Marshall 7-11-15
The other day I got into my car (mostly just to drive it to keep the battery charged) and drove to the closest In-N-Out Burger to get some tasty cheeseburgers.
It was around lunchtime and there was a bit of a line (not surprising at any In-N-Out, lunchtime or otherwise).
From my perspective, there were two ways to merge into the drive-in line, so I let the guy in front of me go first and then I merged into the line.
It was hot out, so I had the window up and the air conditioner blasting while I listened to a favorite podcast – in my own little cocoon.
A couple minutes later I heard someone outside yelling in an angry tone, “HEY! … HEY!” – I looked up and saw a guy standing outside the driver’s side of my car.
I rolled down the window and the guy told me in an irritated tone of voice that I was taking cuts.
I was surprised at this and my defense mechanism automatically kicked in … I told the guy (he was a rough-looking construction-worker type guy in an orange T-shirt in his early-mid 40’s) “Thanks, buddy, I appreciate it.”
At that, the guy made a dismissive gesture with his arm at me and muttered an expletive as he walked away and I rolled up my car window.
Thinking I effectively brushed off this ruffian, I drove further up in the line to meet an adolescent male dressed in white pants and shirt, white side cap headgear and a red apron, holding a electronic notepad.
“Are you here to take my order?” I asked the young man.
He responded in a soft, cracked voice, “I’m sorry, you took cuts, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
Poor kid. While not further contributing to his obvious discomfort wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, seeing I wasn’t going to prevail in this conflict, I put my car in reverse, got out of the drive-through line and departed, cheeseburger-less.
So there it was. While I didn’t *intend* to take cuts, the authority figure in the form of an awkward, pimply-faced adolescent dressed in white told me how the cow was going to eat the cabbage.
A simple misunderstanding.
Afterwards, I thought about it and concluded I missed an opportunity.
Instead of putting my hard face on, I could have showed Mr. Construction Worker Guy hungry for a burger some grace.
I could have told him, “Hey, thanks for letting me know, I’ll get in the back of the line now”.
Instead, my natural defense mechanism in the form of “Who the hell does this guy think he is, telling me what to do?” kicked in.
Lesson learned: I think the pandemic has a lot of people stressed and on-edge and I need to have a rapid response plan to show more awareness and grace to my neighbors, including those whose name I don’t know who are cut out of a rougher piece of wood waiting in line to get a burger.


I don’t know who will win the Presidency in November 2020.
But right now, Trump’s polling in battleground states are bad news for him.
Additionally, Trump’s national favorable numbers continue their slide while his unfavorable numbers head north.
Trump - RCP Approval Disapproval Numbers - 6-25-20
South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune can read the polls, too.
That is why Thune has called on Trump to use a different tone than the current divisive and combative one that comes natural to him.
Thune knows Trump is good with his rock-solid base of the mostly pale, male and frail.
But Thune also recognizes that if Trump is to have a chance at winning in November 2020, it is essential for him to broaden his appeal to swing, moderate and undecided voters in battleground states.
Thune went on to say that Trump would benefit from using a more empathetic tone.
Senator John Thune Trump change tone empathetic - 6-25-20
Is Trump capable of doing this?
Elements of Trump’s reelection campaign (Jared, Ivanka, others) will put empathetic sounding words into Trump’s teleprompter.
Trump would read them in his now familiar bloodless, monotone style that reveals the most inauthentic of all the Trumps: Telepromptered Trump.
But just as the sun always rises in the East, Trump would revert to Real Trump, the Trump that habitually manically Tweetstorms attacks on his enemies (real and imagined) in the middle of the night while America sleeps.
Senator Thune can read the polls and understand what they mean for Trump’s reelection campaign; the question is: Can President Trump?



