Trump offers a big thumbs up to school shooting victims instead of gun control

Trump flashes a thumbs up before boarding Marine One, destined for Florida where he will meet with victims and first responders after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Image: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

On Friday, President Donald Trump visited Parkland, Florida in the wake of a school shooting in a high school that left 17 people dead. But Trump has faced criticism over the way he carried himself during that visit.

After an awkward meeting with first responders, the president and first lady Melania Trump stood together for a friendly photo op, which in itself seems insensitive. Trump had a huge smile on his face in the photo, and flashed his now signature thumbs up.

Trump updated his Twitter cover photo with the picture from the meeting Friday evening.

Image: Twitter/Realdonaldtrump

Trump also visited Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach, where many of the victims received care after the shooting. On his official Instagram, a series of images posted in an album featured Trump wearing a large smile on his face, flashing a thumbs up in a photo with hospital staff.

The press asked Trump if he met with any victims at the hospital. Instead of speaking about the impact those meetings may have had on him as a president, as a human, Trump decided to fluff up the hospital.

“Fantastic hospital, and they have done an incredible job,” Trump boasted. “The doctor was amazing, we saw numerous people and incredible recovery. And first responders — everybody — the job they’ve done was in incredible.”

Trump then congratulated a doctor he was standing next to.

While yes, first responders and hospital staff should be thanked and praised for their hard work in wake of the shooting, congratulations here are completely tone deaf considering 17 people lost their lives in the attack. 

In any other presidency, this would be a time for mourning. But Trump is using it to boast and brag. 

Many were quick to criticize Trump for his demeanor on social media, with some pointing to Barack Obama’s reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre in December of 2012. In 2016, Obama also delivered a powerful and emotional speech on gun violence, in which he broke down crying

Obama’s official White House photographer, Pete Souza, who has made it his duty to criticize the Trump administration by way of his photography from the Obama era, uploaded a photo of Obama sitting alone in a classroom in Sandy Hook Elementary School. It captures the former president in a quiet moment after he met with families for hours, and before he attended a prayer vigil. 

While it often seems like President Trump’s actions couldn’t be more shocking, this type of behavior is disgusting, and the heavy criticism is merited. There’s a time for photo ops, and then there is time for mourning. This was not the moment for Trump to show off how great he’s making America.

America has a real problem, and Trump isn’t even trying to fake it.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/17/donald-trump-parkland-smiling-thumbs-up-obama/

Trump shows gun control hypocrisy in wake of latest school shooting

PARKLAND, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Kristi Gilroy (R), hugs a young woman at a police check point near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed by a gunman yesterday, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested the suspect after a short manhunt, and have identified him as 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz.
Image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Displaying a cognitive dissonance that’s become common with him, President Donald Trump on Thursday made a reference to the alleged mental instability of the young man accused of the deadly Parkland, Florida school shooting. 

Though just last year he signed a bill that made it easier for those with mental illnesses to obtain guns. 

Speaking to the American public from the White House, Trump said of the fallout, “We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”

The comments echoed those that Trump made Thursday morning (where else?) on Twitter, calling the alleged shooter “mentally disturbed.”

But even as he lamented the mental health of the alleged shooter, Trump failed to mention that one year ago, he rolled back an Obama Administration regulation that would add the names of around 75,000 individuals declared incapable of managing their own financial affairs to the federal background check list.

While it’s unlikely the regulation would have directly blocked the Parkland shooter from obtaining a gun — it depended largely on data from the Social Security Administration and it doesn’t appear, so far, that the Parkland shooter met the criteria of the regulation — it does show a president whose words are at odds with his actions.

This isn’t the first time Trump has brought up the mental stability of a mass shooter. In October 2017, after a man opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds, Trump called the shooter “a sick man, a demented man, lot of problems.”

And yet Trump’s only action on guns as president was to weaken a relatively minor gun regulation that would have kept a group of mentally ill citizens from buying guns. 

In fact, Trump didn’t mention guns at all in the speech nor did he address the fact that the Florida shooter used an AR-15 assault rifle, the same rifle used in several other mass shootings, and that he bought the gun legally

If there’s one thing Trump has been consistent on, it’s his insistence there’s no need for gun control, something that came up during the 2016 presidential campaign thanks to one of his more incendiary comments (which is saying something). 

