This morning as I sought to add another entry to my blog, a New Yorker article caught my eye with the headline “Can President Trump Learn On The Job?“. My immediate thought is that he could if he knew how to listen – he doesn’t.
The No Spin Zone has been swallowed up by the black hole that has been created by it’s founder, Bill O’Reilly:
“The O’Reilly Factor” has been canceled amid a cloud of harassment allegations against the conservative broadcaster.Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run 21st Century Fox, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.
“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” Fox said.
In a statement of his own released later Wednesday afternoon, O’Reilly said, “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”
I would like to cheer on the fact that this happened, but then this followed:
From The New York Times:
Bill O’Reilly is leaving Fox News with a payout of up to $25 million, the equivalent of one year of his salary, two people briefed on the matter said Thursday.
I feel like the real impact of his exit would have been better had he not been paid. Sadly, for all of his ignorance, he was not stupid; Bill always had an endgame in mind in case the network didn’t want to stand by him. This just goes to show you that if you want to be a jerk, make sure you get paid and stay paid when you lose it all. In all seriousness, Bill is gone; what’s next?
Well, it seems Fox News already has a Plan B – as in bowtie (also from The New York Times):
Tucker Carlson, a conservative provocateur who joined Fox News’s prime-time ranks only three months ago, has been tapped to replace Mr. O’Reilly at 8 p.m. Eastern, beginning on Monday, the network said. Mr. Carlson has become, seemingly overnight, one of the network’s most vital players, a remarkable turnaround for a pundit whose bow-tied heyday had seemed behind him.
If Tucker, who infamously was lambasted by Jon Stewart on CNN’s Crossfire years ago, couldn’t handle a guy who was literally a comedian pretending to be a newsman, I can’t imagine that will bode well for him when he goes up against people who have actual facts. Tucker Carlson is much younger than O’Reilly which perhaps would have been an eventuality; the younger generation also watch Fox News, why not get someone their own age. I certainly hope no one Tucker Carlson’s age is sporting a bow tie and has some amount of intelligence.
This piece is inspired by the mid-season three finale of Black and Sexy TV’s Sexless. Those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, that doesn’t matter so much as the topic that it covered (which I could have spoiled with the subject, but oh well). Generally a man shouldn’t speak on these issues, but today feels like one of those I-don’t-give-a-damn days.
There is no doubt that the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby are horrible. There is no denying that many who grew up with his work from Fat Albert to The Cosby Show will no doubt never watch re-runs of his show ever again. For those who understand how to separate the artist from the man, there is a simple truth; you cannot erase the artistic legacy of Bill Cosby.
Bill Cosby single-handedly sold American television the concept of a stable, upper middle-class African-American family. They didn’t live in the hood, they acted normal (most of the time) and they made you wish to have that kind of family when you got older. The sexual allegations toppled with the forever and a day debate over whether the show was the most authentic when it came to the African-American experience make it hard to defend in more recent times.
Except when you consider that the top number one program for African-Americans is a show called “Empire”, a show where a family spends less of its time making music and more time finding ways to destroy each other. I feel that when this point is made, the immediate reaction is that is a shot at The Cosby Show; while Bill Cosby fought against an over reliance on dysfunction, Empire shares no such qualms and is therefore more “authentic”. Malcolm Jamal Warner, who stared as Theo Huxstable on the series, made a good point about the allegations tarnishing the show:
“My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what … negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had ‘The Cosby Show’ to hold up against that.
“And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me the most because in a few generations the Huxtables will have been just a fairy tale,” said Warner, who starred as Cosby’s son, Theo Huxtable, on the long-running NBC sitcom.
I’d like to turn this over to The Beatles for a minute; they are considered the world’s greatest rock band and yet can be, by the standard we hold to Bill Cosby, easy to place in the queue for erasing. An easy reference? John Lennon’s hitting of women:
Speaking in an interview with Playboy magazine in 1980, John Lennon addressed the lyrics of the song ‘Getting Better,’ saying: “It is a diary form of writing. All that “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace.” Lennon expressed remorse in the same interview, adding: “I am not a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.”
By the standard we are holding Bill Cosby and as mentioned in the linked article from Crave Online, Chris Brown, John Lennon should be constantly persecuted for his crimes against women. We can point to his race (being white and English), we can point to his fame (being part of a world famous band) and we can point to the fact that he died tragically (shot and killed by a nut in 1980) as the reason that, unlike Bill Cosby, we don’t put the fryer to the frying pan with the heat on full blast with his legacy and his legacy with The Beatles.
You can put the argument together that if Cosby, Brown or even Lennon himself weren’t famous, they would be drawn and quartered for their actions. You can argue that their fame is a shield. You can argue that taking down these celebrities is showing they are no different than regular people. Let’s get entirely the fuck real – these are real people.
