Did Donald Trump just have his best tweet ever?

This tweet from Donal Trump is just peak Trump! It manages to perfectly capture his arrogance, his vanity and his racism all in one tweet.

It’s Cinco De Mayo, he has to tweet about it and he has to remind people that he is NOT a racist! So naturally he finishes with I love Hispanics, boom golden!

And obviously the best taco bowls (pretty sure that is not a traditional dish) are made by something with the Trump name on it!

Please try and find me a better tweet from the Donald, you can’t.

@HardNoSquire

Question of the day: Who sweats more, Sean Miller of Marco Rubio?

Who sweats more, Sean Miller or Marco Rubio?

Last night everyone in America, was shocked by the literal buckets that Arizona coach Sean Miller was sweating. The guy was drenched, which brings us to our, question of the day, who is the bigger sweater in America, Sean Miller or the notorious sweater Marco Rubio.

Let’s roll some game film on the Coach Miller.

How did Miller even have that must water in him to sweat out? The guy must have lost at least 5lbs during the game. His players who were actually playing, the game, did not sweat half as much as he did, it literally boggles my mind.

Now the politician Rubio

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Rubio is a sweater there is no doubt about it, from debates to campaign speeches, the guy sweats away.And it is probably all this sweating that leads to dehydration and his infamous dry mouth issues.

But let’s be honest if not for Trump constantly blasting Rubio for his sweating, most of us would hardly notice Rubio’s sweating and just think the top of his head was a little extra shiny in those debates.

Miller on the other hand looked like he had had a shower in his clothes last night, and for that reason I have to go with Sean Miller as the biggest sweater in America.

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Congrats Coach, at least you won something last night. And ouch perhaps I should have gone Rubio, let the guy win something, he can’t even win Florida for fuck sakes. Poor Marco.

 

Michelle Fields and The Duck: Why It Should Scare the Shit Out of Us.

If you don’t know, you should know. You need to know.

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016 former BREITBART News reporter, Michelle Fields claimed she had been assaulted by Trump’s (aka. the Duck’s) campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski (@CLewandowski) after a press conference in Florida. Fields claimed she was grabbed and violently thrown aside by Lewandowski. Field’s wasn’t just making public announcements. In fact, she was so sure that it happened she filed a police report with the Jupiter Police Department. The Independent Journal cited the police report as stating:

The Jupiter Police Department is currently investigating an alleged battery that occured at 115 Eagle Tree Terrace (Trump National) on March 8, 2016. A police report was filed with Jupiter Police Department on March 11, 2016 at approximately 10:00 AM and the investigation is ongoing. As with any investigation, specific details concerning criminal investigative informatoin is not releasable while the investigation is considered active.

I used the term ‘so sure’ it happened to describe how Fields felt about the incident because of the way the Duck and Lewandoski responded. The Independent Journal posted a video of the Duck’s response to the incident on twitter. He’s quoted as saying:

They said absolutely nothing happened. He [Lewandowski] didn’t hear about it until the next day. So, I wasn’t invovled in it. But the Secret Service was surrounding everybody. They said nothing happened. Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened.

Lewandowski tweeted out:@MichelleFields you are totally delusional. I have never touched you. As a matter of fact i have never even met you.

Lewandowski, in some sort of effort to clear his name, tweeted out the following article during the media blitz surrounding him:

The Scrum: Video Emerges to Suggest WaPo Reporter Ben Terris Misidentifies Lewandowski in Fields Incident Bretbart [Link]

The Link is to a BREITBART news article titled, ‘VIDEO SHOWS LEWANDOWSKI REACHING IN MICHELLE FIELDS’S DIRECTION’. It was written by Joel Pollak. The article was originally posted on March 11, 2016. The site attempts to break down the incident with frame-by-frame analysis. It claims someone else, likely a security guard, grabs Fields. Not Lewandowski.  Let’s just take a minute.

Fields, an employee of BREITBART, reported she was assaulted by the Duck’s campaign manager on Tuesday, March 8th. On March 11, just three days later, her employer had published an article discrediting her. Enter Ben Terris.

Ben Terris (@bterris), is a reporter at the Washington Post. Terris recounted the incident in his article Inside Trump’s Inner circle, hist staff are willing to fight for him. Literally:

….Michelle Fields, a young reporter for Trump-friendly Breitbart News, Pressed forward to ask the Republican front-runner a question. I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager.

Erik Wemple, who also works at the Washington Post, responded to the poorly written BREITBART article that claimed Lewandowski hadn’t grabbed Fields with certainty on behalf of Terris:

For his part, Terris isn’t budging. “I saw what I saw”, Said Terris in a brief chat with this blog. During the whole incident, says Terris, he had his “eyes trained on Corey Lewandowski,” because Terrris was there to profile the campaign team with a focus on Lewandowski. Terris took strong issue with Pollak’s assertion that mistaken identity is the “likeliest explanation” based in part on Lewandowski’s denials. “Because he denied it?” asked Terris. “This is Breitbart”.