So, as the nation tries to move forward from yet another tragedy (and one that claimed the lives of innocent students, once again), we’re left to try and make sense of Trump’s views. Though he offered words of comfort on Thursday, the comfort feels thin as he continues to ignore the glaring issues that have led to a numbing cycle of gun violence. 

When his only direct action runs counter to the safety and protection he promises us as a nation — and to our children, who he directly addressed in Thursday’s brief speech — all those words simply ring empty, hollow platitudes that do nothing to actually make us safer.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/15/trump-mental-health-guns-parkland-school-shooting/

4 strategies to avoid #resistance burnout

Image: vicky leta / mashable

I was listening to The Read recently — it’s my favorite podcast — and I was struck by co-host Kid Fury’s observations about reaching the end of the year and feeling tired. 

I posted how I felt on Instagram: “Can’t add one more plan tired. Hard to get excited about exciting things tired. Can’t project, assume, or read minds tired. I’m letting myself be tired, be imperfect, be how I am. It is time to hibernate and make meaning of this year, understand the lessons.”

Five hundred people gave it a heart within a few hours. People reached out to me to say they are also tired — exhausted, really. Falling out in meetings, losing things, fighting with loved ones, letting hopelessness have our tongues. 

I am a social justice facilitator, practicing and teaching a methodology called Emergent Strategy. The goal is to learn how we do justice work that is adaptive, focuses on the small things that make up all large systems, and prioritizes critical connections over critical mass. I am also a visionary fiction writer (part of the Octavia’s Brood team) and a pleasure activist, which means I believe pleasure is an important measure of freedom, and that we need to make justice the most pleasurable experience we can have. 

And, even as someone focused on ease, nature, future, and pleasure, 2017 was a daunting year. 

And, even as someone focused on ease, nature, future, and pleasure, 2017 was a daunting year. But I am still going. Movements for social and environmental justice are still moving forward. 

Which gets me curious about how we are surviving, how we are generating energy to move forward in 2018 when everything is heavy and everything hurts. 

What do we do? 

The first thing is to give ourselves lots of room and respect for whatever we have done. It got us this far. So, shout outs to alcohol, sugar, sex, and weed, which have been doing the work of comforting and numbing millions. After the 2016 election, drinking definitely became one of my coping mechanisms for that “They all want my death” feeling that has become daily life. 

I know the newness of feeling this every day is as much an indication of my privilege as it is of political change; things aren’t getting worse, they are getting unveiled. Whatever I didn’t see before this moment is a sign that I was somehow benefiting from not seeing it. It feels worse nonetheless. 

But we need to be careful about numbing. The long-term impacts of numbing move us away from the very aliveness we are fighting for, that erotic level of presence, alertness, and feeling our miraculous existence in real time. Audre Lorde taught us that, “In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.”  

I wanted to offer some strategies beyond numbing that have helped me protect my aliveness. I invite you to practice these throughout 2018.

1. Reconnect with our movement ancestors. We are not the first to be in impossible conditions. And what we know is that we have survived, that our ancestors found ways to survive, to be in dignity and resistance. Focus on ancestors of your own lineage, knowing that every lineage on earth has individuals and groups who have left lessons behind. For me this year has been lit by the north star of Harriet Tubman. You might call on freedom fighters like Berta Cáceres or Bobby Sands — there are so many who inspire. Ancestors can and should humble us. 

2. Tune in to the three Gs every day: gratitude, good news, and genius. If you look, all three are within reach.

a) Start and/or end the day with gratitude. It’s a gorgeous world; pay attention to the beauty, the connection, the generosity and growth.

b) Read between the lines and find the good news. It’s always there, but it might be very small. For me, it’s often in the news of what movements for social and environmental justice are doing to resist. Boost it, grow it with your attention.

c) Our continued survival is actually a long, iterative practice of collective genius. Pay attention to the people and organizations who are doing more than reacting to the daily news or pulling each other down. Tune into the work of the Movement for Black Lives, the Women’s March, #MeToo, Cooperation Jackson, Movement Generation, #ourpowerpr, Mi Gente. These initiatives are attempting audacious, visionary, and difficult work that relies on the genius that arises from people working together across difference to address the challenges and opportunities of their real lives.