Marshall 7-11-15
Since Donald Trump glided down that golden escalator in Trump Tower in 2015 to announce his candidacy for president, folks in Right Wing Infotainment smelled an opportunity and heard the ‘CHA-CHING!’ of the cash register.
Accordingly, FOX News, talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and a swarm of web sites like Breitbart, Gateway Pundit and The Federalist saw Trump as the goose that lays the golden eggs in the form of ratings and revenue, clicks and cash.
What’s the secret sauce of Right Wing Infotainment?
Put another way: What is the business model of Right Wing Infotainment?
Noted Stanford economist and commentator Thomas Sowell sums it up nicely:
“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”
To sell pillows, gold, nutritional supplements, survival food kits, weight loss potions, erectile dysfunction medications, baldness cures and catheters, Right Wing Infotainment’s business model is to confirm their audience’s biases, tickle their ears, and tell them what they want to hear.
Left Wing Infotainment does something very similar, but that’s for another post.
One of Right Wing Infotainment’s more shameful (and shameless) figures is former White House employee and current pro-Trump talk radio host Sebastian Gorka.
Case in point: Sebastian Gorka used to speak in glowing terms about President Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, Marine general James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis.
But then Mattis committed the unforgivable sin in Trumpworld of writing a commentary that was critical of Trump.
So Gorka, knowing his paycheck depends on him telling his pro-Trump audience what they want to hear, obliged with a scathing commentary of Mattis.
Does Gorka believe the critical words he wrote about Mattis?
I don’t know Gorka’s heart, but noted conservative author, speaker and commentator Jonah Goldberg recounts the times he’s been in the green room at FOX News, chatting with Republican congressmen and others who’ve told him off-camera that they loathe Donald Trump and hate what he’s doing to the Republican Party, but then when these same folks get in front of the camera, the put on the red MAGA hat and sing Trump’s praises.
For many in Right Wing Infotainment, being pro-Trump is a shtick, a gig that enables them to keep their jobs in front of the camera or behind the microphone or keyboard.
Gorka’s motivations and actions are aptly described by Miles’ Law:
‘Where you stand depends on where you sit.’
(Hat tip to Erick Erickson for the combined tweets/images).
Sebastian Gorka Four - MEME - Mashup - 6-9-20

Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Fans Love to Say of Trump, “…but he FIGHTS!”, but When is Trump Going to Fight Against Russia’s Cyber-Warfare Against Us?

Marshall 7-11-15

On February 16, 2018 Senator Ben Sasse (R, Nebraska) released the following:

“Mueller just put Moscow on notice. This ought to be a wakeup call to Washington: Putin’s shadow war is aimed at undermining Americans’ trust in our institutions. We know Russia is coming back in 2018 and 2020 – we have to take this threat seriously.”

Senator Sasse is right. What is needed right now to fight Russia’s attacks against us is presidential leadership, but President Trump is still AWOL and he still hasn’t implemented sanctions against Russia that Congress overwhelmingly passed last August.

Today (February 17, 2018) Trump’s National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster, said that evidence of Russian cyber-warfare against us is “incontrovertible“.

A lot of Trump followers like to say of Trump, “…but he FIGHTS!”

When is Trump going to wake up and get in this fight?

Is President Trump a National Security Risk?

Andrew C. McCarthy is the brilliant prosecutor and expert on Radical Islam who put Omar Abdel-Rahman (“The Blind Sheikh”) in prison for the rest of his life for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

McCarthy is a prolific writer on legal and national security matters who recently tweeted suggesting that President Trump may be a national security risk because of his reported extramarital affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Andrew C. McCarthy on if Obama paid 130K to a porn star - 1-25-18

This morning (Friday February 16, 2018) yet another report broke of another extramarital affair Trump had with another porn star, Playboy model Karen McDougal.

If true, this latest report adds to McCarthy’s existing concern that Donald Trump is compromised and is at risk of being blackmailed, manipulated, or worse.

Last November, intelligence reporter Howard Blum reported that American intelligence personnel met with their Israeli counterparts and warned them that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has “leverages of pressure” over Trump.

Howard Blum - What Trump Told Kislyak - 11-22-17

Blum reported the American intelligence personnel warned their Israeli counterparts to be careful what secrets they share because they feared Trump would compromise them.

I join Andrew C. McCarthy in being concerned that President Trump has opened himself up to blackmail, so it’s eminently reasonable to ask:

is President Trump himself a national security risk?



Sean Hannity Has Gotten Rich Telling People What They Want to Hear

Trump fans whose media diet consists of virtually nothing but Trump-friendly media personalities like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, etc., are not as interested in expanding their horizons as much as they are in getting their biases confirmed.

The same is true for those who are left-leaning/liberal where virtually all they watch/read/listen to are liberal/leftist media personalities and outlets like Daily Kos, MSNBC, Mother Jones, The Nation., ThinkProgress, etc.

People in media get paid by building an audience and selling advertising; to do that they tell folks what they want to hear in order to tickle the pleasure centers of the brain that occurs when a person’s biases are confirmed.

Thomas Sowell said,

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

That’s the secret sauce in being a savvy media consumer: the realization that a great many folks in media care little for you, truth, what’s good for the country, etc., and care a lot about their ratings, their revenue, and their careers, and they’ll tell you whatever they think it is you want to hear not to help you, but to help them.

FOX News Pulls Trump Impeachment Ad at the Request of Their Snowflake Viewers

If you watch a moderate amount of TV, you’ve probably seen the ad where billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer calls for the impeachment of President Trump.

Steyer’s ad was running on FOX News, but in a statement, FOX News confirmed they’ve pulled the ad, based on comments received from viewers.

It goes without saying FOX News is free to accept or reject any ads (and money from them) they want.

But this goes to show how blinkered folks can become when they get their ‘news’ and commentary only from sources that confirm and never challenge their biases.