BRETIBART has been criticized for being pro-Duck. Loyd Grove, of the Daily Beast characterized the website as “Trump Friendly”. Grove continued BREITBART “regularly savages the GOP establishment, the media elite, the Washington consultant class, and the Fox News Channel”. BREITBART itself has stated that BREITBART is a “private company and we [BREITBART] don’t comment on who our investors or backers are”.

I think it’s a safe bet BREITBART received some pretty strict marching orders from these private investors to shut down Field’s story ASAP. BREITBART complied. Welcome to America. Welcome to American Democracy. And welcome to journalism in 2015 where money buys the truth.

There’s also this moment. We can’t see Lewandowski grab Fields. But it sure looks like he’s reaching for something.fields.gif.CROP.original-original.gif

Fields also tweeted this picture of her arm:

Fields arm.png

And there’s this. The audio file. It appears to be from Fields phone and is currently hosted (here). It’s worth a listen. The crucial part of the audio file starts at 0:30:

Fields: Mr. Trump you went after the late [Justice] Scalia for affirmative action, do you — are you still against affirmative action.

Unidentified Voice: Excuse me, thank you.

There’s silence for three seconds and then:

Fields: Jesus.

About 6 seconds later

Fields: Holy Shit.

Terris: Ya, he just like threw you over.

Fields: I can’t believe he just did that. That was so hard. Oh my – was that Corey?

Terris: Ya, like what threat were you?

Ferris: That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me. Oh my gosh, I’ve never had anyone do that to me from a campaign.

Terris: Can I put that in my story?

Fields: Yeah, go for it – that was really awful. That’s so unprofessional.

Terris: He really just almost threw you on the ground.

Fields: He literally went like this and was grabbing me down. I don’t even want to do what he just did to me. Oh my God, that really spooked me that someone would do that.

Terris: What threat were you?

Fields: Nothing. I was asking about affirmative action.

Terris: And he probably knows you, right?

The audio tape provides insight into Field’s state of mind immediately following the alleged incident. It’s clear she’s in shock and reacting spontaneously. In Canada, there is an exception which allows out of court statements being admitted as evidence if they are considered ‘spontaneous utterances’ made by the victim, or a bystander, if the risk of concoction or distortion can be excluded. If you don’t believe me you can read this case. You won’t. And that’s okay. I don’t blame you. The exception allows statements made in the ‘heat of the moment’ to be included because the court presumes the witness doesn’t have the time or faculties to lie. In the audio tape both Fields and Terris identify Lewandowski. Both Fields and Terris describe a violent altercation between Fields and Lewandowski.

Oh, and this isn’t the first time there has been violence at one of the Duck’s rallies. Oh, and the Duck has been calling for violence at his rallies for quite some time (If you want to skip the politics and just listen to the Duck, let the video load and jump to 3:40). Violence coming from the Duck’s campaign itself should be no surprise. It should be something more akin to seeing  dark clouds on the horizon and then dressing for rain.

Some people are going to freak out and claim Fields planned the whole thing. Which just may be the case. But I doubt it. She was recording because she’s a reporter. That’s her job. I don’t think we can say she was recording for the sole purpose of catching this incident. Her initial reaction is silence and then “Jesus” and “Holy Shit”. That sounds like someone who is in shock. Is there a chance she played it up slightly after she regained her faculties because she knew she was recording? Possibly. Is Fields caught up in the media frenzy and likely pretty overwhelmed at this moment. Yes. Very likely.

But I don’t think we can say the Liberal party is operating at a level where they got a writer at a pro-Duck news corporation to expertly bate and entrap Lewandowski. If they are, they’re operating a whole new level.

So, what we’re left with is a Presidential Candidate, a Campaign Manager, a privately funded and well known pro-Trump Website who employed Fields, all denying that the Campaign Manager grabbed Fields. They want to point the finger at a security guard.

We have the reporter herself, and a third party in Terris, and some rather damning video and audio evidence saying the Campaign Manager grabbed Fields – to the point she was in shock and was bruised. My money is on these guys. In fact, I’d bet the house on it.

Yet, I’d also argue, ultimately it doesn’t matter who grabbed Fields, who was just doing her job by the way. Sure, if Lewandowski used force to stop Fields from asking questions it is more concerning. But if the unnamed security guard used force I’d say it’s still a cause for alarm. A precedent has been set by the Duck’s ducklings: if someone is creating an issue that we don’t want to deal with, physical force is an acceptable way to remove that problem. And that should scare the shit out of us.