3. That thing about putting on your oxygen mask before helping others? It’s real. It’s not like other masks that hide your true face from others, which is an important distinction here. You don’t need to put anything over your truth right now to cover the emotional rollercoaster of being a human who is paying attention. But you do need to take care of yourself at a material level. Soothe without numbing, rest without guilt, hydrate to replenish your foundation, and use your body while there is still miracle in it. Hibernate: turn inward, get still, write down what you have learned from surviving the last year as well as what has been liberated within you, and what you are ready to grow. 

4. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t remind y’all that an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away. Remember that your body is literally wired to feel good, thread with nerves that communicate pleasure and let you know what to move toward. And you can choose between the orgasm and the orgasmic — do a massage exchange with friends, eat delicious home-cooked meals, watch comedy shows. There are so many ways to turn up your aliveness.

None of these practices are small or trite. We are in the worst of times right now. If you need to be convinced to care for your body, mind, and spirit so that you can care for your community and this planet, let’s just review the past 12 months. 

There was a period of denial and grief for many of us. Perhaps you also spent some time under a blanket, wondering why our species is so self-sabotaging and embarrassing? Maybe you too called friends to discuss where you could run to, and realized, again, that there was no place far enough, no place beyond the reach of the United States?

Those of us with an intersectional analysis of our current situation know that every uphill battle we’ve been fighting is at least twice as steep. We are looking ahead at battles around the tax plan, net neutrality, protecting the planet as a livable planet for our species, resisting a police force encouraged to unleash increased violence on our devastated vulnerable communities. All while watching 45 play nuclear roulette with North Korea on Twitter.

For those of us working to create social change, 2017 was a wild year. We take our whiplashed necks and try to keep up the pace as we run from protest to petition to planning meeting. We have held some lines, we have shown up and said no to racist bans and efforts to strip us of hard-won rights, and we have reached for each other. We’ve been surprised and excited as scientists marched and national parks workers used Twitter to resist fascist policy making.

And, in our exhaustion, we have sometimes turned on each other. Interpersonal beef drains organizational resources. Tactical differences become landmines. Places where we could learn together instead become battlegrounds that play out on social media. We long for something different but are stretched too thin to practice new approaches. We want each other to be perfect and to be transparent about our flaws. We are punitive and transformative in the same breath. 

We are in a fight for our survival and there’s no turning away from it, no turning back. 2017 was a reckoning, an unveiling. An embarrassment, yes, but it’s honest. And now we are at a very real risk of becoming too exhausted to continue our fight, our journey. 

Ella Baker taught us that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” 

Ella Baker taught us that “we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” I wrestle with these words all the time, because I believe in freedom, and I believe my body is a crucial part of the fight for freedom. So I interpret these words through my work. I do not rest in terms of how I work. I tirelessly show up for movements I believe in, to hold planned or unexpected hard conversations and mediations, to invite transformation in the face of frustration. I tirelessly seek out old and new ways of moving through our current paradigm and into a viable future. 

But when it comes to my body, I rest. I rest in myriad ways that allow me to show up fully for each facilitation. I ensure that I have quiet time each evening, a bath when there’s a tub, at least seven hours of sleep each night. I want to give us more permission to rest our bodies so that we don’t burn out our spirits and minds in our lifelong commitment to liberation.

It is in that spirit that I invite you to honor your ancestors and remember that they believed in you before your first breath. They believed you could generate gratitude, uplift good news, contribute to genius. Put on your oxygen mask and open to the pleasurable experiences of life. This is our moment to shape.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/12/resistance-burn-out-activism-new-year/

Donald Trump defended his mental stability and Twitter has some thoughts on that

Image: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

2018 sure is off to a running start in Trumpland.

The 45th President of the United States kicked off a busy weekend of meetings at Camp David on Saturday with a brief, fiery tweetstorm that — even at this early point in 2018 — is already a surefire candidate for the year’s most memorable.

In three tweets, Donald Trump addressed his intellect (“being, like, really smart”), his mental stability (“a very stable genius”), and his successful presidential election campaign (“on my first try”). He doesn’t come out and say it, but the tweets are likely a response to Michael Wolff’s upcoming book, in which Trump insiders question the president’s stability on the record, and/or recent meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss the president’s mental state.

