Tag Archives: Trump

For Sale: One Bridge, Slightly Used

(photo by The Washington Examiner)

  1. the action (generally illegal) of advertising goods that are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.
    “a bait-and-switch scheme”

The term was first used in 1962, to describe an ascending advertising strategy. Ad folks also coined the term “Mad Men,” one of the most brilliantly self-aggrandizing terms in the history of language (and not a bad TV show).

Since then, of course, it’s become so familiar as to be idiomatic.

So why are we so duped by Trump’s ultimate (and ceaseless) sales strategy? Against his own party and voters,  no less?

Consider the last two months alone. The Trump administration has suffered profound political losses, from health care to DACA to being out-Tweeted by Kim Jong Un (who probably loves the nickname Rocket Man, by the way. Take it from Scotty Potty: Teases never work with cool nicknames. Ever hear a bully say,  “You throw like a girl, Diesel!”)?

Yet if you watched his weekend “rally” in Alabama, you’d think those inbreeders were welcoming  MacArthur from the Pacific Theater. Watch in news replays, and you’ll see Trump, perhaps the glummest politician in American history, beam a true smile. He’s in his element.

Which just happens to be a used car lot.

In the rally, you can see him  actually dropping the bait. First he made a brief pit stop at John McCain’s front door to drop a flaming bag of dog shit, presumably because McCain (who is about to enter the myth-o-sphere) is stealing the president’s headlines and may be the only Republican not left wearing spray-on tan backwash.

After calling the Senator names from afar, he then race-baited the huckleberries with a favorite alt-right ember: minorities who challenge American institutions. The NFL, Trump brayed, are filled with America-haters who should be automatically dismissed for not standing for the national anthem.

Teams, as expected, responded en masse today, kneeling to tell the president where to stick the rocket’s red glare. Also as expected, CNN and MSNBC went apoplectic with rage, as Fox, the state news service, defended President Pumpkinhead for telling it like it is.

So dropped was the bait. The switch, however, was made long prior. When he met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling to cover hurricane relief, a seismic and public victory for Democrats.

If anything, Democrats may be the biggest winners of a Trump presidency, which has been underscored by a singular strategy: Cave when it comes to negotiation, but throw out an impotent-yet-incendiary quote to appease the base.

He did it with Charlottesville. He did it with Joe Arpaio. He’s doing it now. Trump knows that coffee is for closers, and you do anything — anything — to take the sit, make the pitch, and get them to sign on the line that is dotted, as David Mamet once said.

And the media has no choice but to cover the misdirection. What is CNN going to do? Not cover the things he says? Somehow, that would be even less responsible than covering the bullshit.

Perhaps what’s needed is a mandatory warning, like with pharmaceutical commercials. Except instead of a post-commercial disclaimer, this could be superimposed under all stories: Warning: The following is misdirection. Too much attention may result in severe retardation and reverse mortgages.

And I know, Mr. Schumer,  you were caught in a hot mic moment saying that, deep down, Trump “likes us. He likes me, anyway.”

Still, Senator, I wouldn’t expect a call in the morning.



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GOT Spoiler: Never Mind, Winter Isn’t Coming


If complaining is an art, I am Picasso. If it’s bullshittery, I am Ferdinand.

So please excuse my latest deposit, whatever its contents. I can’t help myself.

But why the oxygen-depleted approach to Hurricane Harvey when it comes to  a connection with global warming? Has this somehow become a political issue, too?

Last night, NBC’s Lester Holt gave the entire NBC Nightly News  from Houston. Apparently, Texas is god’s downspout. Or anus. Regardless, the boss was having major runs: By the end of the newscast, Holt had to move  to higher ground, the currents invading so quickly.

Yet nowhere in the half hour did he mention global warming. Indeed, most networks have avoided the issue like a Category 4, lest they incur the wrath of dullards. Apparently that’s a key demographic. And a frighteningly large one.

Last month, Gallup did a poll of Americans and found 81% of them believe there is a scientific debate over global warming. In truth, Gallup later noted, 97% of scientists agree that global warming is a man-made dividend on ill-advised investment. That is as much agreement as you’ll ever get from the scientific community, which still debates the nature of gravity.

To their credit, some smaller outlets have attempted a connection. At the Houston CBS affiliate (which has become a YouTube star overnight),  a University of Houston professor estimated that 20% of the rainfall was due to global warming. USA Today ran a piece Tuesday entitled Is There a Global Warming Connection?

Both stories added fascinating components, from nature’s cyclic tendencies to our ever expanding carbon boot print. But there’s a must simpler story here:

This is what global warming will look like.

For all the data Al Gore drops on us, for all the wisdom Neil deGrasse Tyson offers in baritone, nothing matches the images we digest. We are watching coastlines alter live. Those Houston homes now have new owners: brine. And they don’t pay rent.

Trump, of course, used the opportunity for political expedience — and to let us know he chose the timing of a political pardon because the storms would get great ratings. If nothing else, we know how to ferret fortune out of nature’s indifference. The guy will pardon Harvey the moment he realizes most of the victims are minorities.

We have seen this before, with Katrina. In a tsunami. If you’re looking for work, here’s a suggestion: Google Earth is going to need people just to update its maps.

But when the debates are over, when we’ve given up on the notion that this is all a “gotcha!” from the Far East, we will be left with these images. What we do with them is the only real issue to come from Harvey, as is its only lesson:

You don’t need to be a product of global warming to be a preview of it.




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