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Joke of the Week

What's the difference between a lentil and a chickpea?

Donald Trump wouldn't pay $1000 dollars to have a lentil on his face


Amusing though it is, I am astonished at the speed at which people will abandon concepts like democracy and free speech. They won't abandon the words, oh no... the words become like the sign of the cross, In Nomine... accompanied by a gesture learned early,repeated mechanically and used without thought of what it means.

Trump shouts at CNN and refuses to answer the reporter, HAHA! Take that CNN! His followers squeal with delight, never thinking of what it means to have a ruler place themselves above and beyond the duty of responding to the Press, to the questions of the outer world. Here, we want a different democracy for every mood, and let's change the rules whenever, because it's not as though that's a fine precedent for any wannabe dictator. And if the legislature doesn't like it, shut up stupid judges! And if civil servants say it's a bad idea, go away nasty civil servants! And if experts say it won't work, screw you know-it-all experts!

Nothing teaches fire safety better than a burn, they say. Trouble is, this lesson may take the schoolroom with it.


Jan. 13th, 2017 07:45 am (UTC)
De Blasio I know nothing about, Obama, I understand, lost the plot after months of what the White House considered to be a smear campaign. But for the PE to lose his temper during his first press conference over material which warrants serious investigation? Even Fox have stepped in to defend CNN, saying that the dossier story broken by CNN is separate and distinct from Buzzfeed's revelations, and that as far as Fox can make out, journalistic standards have been maintained.

I don't think restricted press access is ever good. But I can understand how months of negative propaganda could wear on one's patience. There seems to be no indication as yet that the dossier story is such propaganda, nor that CNN intended it to be.

This is serious, but more serious to my mind is the glee with which people will dispense with laws that maintain their rights,just for a moment's air punching.

Edited at 2017-01-13 07:46 am (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2017 08:50 am (UTC)
There's a certain relief in hearing a politician say what many of us think about discreditable news sources especially when the news sources we read - and I include myself in the 'we' - have been deemed 'fake' or tainted in some other way by media outlets like CNN. It wasn't just Trump supporters who felt a frisson of glee.

As for the dossier I'll have to disagree with you. I think it's bogus and that CNN is at best a tool. It's serious, yes, because it's part of a continuing attempt to deligitimise the president-elect. I doubt it will end with the inauguration. In any other context you could call it an attempt at a coup. The glee that disturbs me is the glee of Americans who apparently support the undermining of their political system by the military-intelligence complex.
Jan. 13th, 2017 11:11 am (UTC)
It depends on the politician. Trump's good opinion of something makes me instantly suspect it. This is less because of what I read about him, more from what I read in him, his tweets, his expressions,his words in camera sight. The fakeness or otherwise of news outlets is an interesting point. I hate the Daily Mail, but it would not please me to hear a fake man call it fake. If anything, it might make me wonder if it had started investing in real journalism.

As for the dossier, I do not know whether it's real or not. There is a point at which we need to work out whether we think the whole edifice of government is an illusion, and it's easy to wander into tin hat territory. Do we trust it at all? if the answer is yes, then the dossier needs to be investigated. If the answer is no, then we must change the intel agencies. How do we know that any replacement will be disinterested, especially when the president regards disagreement as disloyalty?

In a much smaller way, this question is rising over here. Our civil service is unlike the American version, in that the administration is meant to stay neutral and just carry out instructions and give advice. Now we have a situation where top civil servants are resigning - and being reviled - for simply not telling the PM and ministers what they want to hear. Zealotry has become more important than honesty.

Edited at 2017-01-13 01:14 pm (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2017 11:03 pm (UTC)
I try to quell the urge to suspect a statement because I don't like the person who made it nor do I believe a statement because I like the speaker. I scrutinise the statement. In this case, Trump is correct about the quality of journalism on CNN and Buzzfeed although that's a separate issue from whether he should accept questions from them.

This isn't about trusting government, it's about scrutinising a document (whose release to the public and the timing of it ought to be considered while we do so) rather than assuming that it must be true because we want it to be true. The default position - and this has been evident on Facebook and Twitter - is to accept it without scrutiny and to, whether knowingly or not, accept the word of intelligence services we have every reason to distrust. I suspect that the dossier will remain in the realm of the unverifiable and the best we will be able to do is follow the trail of its transmission.

I doubt very much whether the US intelligence services can be changed although Trump may try - and may need to do so for his survival. As for tin hat territory - where it lies is in the eye of the beholder.
Jan. 13th, 2017 11:44 pm (UTC)
I concur with parts of your approach if not necessarily your conclusion.

It's pointless to dismiss a statement because one doesn't like what is said or whoever is saying it. But it is perfectly feasible to suspect a statement if one does not trust the speaker, whether one likes the statement or not. In such a case said statement should not be dismissed or seized upon according to one's preference. It should be scrutinised rigorously. Arguably it should be scrutinised whether one trusts or not. He's not wrong because he's Donald Trump, he's not right because he's Donald Trump. But neither is it slush because it's CNN.

Jan. 14th, 2017 12:07 am (UTC)
I suspect all statements no matter who makes them. Trump's statements receive the same treatment I'd give to anyone else's statements just as anything he does as president will be judged on its merits and not on his worthiness or lack of it.

My judgement of CNN is a judgement of CNN and their approach to journalism not on the truth value of their news. I've followed them for decades and have a good sense of how their content has devolved. I have the same approach to outlets such as Breitbart as well whose news may have truth value in spite of their ideology. Nonetheless, one might still harbour an opinion about where one is more likely to find slush and avoid those websites due to the amount of heavy lifting involved when it comes to fact-checking.

But unless it becomes a pattern of behaviour I don't see Trump's refusal to take a question from CNN in this instance as indicative of a lack of openness to communication in general. I think we have to accustom ourselves to Trump's reactiveness and tweeting because this is the order of things for the next four years.
Jan. 14th, 2017 01:21 am (UTC)
I suspect that it is a pattern of behaviour, but we shall see.

Re his worthiness and his merits,I think they are tied together. It is evident that he is a boastful coarse man, with a tendency to shout over other people. He thinks people who don't pay taxes are smart, he mocks disabled people, he talks about grabbing women by their genitals...We are not going to get far on his worthiness.

It is of course possible that an unworthy man can bring about good things. Retreat from the hideous mess in the middle east and a sincere attempt at peaceful relations with Russia must be better for the whole world. But if there is a possibility that he and/or his advisers have a conflict of interests, well, that's got to be investigated.

But I appreciate you see things differently.



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