In typical Trump fashion, the three-tweet tirade blows past known facts in favor of creating a particular narrative. The “first try” election claim, for one, is hogwash; Trump ran in 2000, and even won a couple of primaries — though only after he left the race, in Feb. 2000. 

He ran under the Reform Party banner, and ultimately blamed his exit on the political organization being a “total mess.” The Reform Party countered at the time with the contention that Trump’s bid had never been serious.

“Donald Trump came in, promoted his hotels, he promoted his book, he promoted himself at our expense, and I think he understands fully that we’ve ended the possibilities for such abuse of our party,” party leader Patrick Choate said at the time.

Predictably, Trump’s tweets drew a disbelieving response from social media. 

By all means, laugh at Trump’s ridiculously transparent feelings of inadequacy if it helps you get through the day. But don’t let it draw you away from staying informed on news items of actual import.

This week alone: G.O.P. legislators asked the Justice Department to investigate Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the infamous Trump dossier; the White House renewed its demand for a border wall; the U.S. cut off security aid to Pakistan; and the Justice Department moved to imperil the country’s burgeoning marijuana industry.

Among other things.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/06/donald-trump-very-stable-genius-tweetstorm/

Chelsea Clinton understandably can’t take Trump’s crude ‘joke’

What a pair.
Image: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

It would be that in an exposé of Vice President Mike Pence, it’s a reported comment from President Donald Trump about his veep’s views that’s putting the president right back in the hot seat.

A new New Yorker story, “The Danger of President Pence,” dug out incredible details about Pence’s history, his rise to the vice presidency, and his relationship to Trump. Toward the end of the lengthy piece, author Jane Mayer reported on what Trump thinks about his political partner. 

“Trump thinks Pence is great,” Bannon told me. But, according to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

The last part about gay rights was picked up as especially cruel, and not at all funny. Chelsea Clinton, who has called out Trump before (and before that), was quick to reprimand the president about having a little basic decency.

Others chimed in to share how upsetting it is to hear the president speak about the gay community in such a violent and flippant manner.

As this is one of countless inappropriate, cruel, and inhuman comments Trump has uttered, the fear is that the revelation isn’t likely to change anything — or even get noticed much beyond today’s tweets. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/16/pence-new-yorker-trump-gay-chelsea-clinton/

A timeline of the rogue Twitter employee’s last day at work before deleting Trump’s account

Image: mashable composite. max knoblauch; shutterstock

This post is a part of Mashable Humor. It is not real. We drew the bird, though, and think it’s pretty good.

A Twitter customer support employee is responsible for temporarily deactivating the account of President Trump for 11 minutes on Thursday night, just before 7:00 p.m. EST. According to a statement from the company, it was said employee’s last day, and they acted without the approval of anyone else at Twitter.

What follows is a comprehensive timeline of the “rogue” employee’s infamous last day at Twitter HQ.

9:05 a.m.: Employee arrives at office on their last day. Employee sits at desk.

9:15 a.m.: Employee’s manager approaches, asks employee if they received email. “I haven’t checked my email,” employee replies. “Oh, okay. Well, when you get a chance,” manager answers. The employee will not look at the email.

9:20 a.m.: Employee tells coworker Devin that his coffee mug is on their desk, technically, and has been every day for several months.

9:25 a.m.: Employee leaves for “early lunch.”

1:15 p.m.: Employee returns from lunch.

1:19 p.m.: Employee sends email recommending lunch spot’s Moscow Mules to full New York office.

1:25 p.m.: Employee forwards Moscow Mule email to global staff list with message, “In case any of you are ever in town.”

1:30 p.m.: Using Sharpie, employee writes, “This bread taste like DOGGGG SHIT” on a loaf of bread in the employee kitchen.

1:35 p.m.: Employee reminds coworker Devin about the coffee mug’s location, asking him, “Did you know?”

1:40 p.m.: Employee leaves for “late lunch.”

4:10 p.m.: Employee returns from late lunch.

4:45 p.m.: During team meeting, employee is asked to say a few words. Employee uses full time to again recommend the Moscow Mules. The employee has worked at Twitter for 4 years.

5:00 p.m.: Employee enters back room and adjusts office thermostat to 68 degrees.

5:03 p.m.: Employee arrives at HR for exit interview.

5:10 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “How do you feel about your time here?” with simply, “Bad.”