A better way to go for citizens in a republic is to expose one’s self to a variety of viewpoints and opinions, and especially to those that challenge them and perhaps even get them to re-think their point of view.

But in the polarized and tribalized political environment we’re currently in, the business model for not a few media outlets and personalities calls for telling folks what they want to hear, confirming their biases, stoking them up, and vilifying political opponents and media competitors as ‘them’, bad, evil.

Noted economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell said, “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

This business model of telling people what they want to hear is profitable for the media outlets and personalities from the standpoint of careers, ratings, and revenue.

But what’s good for media companies and their stars doesn’t necessarily equate to what’s good for the country.

As CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said of Donald Trump’s presidential run: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

President Trump Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Try and square this circle:

On the one hand, Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, goes on the Sunday shows on July 16, 2017 to emphatically pronounce President Trump knew nothing about the meeting of his son, Don Jr, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with Russians in Trump Tower.

On the other, on July 13, 2017, while on a state visit in France Trump said “Most people would’ve taken that meeting.

Remember when Trump fired FBI director Comey last May? His surrogates put out a carefully-worded memo saying Trump fired Comey because of his failed leadership, etc, but then in a nationally-televised interview on NBC, Trump admitted he fired Comey because of his Trump/Russia investigation!

President Trump is like Colonel Nathan Jessup in the movie, ‘A Few Good Men’, where he’s just itching to tell everyone he ordered the ‘Code Red’, because nobody’s gonna tell him how to run his ice cream stand, dammit!

That’s what’s going on with President Trump’s tweet this morning, Monday July 17, 2017: he’s basically giving the country the middle finger, telling us, Colonel Jessup-like, “You’re damn right Don Jr. had the meeting with the Russians!”


Trump - I did not know about Jrs meet with Russians but its OK - 7-17-17.png

No, Mr. President, Don Jr’s meeting with people who he thought were agents of a hostile foreign power who he thought wanted to help you win the election by delivering damaging information on your domestic political opponent is most certainly not business-as-usual politics!

And if you believe Trump didn’t know about Don Jr’s meeting with the Russians, then I’m a Nigerian prince here to talk with you about a fantastic investment opportunity.

America Has a Disciplinary Meeting with President Trump Re: Tweeting

Hello, Mr. President…have you got a moment? I’d like to have a word with you.

Come in, please close the door behind you, and have a seat.

We have a problem, Mr. President. It’s your compulsive tweeting.

Sure, your rabid, die-hard followers who inhabit your cult of personality fever swamp can’t get enough of it. But, Mr. President, have you seen your approval numbers lately?

Remember you said you’d reduce or even stop tweeting right after you got elected? What happened to that, Mr. President?

Here’s the main point, Mr. President: your tweeting is damaging to you. It’s damaging to your presidency. It’s damaging to the legislative agenda of the party you belong to. It’s damaging to the country. It’s damaging to the world.

Apart from your base – you know, the folks who would heartily approve of you ripping the beating heart out of an adorable puppy on live TV – the rest of America is looking at you and saying, ‘What is wrong with this guy?’

As an American citizen and your employer, Mr. President, it is my duty to inform you that America is not happy with you and your compulsive tweeting.

I am hereby directing you to cease and desist from tweeting from this day forward. Please know that failure to comply with this directive will result in progressive discipline, up to and including termination.

Please close the door on your way out.


Donald Trump Demonstrates the ‘Streisand Effect’ on ‘Kremlingate’

Everybody heard of the ‘Streisand Effect‘?

The ‘Streisand Effect’ is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, obscure, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information even more widely.

Named after singer Barbra Streisand, who, in her attempt to stop media and the paparazzi from taking photographs of her exclusive cliffside Malibu estate, actually ended up attracting even more attention and notoriety to it and her.

It looks like President Trump has taken a page from Streisand’s playbook.

Trump says he wants the ‘Kremlingate’ investigation to go away, but he keeps on doing and saying things that make ‘Kremlingate’ stay in the headlines and news cycle.

Case in point: on Friday May 12, 2017 Trump tweeted:

Trump - James Comey Taped - 5-12-17

 Trump’s tweet led many to wonder if Trump had recorded conversations he had with James Comey, the F.B.I. Director he fired on May 9, 2017.

As a result, congress-critters on both sides of the aisle went to the Sunday shows on Mother’s Day 2017 (May 14, 2017) to demand Trump turn over the tapes (if they in fact exist).

If Trump’s intention was to try to make the ‘Kremlingate’ story diminish or go away, his words and actions of late had exactly the opposite effect.

Pick your metaphor – pour gasoline on a fire…poke the hornet’s nest…dig the hole you’re in deeper – Trump bears the lion’s share of responsibility for the political poop-storm he currently finds himself in.

Heckuva, job, Mr. President!