Monthly Archives: December 2016

Death By Slice

Emails from John Podesta’s hacked account reveal he and aides were fully aware of “Pizzagate” rumors in the summer of 2016, and sought to exploit them on Reddit and YouTube for their own political gain. But it backfired badly.

4chan-termsThe pizzagate scandal has worked its way into the nation’s historical lore, cited alternately as a demonstration of diligent investigative journalism, evidence of demented power abuse by protected elites, and so-called “fake news” run wild.

A recently released trove of Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta’s emails contains an exchange with an aide provisionally identified as Susan Sandler, addressing the conspiracy theory, at first incredulously. Excerpt:

S:  Something about a pizza-stained handkerchief with some kind of map. How this relates to anything about child porn or smuggling is perverse. Who makes this up and why? [3.11.15]

But as time passed and details were shared on social media linking code words and symbols, and suspicious photos emerged showing strange activities at the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, campaign leadership spotted an opportunity.

 P: Let if play out. It’s even more far-fetched than birther and that JH [Jade Helm] bullshit. It might even turn off Republicans who aren’t complete imbeciles, and drive them to HRC. [12.4.15]

Clearly Podesta miscalculated (again), as not only did the scandalous account grow in scope and detail, voters cited it as proof of mainstream media bias toward Clinton and the Democrats for at best ignoring it, and at worst discrediting it out of hand. But the Clinton campaign proved as utterly tone-deaf to this development as they did the electorate

S:  This would be laughable if it didn’t reveal the depths of stupidty [sic] and depravity             that the Rs and alt-right have sunk to.  [2.15.16]

P: It’s so dumb it drools. Just ignore it and let them sink themselves. [2.16.16]

The entire episode indicates that the Clinton leadership team never came to grips with the true nature of their political opposition, and richly deserved the outcome they earned.

[Photo credit: 4Chan]

 

Welcome Mats, No Litter Pans

A memo from the President-elect stipulates that cats will not be welcome at the White House, neither as residents nor visitors, so long as he and his family are occupants. The memo describes cats as “untrustworthy, unclean, and smelly,” and likens them to Democrats.

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The occasion for the memo appears to be the President-elect’s ongoing preparation to split time among his various residences, and ensuring his level of comfort and security at each. Despite rumors to the contrary, Trump does not own a pet, and Bratbreit has no information about acquiring one when he takes office. Every president dating back over a century has acquired and/or brought pets with them when moving to the White House, including Benjamin Harrison, who kept possums.

Page Ferbal, the transition team member who shared the memo with Bratbreit, is unaware that any member of Trump’s family is allergic to cats. “Mr. Trump just doesn’t like them, plain and simple,” she said. “He gets uncomfortable when they’re around, and has been known to leave rooms, even entire buildings, if there’s a cat present. He’s very meticulous in his personal habits, and has complained about the way cats shed and smell.”

Asked about the reference to Democrats, Ms. Ferbal smiled. “He did write that, but with the president-elect sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether he’s entirely serious,” she reported. “You know, like when he suggested the Russians hack Secretary Clinton’s email and NRA members assassinate her.”

Salesman Of The Year

Among the many firsts for which the President-elect may be credited: Deploying Twitter to declare war. Not against a foreign nation, but the mainstream media, which he has described at various times as “outrageous,” “dishonest,” “sleazy and among the worst people I’ve ever met,” “scum,” “slime,” and “disgusting.” And they “spread fake news.”

salesman-of-the-yearLegions of his followers on social media gleefully retweet and repost his rants, chiming in with their heartfelt approval. Singling out bastions of establishment journalism such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, NPR, etc., they not only applaud their candidate’s sharp language, but express solidarity with his suggestions that change is needed, perhaps by limiting their access, adjusting libel laws, and taking a hard look at the First Amendment.

The President-elect’s transition team has taken notice, and in a series of memos provided suggestions to capitalize on popular sentiment, in what one adviser termed “defanging the MSM.” In a confidential telephone conversation, Bratbreit has learned that once in office, the President will take action to create barriers between his administration and MSM representatives, creating havoc as they scramble for news, ultimately battering their revenue streams. “Nothing illegal, of course,” our source insisted. “Just hardball capitalism.”

While this would appear to bode badly for MSM, since the election subscriptions (and in the case of ProPublica and NPR, donations) have soared. In an ironic twist, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times report big jumps in subscribers, as do magazines such as The Atlantic and Vanity Fair. One editor speculated that an unintended consequence of Trump’s overt hostility to the press will herald in a new golden age of journalism.

Sounds like a stretch, but recall the way sales in firearms soared during the Obama administration, as Second Amendment supporters reacted to reports that new restrictions and confiscations were imminent. One source reports sales of 100 million guns in seven years of office, earning making Barrack Obama the title “Salesman of the Year.”

Perhaps this title will be handed over to Donald Trump, along with the keys to the White House, when new MSM revenue is calculated.

Safe and Smug

Concerned for their physical and mental well-being, conservative Trump supporters on university campuses have requested “safe zones,” seemingly a reversal of position on the legitimacy of the concept and its implications on free expression.

safe-zonesIn an editorial for the UNCG Carolinian, Mark Parent wrote:

“Whenever we take sensible and thoughtful positions on abortion, LGBT rights, illegal immigration, political correctness, the minimum wage or the role of government, we are almost instantly targeted by harsh rhetoric and condemnation….It simply hurts our feelings, and it’s offensive.”