5:12 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “Is there anything you feel you have not been able to do in your time here?” with, “Delete the president’s Twitter.” Employee tells HR they think they will be deleting President Trump’s account later in the day. The HR representative chuckles.

5:15 p.m.: Employee returns to desk.

5:30 p.m.: Employee watches the first 25 minutes of Netflix’s What the Health at desk without headphones.

5:55 p.m.: Employee says, “Wow.”

5:56 p.m.: Employee messages manager that the office chairs are very uncomfortable. Manager replies with, “Well, I don’t furnish the office lol.” Employee replies, “I do not like you and I have not liked you for some time now.” Manager does not reply.

6:00 p.m.: Employee stands on desk and announces that they will be drinking Moscow Mules at the lunch spot nearby if anyone wants to go.

6:48 p.m.: Employee returns to office to retrieve coat.

6:49 p.m.: Employee throws Devin’s mug in the garbage.

6:50 p.m.: Employee deactivates the president’s Twitter account.

6:55 p.m.: Employee returns to lunch spot for Moscow Mules.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/04/rogue-twitter-employee-deletes-trump-timeline-satire/

Jeff Flake 2

Jeff Flake is going out with a bang, and Donald Trump is notgoing to like it. 

The Republican senator from Arizona announced on Tuesday that he’s not running for re-election in 2018. And then he denounced President Donald Trump and everything Trump represents on the Senate floor. 

“We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals,” Flake said, according to his prepared speech.

He continued, “Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is,’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.”

“And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy.”

He also laid into Republican politicians, who have enabled Trump by biting their tongues when he goes off the rails. 

“When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations.”

“Despotism loves a vacuum”

Finally, he warned that abandoning our values would benefit America’s enemies. 

“Despotism loves a vacuum.  And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?”

Reaction was split between those who found Flake brave for standing up to Trump and his own party …

… to those who noted that Flake still supported much of Trump’s agenda, and faced a tough primary and general election in 2018, which means it’s no guarantee he’d win anyway. 

Regardless, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now have one more Republican enemy in Congress. Sen. Bob Corker announced last month that he also wasn’t running for re-election in 2018, and hasn’t been shy about his disdain for the president. 

And John McCain — who torpedoed Trump’s health care plan — has also been speaking out against the president. On Tuesday, McCain tweeted his support for his fellow Arizona senator. 

Donald Trump spent Tuesday morning slamming Corker with childish insults. It’s a pretty good bet he’s about to rage-tweet about Flake very soon. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/24/jeff-flake-anti-trump-speech/

Trump to Puerto Rico: Show us the money

Image: Getty Images

With Puerto Rico in a worsening humanitarian crisis, President Donald Trump continues to hold the U.S. territory’s debt over its head.

It is difficult to fathom just how irresponsible and entirely beside the point Puerto Rico’s debt is when it comes to its current situation. Puerto Ricans are Americans, just like the people in parts of Texas and Florida that the government is helping after two other major hurricanes this season. 

Yet on Friday, Trump doubled down on holding disaster aid hostage to the U.S. territory’s debts, which total about $70 billion..

“Ultimately, the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort, [which] will end up being the biggest ever, will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island,” Trump said in a speech on Friday.

The fact that Puerto Rico is an island is, in the eyes of Trump, Puerto Rico’s fault.

Trump also observed the Puerto Rico is an island and that this geography therefore makes recovery difficult. Trump’s comments have consistently painted Puerto Rico as a foreign place with foreign people, rather than a home to more Americans than about 20 fully-fledged states. 

The president also seemed to be comfortable putting the shipping industry’s interests first. He was slow to suspend the Jones Act, which mandates that anything shipped to Puerto Rico be on U.S. owned and operated vessels. This makes shipping between the U.S. and Puerto Rico very expensive, which raises the costs of goods for island residents. 

Trump wasn’t exactly secretive about this, saying on Wednesday: “We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.”

As Americans have begun to fully realize the depth of the devastation in Puerto Rico, the Trump administration has been coming under greater pressure to act. Comparisons have already been made to George W. Bush’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina. 

Trump, naturally, hasn’t taken that well. His response so far has bounced between criticizing Puerto Rico and blatantly lying about how his response has been perceived in Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Rico’s governor has tried to set the record straight on that, but Trump supporters are likely only to have heard the president’s claims. The websites of Drudge Report, Breitbart, Infowars, and Fox News barely had a mention of Puerto Rico as of Friday midday.

