect beaucoup hearts for everyone in return for the public service I have provided today.

Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Tue Feb 9, 2016, 09:13 AM (10 replies)

I'm sorry. I keep on going back to the fact that DONALD TRUMP CANNOT SPEAK.

Yes, he talks. And talks. And talks. And talks.

But I'm not talking about talking. I'm talking about speaking.

And he seems completely incapable of giving an actual coherent, organized, thought out public speech.

Yes, the argument can be made that in politics, talk is cheap. And I'm sure we've all felt let down by at least one politician who gave great speeches but failed to follow up with concrete results.

But still, there's something to be said about someone who can speak to inspire or move, or make us think about something greater than just them. I saw it last week at the State of the Union. I beamed at President Obama's speech. He made me feel proud and hopeful, even despite the fact that we still have problems in the world. And while those are just feelings, I'm glad there's someone out there who can use the power of words to convey a idea of something more than yourself.

I actually tried listening to Trump's speech from Liberty University today. Because I wanted to know if somehow, there was something I was missing about the man's appeal. I knew I would vehemently disagree with his message, but that wasn't my purpose here.

But it was nothing. It was absolutely nothing. He talked about his poll numbers, then building a wall, then mocking his opponents, then China, then his poll numbers, then Iran, then building a wall, then mocking his opponents, then China.....no more than a minute on any subject before switching to another subject. There was no actual thought put into this. He was just talking and talking and talking. Not once was he actually speaking.

Today, we celebrate one of the greatest orators in American history, a man whose powerful words struck deep into the hearts of millions and help changed this country for the better. And thank God we have recordings of his speeches on records, so that people like me--who were born long after Martin Luther King was shot dead in Memphis--could continue to marvel at that awesome ability long after he died.

Martin Luther King did not talk. He spoke. And the narcissistic, incoherent drivel I heard today was as far from speaking as was humanly possible.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon Jan 18, 2016, 11:38 PM (36 replies)
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