Further, what Fields asked or said is irrelevant in this case. It doesn’t matter. The media’s role, the media’s purpose, in the realm of politics was originally intended to press the issue. The incident in question took place at a ‘presser’. The media is  there to rustle feathers. They are there to ask the questions Presidential Nominees don’t want to answer. We as the public rely on them. We need them. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Politicians generally dodge the pointed questions. It’s a dance that has been carried out on the dance-floor of politics for decades. And yet,  candidates and Presidents have always been willing to show up to this dance-floor. It’s implied. It’s part of the gig.

But not the Duck. The Duck, once again, has shown he doesn’t give a shit how the game is played. He does things his way, no matter the cost, and by whatever means necessary. He will reach his end. Even if the means require the physical abuse of a female news reporter.

When Fields was pressing the Duck and his team, traditional politics and journalism gave him three options:

  1. Answer honestly;
  2. Dodge the question; or
  3. Say nothing.

Trump has introduced a fourth option: physically remove the journalist. Physically remove the problem. Trump has decided he doesn’t want to dance. He’ll cause physical harm ensuring you don’t dance with him. This is scary. This is new. And it should cause serious alarm for journalists and the American public alike.

It’s just one facet of what Sheldon Wolin calls ‘Inverted Totalitarianism’. Chris Hedges, author of ‘Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism‘, describes Inverted Totalitarianism as being different:

…..from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state. Our inverted totalitarianism pays outward fealty to the facade of electoral politics, the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, the iconography, traditions and language of American patriotism, but it has effectively seized all of the mechanisms of power to render the citizen impotent.

The Duck has harnessed both. He is a charismatic leader to some. And he has effectively robbed the press of it’s freedom as evidenced through BREITBART. He is a clown singing and dancing with such lunacy that people smart enough to see it can’t look away and people not educated enough, through no fault of their own, think he’s something real. Someone who will offer real solutions.

To her credit Fields quit BREITBART. That takes guts. This woman should be commended for having a spine and sticking by her story. It’s rare today, especially in the media. Further, the editor-at-large at BREITBART,  Ben Shapiro, also quit. Shapiro’s statement regarding his departure stated:

Both Lewandowski and Trump maligned Michelle in the most repulsive fashion. Meanwhile, Breitbart News not only stood by and did nothing outside of tepidly asking for an apology, they then attempted to abandon Michelle by silencing staff from tweeting or talking about the issues. Finally, in the ultimate indignity, they undermined Michelle completely by running a poorly-evidenced conspiracy theory as their lead story in which Michelle and Terris had somehow misidentified Lewandowski.

Good for Shapiro. This is massive. This is what we need more of today.

We now know the Ducks’s crisis management strategy regarding journalists:

Step 1: Forcefully remove the problem, even if that problem is a journalist.

Step 2: Deny all involvement or knowledge of the incident.

Step 3: Use direct or in-direct connections with Media outlets to silence the story. Especially if they employ the problem.

It’s disgusting. It’s wrong. It reeks of an empty husk of a man with nothing but cowardice inside of him. Good luck America.

Let’s hope this precedent, the precedent that physical force is a solution to silence a journalist, is quickly overturned. Else journalists who know just a little too much may be treated like this one day:

-Salt (@hardnosalt).

Surviving Survivor

survivor-caleb

Until three years ago I had never watched an episode of CBS’s Survivor. My roommate was a fanatic and asked if I wanted to join a Survivor fantasy pool. I said yes for a couple reasons. First, it was a good excuse to turn my brain off in the middle of the week and have a beer or two and not stare at text books. Second, I figured I’d man up and see what all the fuss was about.

The pool is still a thing. However, after last week’s episode, I think I’m done.

Survivor is in its 32nd Season and is taking place in Koh Rong, Cambodia. The show generally puts out two seasons per calendar year. The 32nd season premiere saw 8.3 million viewers tune in. I was one of them.

In Survivor tribes enter a ‘remote’ island and square off with one another for a chance to win 1 million dollars. This season sees Survivor revert to a tried and tested formula of three tribes; brains, brawn, and beauty. A lovely lesson to teach viewers – you’re either a model, you’re strong, or you’re smart, but good luck being two of these defining features. Let alone three. I suppose it’s more innocent than their ‘Blood v Water’ concept which sees family members wrestle with the idea of betraying loved ones for a shot at money. But not by much.

Tribes compete in reward challenges and immunity challenges. If a tribe wins a reward challenge they are rewarded. Pretty simple.  Immunity challenges see teams compete in challenges that generally combine some form of physical challenge and puzzle challenge to win an immunity idol. Immunity idols prevent tribes from having to go to the dreaded tribal council. Each episode one tribe must to go to tribal council. It’s the source of the show’s drama. And at each tribal, one member of the tribe must be voted out. This continues until the tribes dissolve into one tribe and eventually 3 cast members are left.