Trump is correct in stating that Puerto Rico has a problem with its debt. It’s a problem that has been around for years and has only gotten worse. It’s electric utility company is in a particularly tough spot, having owed $9 billion before the storm hit. 

The notion, however, that the island’s debt has anything to do with what the government should be doing to help Puerto Ricans in need is the kind of double standard that has added fuel to a growing fire — that Trump is a racist whose true colors are starting to show. 

His handling of the recent NFL controversy has particularly stood out, most notably when he said that owners were afraid of their players.

This is classic Trump. Admitting that he and his administration have bungled the response to the Puerto Rico crises would be to show weakness. Instead, Trump is embracing his go to move of whataboutism. What about Puerto Rico’s debt? What about it’s infrastructure? What about the fact that it’s an island? What about the fact that it’s name isn’t even in English? 

Meanwhile, aid to Puerto Rico is still stuck on docks, unable to get to the people who sorely need it. There’s no “big water” stopping it. Just a pitiful lack of effective disaster relief coordination. 

That’s not the main issue for Trump, though. He wants Puerto Rico to show him the money. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/29/donald-trump-puerto-rico-show-me-the-money/

91-year-old former congressman sets the Twitter bar in the Trump era

John Dingell has been owning Twitter for years.
Image: ambar del moral/mashable

91-year-old former congressman John Dingell has been quick, witty, and on fire with his 140 characters for years.

Despite his age, he knows how to use the tweet machine the way it was intended: biting commentary, playful retweets, and insightful and smart reactions. Time and again he’s shown he’s mastered Twitter.

After tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump was elected, Dingell’s Twitter game has become even more relevant and fiery.

After the violence in Charlottesville and Trump’s bumbling mess of a response to the anti-Semitism and white supremacy on display, Dingell took to Twitter in the days following. One particular tweet resonated, with thousands praising the longtime Michigan lawmaker for posting what the president struggled to say. 

Just look at those likes.

Once known as an imposing Democrat with strong opinions and determined to pass universal health care, he’s refocused his energy toward the Twittersphere, where he still speaks his mind loud and clear even if it’s not on Capitol Hill.

Sure, Dingell also spends a lot of his time tweeting about Michigan sports. But after retiring after nearly 60 years in office at the age of 87 (he was the longest-serving member of Congress in history), he’s kept a running commentary on the ridiculousness of the government and society in general.

In the Trump era, where the president uses a micro-blogging platform to announce policy, devise political strategy, and sling insults, Dingell’s reactions and responses are a go-to source of humor, insight, and reflection.

Dingell’s Trump tweets also have bite. Since inauguration day (and throughout the election, too, if you want to look back and laugh-cry) we’ve been treated to these gems that often encapsulate what a lot of us are thinking.

On resignation

On Trump’s staffing problems

On the health care fight

On Russia and lying

On Trump’s Middle East trip

On cake 

When Trump gave an interview about a missile strike on Syria he talked mostly about “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen.” It was — weird. Dingell noticed.

On the wall

Dingell joined Twitter in 2010. In the seven-plus years since, he’s tweeted almost 5,000 times. Trump, 71, joined about a year earlier, but has racked up nearly 40,000 tweets — eight times the number of tweets, which seems like a good way to measure Trump’s Twitter obsession.

Dingell’s targets go beyond Trump. 

Years before the former reality TV show host joined the political circus, Dingell was posting sharp commentary on, well, everything. The Atlantic called his Twitter feed “the best” back in 2014. Some of Dingell’s earlier Twitter home runs include a post about Sharknado, excellent usage of the hashtag and term “YOLO,” and taking an internet meme to disparage himself. 

In recent days he’s brought down Sen. Ted Cruz with his wit. He’s plugged in to internet culture, whether it’s April the pregnant giraffe or the Kardashians.

With Dingell’s decades of insider knowledge, his posts go beyond your average snarky Trump commentary that poke at the thin-skinned president. Luckily, Dingell hasn’t gotten blocked, and maybe he won’t if he keeps up with his smartly crafted ripostes.

His tweets spark discussion, replies, and thousands of retweets and likes.