Bill Cosby, John Lennon and Chris Brown all come from backgrounds they were trying to escape. As Carrie Fisher pointed out constantly in her life, fame doesn’t fix your issues. The demons that haunted Chris Brown, Bill Cosby and John Lennon were always there and would have stayed hidden had they never got famous in the first place. I mean, if you think more attention will remove you from your sins – you gotta be stupid.
If we allow ourselves to consider erasing an artist due to their personal beliefs, political beliefs or criminal actions, we might as well put every artist on trial and burn them at the stake like the Salem Witch trials.
Jeffrey Lord, a political strategist and Donald Trump supporter, believes that Donald Trump is similar to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unsure why? He explains here.
In a small quote, he explains Trump’s most recent strategy to repeal and replace Obamacare by withholding federal payments to insurers under the current Obamacare in one go:
“When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular, he didn’t have the votes for it, et cetera. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.”
It should be noted that Dr. King was working to put our country, and the world on the right side of history. Screwing with health insurance issued under the Obama administration puts this country on the wrong side of history. Why Jeffrey Lord can’t pull his head out of Trump’s ass and see this is beyond me.
If anything if Dr. King were alive and young and about in this day and age, he would pose a threat to Trump and his presidency in the way that Lyndon B. Johnson thought King was a threat to his presidency by putting the pressure on him and his administration to pull out of Vietnam:
President Lyndon B. Johnson was outraged at what he considered King’s lack of gratitude. Johnson had supported the Civil Right’s bill and the Voting Rights Act, but after King’s criticism of the war, the president reportedly referred to King as “that godd—ed n—er preacher.”
King’s feelings are best summed up, to me, in this particular part of his Beyond Vietnam speech:
We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
I would try to find a speech where Jeffrey Lord’s comparison of Trump to King works, but the guy never comes across as a guy you imagine could see even writing a tenth of the kind of speeches King wrote. Mostly, Trump would boast he knows about healthcare and then find out that his preferred method of bull doggedness and deflection (putting the blame on Paul Ryan) does nothing to fix the issues that he and his party seek to fix.
Some try to compare him to Hitler, but I would argue that you can’t compare Trump to King or to Hitler, but Mitt Romney, who was once up for the Secretary Of State role that eventually went to Rex Tillerson. I bring up Mitt because, as eloquently explained by Jay Smooth via his Ill Doctrine blog, Mitt Romney is a nothing – a vessel for other people’s politics.
I wonder what other figures we are going to compare him with – Ghandi, Mandela, David Beckham? The mind shutters at what else Trump supporters posing as news commentators will say next. If he gets compared to God, we are definitely in trouble.
Sean Spicer, the soon-to-be former White House Press Secretary, gave himself one more rope to hang himself by as he stated yesterday that Hitler never used chemical weapons on his own people:
From the New York Times:
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Mr. Spicer said. “You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
He continued, “So you have to, if you are Russia, ask yourself: Is this a country and a regime that you want to align yourself with?”
A quick google search will point you to the Snopes website which has this little diddy using research from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hitler’s regime started using poisonous gases against Germans in 1939, with mental patients being the first people put to death through the use of carbon monoxide gas under a practice the Nazis referred to as “euthanasia.”
Starting in December 1941, this method of killing expanded through the use of “gas vans” employing engine exhaust as well as carbon monoxide and crystalline hydrogen cyanide (a.k.a. Zyklon B) in concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, and Treblinka, among others. The museum states on its website that “Under SS management, the Germans and their collaborators murdered more than three million Jews in the killing centers alone. Only a small fraction of those imprisoned in Nazi camps survived.”
I hate to be typical with my response, but let’s be real; If a black man stood up there and said the same thing, he would be ghost within a half of a second. Due to his white privilege, and the fact that Trump is too slow with the replacement of Spicer, we will see Spicer for a few more weeks in the hopes that maybe we will forget about all this.
Nah, not going to happen; no way in the world can America un-remember someone as memorable as Sean Spicer. Then again, Donald Trump hires people to control the press and to control the message no matter how stupid the message is. I’m sure the next thing Spicer will state if asked about NASA is that it’s a fake organization whose accomplishments were created by Hollywood film makers.
When we ask Spicer for proof on that, he will point to his own research which consist of a lone Tumblr feed.
When you fly the friendly skies, you’d think that you would feel at home. After many years in the business and millions of flights, United no longer seems interested in making the skies friendly. After their latest debacle today (which took place in Chicago which I call home), I’m starting to wonder if United has forgotten the art of compromise.