“Even though our guy won, our views are not respected,” another student observed. “It didn’t make any sense to me when whiny snowflake liberals were screeching about their feeeeeelings getting hurt — and in fact, it still doesn’t. But now it’s not just words or threats. People are getting attacked! We demand respect, and we need protection.”

For years, thoughtful conservatives have strenuously condemned not only the liberal dogma espoused on college campuses by students, faculty, and administrators alike, but the explicit suppression of contrary politically views. They warned against elevating a non-existent Politically Correct (PC) right not be offended above the First Amendment’s protection of free expression.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner back in February, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai opined, “I think that poses a special danger to a country that cherishes First Amendment speech, freedom of expression, even freedom of association. I think it’s dangerous, frankly, that we don’t see more often people espousing the First Amendment view that we should have a robust marketplace of ideas where everybody should be willing and able to participate.”

But post-election, many conservatives are rethinking this principle, noting that the election’s clear mandate signals the need for change on campus as well. “We won, so we make the rules; that’s how it works,” stated UNCG’s Dean Susan Totherfoot in an exclusive interview by telephone with Bratbreit. “Elections have consequences. Liberals had the run of the field for a long time, but now it’s our turn. To put it bluntly, they need to shut up and listen, and if it takes rules and regulations to make that happen, let’s start writing ’em.”

Build The Wall!

President-elect Trump’s very first campaign promise remains foremost in the hopes and dreams of the voters who elected him. “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively,” Trump proclaimed on June 16, 2015, to announce his candidacy. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”

mexican_border

The vow was loudly mocked by his opponents as well as by media pundits, a pattern continued right through Election Day and still echoing. But Trump has not backed off his claim, and a confidential document  has surfaced outlining his strategy for both implementing the project and presenting it to the public. Bratbreit has authenticated the document, its findings summarized here.

First of all, while there will be additional construction to erect a wall similar to the one that now divides Jacumba, CA from Jacume, Mexico, the Wall will also include fencing and “natural formations,” such as water or mountains. The Wall will also be defined by electronic monitors, drones, and beefed-up border security personnel. The document goes to great lengths to recast the term “Wall” as “a series of protective measures” rather than only a physical construct, and  recommends using upper-case W in all written references.

Secondly, the document suggests that when discussing how “Mexico will pay for the Wall,” spokespersons should downplay the notion that the Mexican government would literally write checks to contractors for the cost of construction– this was never the intention — but that “costs associated with the criminal activities and  diseases Mexican immigrants unleash on American soil” would be curtailed, holding Mexico responsible. Similarly, the cost of education, housing, welfare, and jobs lost to illegal immigrants would be relieved, forcing Mexico to provide for its own citizens.

Finally, the document urges that these strategies be implemented early in the administration, when good will is abundant, as there will inevitably be detractors disappointed that Trump’s promise to build a “great, great Wall” will not result in the physical structure they anticipated, resulting in potential dissidence, disillusion, alienation, and accusations of fraud. There will be abundant opportunity for that soon enough.

photo credit: National Geographic

 

NFL’s Declining Viewership Is Balls-Related

Data don’t lie: the National Football League is losing viewers as effectively as the Cleveland Browns are losing games (0-12 at this writing).  As reported by MMQB, Monday Night Football is down 24% from last year at this time, Sunday Night Football is down 19% and Thursday night is down 18%.

deflated-ballsSpirited debate about the causes for this dramatic fumble has replaced conversations about the game itself. Popular themes include distraction by the election; market over-saturation (i.e., just too much product); declining level of skill and quality contests; fallout from Deflategate; officiating and punishment of exuberant celebrations; and disgust with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who kicked off the custom of refusing to stand for the National Anthem before games.

Scrambling for answers, the NFL recently commissioned a marketing study as the first step to devising a strategy that would restore the game to its remunerative glory. In an exclusive telephone interview with Bratbreit, Dr. Libby Rae Shone, a business psychologist leading the marketing research team, shared preliminary findings.

“First of all, sports viewership is down across the board, not just NFL football,” she notes. “So NFL-specific factors are probably less relevant to the big picture. We’re more inclined to look at population trends and technology. For example, we think that one reason people aren’t watching football games on TV is because there are other ways access games such as NetFlix that aren’t being measured the same way. You’re losing lots of younger viewers this way.”

What about those protests during the national anthem?

“That’s a stretch. We know it’s become a popular meme and there are certain parties eager to advance that as part of their agenda. But how many fans really care enough about the circus antics of a back-up quarterback on a losing team to stop watching entirely? Surely not enough to create a double-digit decline. That’s political football.”

So preliminarily, what do your studies point to?

“The political angle has one grain of truth: the aging, mostly-white, politically conservative audience most susceptible to this kind of thinking is simultaneously the most TV-oriented and largest declining-interest segment. Sports generally, and football most emphatically, has testosterone appeal, which is one reason women enjoy it. Look at the ads — beer, cars, red-meat patriotism. But when men lose their edge, they lose their interest. It’s sort of a deflation factor, excuse the reference.”

Is it coincidental that the testosterone-challenged population you describe coincides with the same demographic that strongly backed the President-elect?

“That’s not what we’re contracted to research.”