If this retired 90-something Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient can keep up with Trump and everything else on Twitter, there’s no excuse for the rest of us. Except for the fact that John Dingell has already won Twitter. Maybe the rest of us should just go home.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/16/john-dingell-twitter-trump/

Donald Trump’s eyeroll of a 2020 campaign ad is as bad as you think it is

Donald Trump is barely seven months into his scandal-ridden first term as president and he’s already dropped a ludicrous ad that both makes the free press out to be an enemy of the American people and sets the stage for a 2020 reelection campaign.

Because what we really need is another reason to drink on Monday.

And this ad … hoo boy.

It’s just 30 seconds long but, much like the Trump administration, it feels like it exists in a plane beyond our normal concept of time, where everything slows down and each moment feels like a fever dream that stretches into eternity.

In other words, Donald Trump packed a whoooole lot of intense ideas in a short, half a minute ad. So let’s break it down, everlasting second by everlasting second.

0:00 – Okay, before we even hit play, please note that the title of the ad is called “Let President Trump Do His Job.” I don’t know who has the power to keep Trump from doing his job, though. No one’s keeping him off the golf course so how can anyone keep him from being president?

0:01 – Democrats are criticized for being obstructionists with a quick shot of “Cryin'” Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. Like Mitch McConnell didn’t just spend a year blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

It’s also entertaining that a president so used to criticizing the opposition is now mad that the opposition is also, well, opposing him.

0:02 – “The media, attacking our president,” screams the ad. Indeed, how dare the free press hold the president accountable? Among those singled out at this point are Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, George Stephanopoulos, Chuck Todd, John King, Erin Burnett, Rachel Maddow, and Don Lemon. That’s a lot of media!

But you know who the ad doesn’t display on screen? Anyone from print or digital journalism. There are no New York Times or Washington Post headlines critical of Trump called out in the ad. These are the publications that are actually making the big scoops that are doing the main damage to the the administration.

And, yet, the ad focuses on TV figures, which makes a weird sort of Trumpian sense given that this president pretty much reacts to whatever he sees on television.

0:06 – The ad rolls out shots of Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Steny Hoyer, Democrats who have been very vocal in their criticism of Trump, calling them “career politicians” who keep “standing in the way of success” for Trump. For whatever criticism these two lawmakers may deserve, it’s incredibly misplaced here.

This cannot be stressed enough: the GOP has a majority in both houses and the president is a Republican so if you still can’t get your agenda through, you might want to do a little soul searching.

0:09 – “But President Trump’s plan is working!” The issue here is: which plan?

IS AMERICA GREAT AGAIN YET OR NAH?

Image: YouTube

His health care reform? His border wall? The Mueller investigation into Russian involvement in the election? A stable White House staff?

This is a particular moment where time feels like it slows down to a crawl, the past and future visible from the same fixed point in space, warping around me like a stream around a stone, polishing me down until I am nothing.

0:10 – There’s a lot of touting of strong economic numbers and we know our president has a way of touting economic milestones that are either misleading or not a result of his work.

Remember when Trump said jobless numbers were phony until they magically weren’t anymore?

It’s hard to take anyone that admits this seriously though that doesn’t stop Trump from expecting voters to.

0:20 – The military is strong! Look at this mighty plane and aircraft carrier. Behold, the power of a man leading a nation to nuclear war via Twitter!

0:23 – In case you were still wondering how Trump feels about the press, we return to the same collage of TV news anchors with the voiceover proclaiming, “The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed.”

Again, Trump is treading on dangerous but familiar ground by proclaiming the press as the enemy and hatching a conspiracy that reaches Nixon-level paranoia. If this ad were two minutes long (God help us), it’d be a soft first step toward a Two-Minute Hate.

And what better time, really, to release a campaign ad denouncing the free press as the enemy of the people than after a violence-marred weekend involving Nazis who were emboldened by your success and rhetoric?

0:27 – “Americans are saying ‘Let President Trump do his job’.”

Well, if you consider abysmally low approval ratings as a way of saying, “Get the hell off Twitter and start doing your damn job,” then, yes, this line of reasoning works.

If time is really a flat circle, then may it eventually spin fast enough to launch me off into the nethersphere where I can at last be at peace.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/14/trump-campaign-ad-freedom-of-press/