Saturday, November 26, 2016

Solar panels on the stable

A few days ago the nasty guy invited several journalists from a variety of news companies to his tower. He stressed it was off-the-record and they were not to discuss what was said with anybody. Most of the time politicians hold off-the-record sessions to give journalists important background or to “leak” a story – get it in the news and into general discussion – without revealing the source.

Not this time. The meeting started off with a long, screaming harangue in which the nasty guy said he hated them all, they were all liars, and portraying him unfairly. They were just plain wrong about him.

And if anyone dared to say anything about the tirade spokesbot Kellyanne Conway said it wasn’t true and because it was off-the-record whoever called it a tirade got it wrong and should think twice.

So who did report on the meeting? Signs point to the nasty guy himself. Why do that? So he could brag about how he humiliated them. Ooh, such a great start to relations with the press. They’ll likely think twice about reporting on his shenanigans – to the detriment of the nation.

Pat McCrory is the North Carolina governor who got the infamous “bathroom bill” passed, the one that tells transgender people they must use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate. In response, lots of businesses have refused to expand and lots of events have refused to visit.

He was up for re-election. I don’t think a winner has been declared, though McCrory is behind Roy Cooper by almost 6000 votes.

Since election day McCrory has been challenging vote counts in over 50 counties with claims of fraud. County boards have repeatedly ruled against him. It looks like his real goal is to delegitimize the whole election process. After raising all these bogus “questions” he can ask the state legislature to intervene and simply name him the victor, to steal the election. It would be a move that state courts couldn’t touch.

Since the election Mark Zuckerburg has been on the hot seat over fake news and how Facebook appears to promote it, or at least doesn’t suppress it. Let’s take a peek.

There is a company, Disinfomedia, that has several fake news sites. It has perhaps 20-25 writers making stuff up. One story, about the death of the FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails, got 1.6 million views in 10 days.

Why write fake news? Money. The ads that accompany these stories provide a very nice income. Alas, many conservatives, certainly nasty guy supporters and the alt-right, eat this stuff up and it has real world consequences.

The company tried targeting progressives. But the first couple comments would be a thorough debunking and the story would fizzle.

So, yeah, these supporters were getting their news from another world.

You can now buy a hipster nativity set. Joseph is taking a selfie of himself, Mary, and the baby. The three wise men have arrived on Segways with boxes from Amazon under their arms. The shepherd is checking his phone. Be sure to notice the solar panels on the stable roof. At $130 I’ll skip it.

Margaret and Helen, curmudgeonly octogenarians, write a blog together. This year Helen gives instructions for her family when they visit for Thanksgiving: Electronics go in the basket by the door. The TV is off during dinner. You may have voted for Trump but you don’t need to act like him. Visiting does not mean taking a vacation from your children. And Cloe, you may bring your Jello salad, but make sure you have a container to take it home with you. Helen ends with:
Come for the food and stay for the company. Everything else can be made better with gravy.

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