Take for instance the matter of the two teenage girls who were kicked off the flight because according to their rules, leggings were are not allowed. The jerk in us all would like to believe that people have eyes and can read; therefore the parents as well as the children should learn to read the convoluted rules set forth by the company. Thanks to CNN Money, we learned that the rules stated that “pass riders” are not allowed to wear clothing that doesn’t look “neat and professional”. This includes and I quote:
Form-fitting lycra or spandex tops, pants and dresses, offensive or derogatory words or graphics on clothing, “excessively dirty” clothing that has holes or tears, or anything that is “inappropriately revealing.”
I would think that rather than go on about how the rules are rules, that the gate attendant would assess that the best way to handle this is to simply let them on, but remind them that in the future this is not allowed. Another thing that would be helpful is for United to make a pop-up window with a reminder for “pass riders” about what they can and cannot bring on a United flight while using said pass. I’m not a business person, and I’m certain that my view on the matter would mean in a tough world that I would be considered a push over.
I would rather find a way to save the company and keep customers happy at the same time. Everything can be worked out one way or another. Not doing so means that you invite situations such as the one that happened Sunday when United Airlines via some rent-a-thugs forcibly took a passenger out of his seat so that United employees who needed to work a flight in Louisville, KY, after he refused to give it up.
Once again much like the previous legging incident two weeks ago, United kept using their procedures and policies and how with those policies they were not in the wrong, nor did they see a reason to budge one inch from them.
United Airlines will take a big hit; although checking their recent stock surge upward, United may chuck the middle finger to the naysayers. These “naysayers”, beyond those tweeted and recorded video of the two incidents, beyond the talking heads on cable news, may grow more and more. People who decide to take their business elsewhere generally don’t require permission – they just don’t go.
And why go someplace where the skies, as clearly indicated in this case with United, are no longer friendly.
Donald Trump has achieved his goal; no matter what he says or how stupid it is, he will always get press. When people overwhelmed and frustrated by the daily reporting of Trump’s antics need an easy-bake comedic take on these events, folks turn to the late night shows. Traditionally, as far back as I remember when Johnny Carson was around, Late Night TV is meant to be the escape from the real world.
Johnny Carson is gone and late night can no longer be easy-breezy with the political turmoil around us. Depending on the network (and the host), this can be a challenge: Jimmy Fallon, who took over for Jay Leno on NBC’s The Tonight Show, comes across as being too dorky and earnest to go hardcore. Stephen Colbert, in charge of the other late night behemoth on CBS, has the better delivery, but comes across as uncomfortable performing the other duties of genre (interviewing, skits, etc). Jimmy Kimmel over on ABC comes across as more of the laid back type who you have wake up from a writer’s meeting while discussing political jokes.
The people who I consider having the most edge and be funny in these times are from two franchises I never was that into; SNL’s Seth Meyers with his Late Night show on NBC and John Oliver with his weekly Last Week Tonight show on HBO. As an honorable mention – Trevor Noah with his tenure on The Daily Show (he can be middle of the road himself, but he’s getting there). I’m not sure how long audiences will continue to turn into the repeated theme of what Trump and his administration are doing, but I certainly hope they do – America in its darkest hour is finally willing to laugh again.
Steve Bannon, Senior Political Advisor to President Trump, was recently removed from the National Security Council. The reason? He was only there to keep an eye out on Michael Flynn, the National Security Adviser fired for lying about not talking with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak according to the Los Angeles Times:
Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Press Secretary Sean Spicer about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, allowing all three to make repeated false public statements. He did not tell Pence the truth until after the facts were revealed by the Washington Post last week. On Tuesday, Spicer said Trump had known about Flynn’s inaccurate statements for nearly three weeks and had fired him because of an “eroding level of trust.”
So the National Security Advisor needed a spy to make sure he was in check? Nah. This from the New York Times sounds more believable:
For the first two months of Mr. Trump’s presidency, Mr. Bannon occupied an unassailable perch at the president’s side — ramming through key elements of his eclectic and hard-edge populist agenda, including two executive orders on freezing immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump viewed Mr. Bannon as a street-fighting kindred spirit who favored his own attack-when-attacked communications strategy.
But blunders by Mr. Bannon’s team — especially the first immigration order, which was rejected by multiple courts — have undermined his position. His take-no-prisoners style was not a winning strategy on Capitol Hill, and Mr. Bannon declined to take a significant part. Experienced politicians, including Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, stepped into more expansive roles as negotiations over the failed health care overhaul dragged on.
What it comes down to is that Steve Bannon was very much like Trump, except for the part where he actually knew what he was doing. If the s*** you are trying to pull off doesn’t work, it’s time to find a new home for where your ideas can get support; for instance Breitbart News. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t wanna go back there. Maybe he could start new network called The Bannon Channel where he could give a platform to Steven Miller who famously stated that he would go on “any show at any time” to defend President Trump.
I have an idea for a new series that could be featured on Bannon’s never-to-be-created channel – “Mike Flynn and The Two Steve’s”. Nah, that would be canceled given that Michael Flynn is looking at jail time.