The premise of Survivor is simple. Win. Above all else.

Have an alliance with someone from day one? Blindside them at tribal and live to see another day. It was only your word. You only shook hands with someone and told them you have their back. What’s that worth? Apparently a million dollars.

This season saw Aleica bust her ass off over the first 3 episodes to try and help the tribe. We’re told she spent hours trying to make a fire while everyone else in her tribe laid around and rested. When she knew she was on the outs, she found an immunity idol clue. She thought she was safe until a former professional athlete and a former member of the U.S. army used their speed and strength to wrestle it from her like a couple of 6 year olds on a playground. Fuckin eh man. The lesson we can derive from that? It’s not how hard you work it’s who you know. Who your friends are.

The examples are endless. Morals are compromised again and again in the name of the game. In the name of money.

Last weeks episode sealed the deal for me. The tribes headed into the reward challenge just 5 minutes into the episode. Huh? That’s pretty early. We usually get plotting and planning for a while. Not today.

The reward challenge consisted of going through a small obstacle course, digging under a log in the sand and crawling under it, and digging up three bags of balls in the sand which would be used in a Survivor bowling game.

Koh Rong gets hot. The highest average monthly temperature was 33 degrees Celsius (that’s 91.4 Fahrenheit for you yanks). That’s hot and it’s only the average. I’ve worked labour jobs before where the day is over if the temperature hits 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 degrees Fahrenheit). We weren’t told how hot it was on the day of the challenge, but it was hot.  According to the show the tribes spent well over 45 minutes in the sun that day digging for bags. Three of them collapsed due to heat stroke. Which three?

Caleb – 28 year old army vet. Guy is built like a truck. Absolutely shredded.

Debbie – 49 year old Chemist, who according to the episode, weighs about 98 pounds.

Cydney – 23 year old professional body builder.

What do these three have in common? They don’t have a lot of water kicking around inside them. Those three going down to heat stroke/heat exhaustion was completely foreseeable. And it wasn’t so much the fact the show let them go down that was most disturbing (though it certainly was) it’s how they handled it.

The second Debbie’s teammate called the host over for medical the tone of the show flips. The music cuts out. In comes the string section in their ominous beats. And the show begins to reveals itself wholly for what it is. But first, a commercial.

When we come back the host proudly proclaims, with a smile on his face, “We have three different stories happening”. One of those stories is 49 year old Debbie curled up like a ball getting medical attention. The host graciously returns to Debbie and stands over her and asks for the update from the doctor. It’s all sort of eerie and wrong. Debbie is still what she’s always been, a set piece. Like all survivor contestants she’s been manipulated and put through tests and trials designed by TV producers and Network execs hundreds of miles away from the start. But now, her physical state, the helpless skinny middle aged woman who can’t pick her head off the ground, represents it perfectly. She’s helpless. As a viewer you can’t NOT see it. They throw it in your face. And what does the perfectly groomed, well dressed, host do? He doesn’t help her himself, there’s no real concern going on his end. In fact, he’s borderline excited. What great television this will make.

When Caleb goes down it’s a whole new level of heat stroke. The entire crew has scrambled from the bushes now. They’ve come to the aid of their stranded and deserted subjects. The poor guy can’t keep his eyes open, it looks like he’s in and out of consciousness, and no matter what the medical team try they can’t cool him down. They ran a mainline of Saline solution but he had roasted himself completely. There was no coming back. The music is rising and falling like an epic war movie. And then Cydney goes down. It’s a full blown crisis now.

The host jumps back and forth asking for updates on his set pieces. Cydney recovers. Caleb, as I mentioned, isn’t so lucky. He needed some serious attention and was helicoptered off the island, back to civilization. The last thing the host says to Caleb is, “You’re a warrior dude, glad you were out here”. This might be the most real thing said in the history of reality television. Caleb offered a great episode of suspense and chatter. I’m even writing about this shit. Unfortunately for him, it came at his health.

Now, we cut to Caleb’s team reacting to finding out Caleb is out. The string section which spent most of its time on the lower end of the scales ascends to angelic heights. The music is soaring and so is the last contestant to leave Survivor.

It’s just T.V. Salt, why the fuck does it matter?

It matters because Survivor is just one facet of celebrity culture that we obsesses over today. It matters because people in America are willing to compromise themselves, family members, and any shred of morality for a shot at a million dollars. Survivor is a symptom. The sickness is systemic and it has infiltrated almost every facet of North American culture. Survivor plays itself out in the real world almost everyday.

Don’t believe me? Donald Trump is another symptom. He’s just playing Survivor: become president and profit no matter the cost. Sound familiar?  Just as many people seem to be tuning in to Trump’s version of Survivor as well.

Maybe the time will come when I get into Trump. For now, fuck Survivor. I’m out.

-Salt (@hardnosalt).