Follow me on Twitter

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trump Won't Peter Out, He'll Palin Out

Looking at Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, we would not say that they were separated at birth. They share no physical resemblance, but under the surface, they may very well be clones. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are so much alike in personality, someone should hire Maury Povich to find the matching DNA sequence on their political gene.

During the cringeworthy rollout of Sarah Palin as a vice presidential  candidate during the 2008 election, she was interviewed by Katie Couric. Palin served up an incomprehensible word salad in response to questions ranging from government regulation to Russia. Then Couric asked the Alaska governor where she got her news. Out of context, it would have been a condescending question, but after listening to Palin repeatedly mask her ignorance with gibberish, Couric was obliged to find a nice way to ask “What the fuck do you read?” The best answer Palin could come up with for such an easy question was “um, all of ‘em, any of ‘em that um, have, have been in front of me over all these years.”

Some twins are known to develop their own special language. Comparing statements from Palin and Trump makes a strong case that these two taught each other how to speak. While making comments about Black History Month during a February photo op, Trump said “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”

It is as easy to imagine Trump giving the answer to Couric’s newspaper question as it is to hear Palin make that confoundingly vague remark on Frederick Douglass. Palin and Trump are walking blooper reels. Just run a camera in front of either one of them and blooper magic will happen, but there are no outtakes in politics. When you go on a riff about Paul Revere “ringing those bells and making sure he was riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that were going to be secure and we were going to be free,” it goes directly from your mouth to the Internet. Palin and Trump blame the press for as little as just being present when the fault is their’s for being willfully amateur. Palin regularly lashed out at the “lamestream media” while Trump barks at the “dishonest press” and “fake media.”

Late night TV writers have harvested the bountiful incompetence of the “Tralin” Twins to ratings success, helping to cement the notion that these two were and are out of their league in upper levels government work. The Tralin response to the lampooning is to become bitter, not smarter. Palin harangued anyone who was critical of her shallow grasp of the issues as an elite, not the best word choice considering what the real definition of “elite” is. Her intention was to call liberals snobs, but what she ended up doing was likening them to the Green Berets and the Navy SEALS. Trump as a candidate railed against the Establishment while proclaiming his love for the “poorly educated,” and not in a Jesus-Love sort of way. Trump was just showing his appreciation for people he suspected he could easily con.

While Palin’s ticket went on to lose the 2008 election, she cashed in on her demographic appeal. Following the lead of her long lost political twin, she parlayed her political fame into a showbiz gig, getting her own reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” She also became a Fox News personality. Trump followed the lead of his long lost political twin sister parlaying his reality TV fame into a political jaunt by taking an existing right-wing conspiracy theory and anointing himself as its media conductor. Trump insisted he had people in Hawaii looking for Barack Obama’s birth certificate who supposedly couldn’t believe what they were finding. Spoiler Alert: there was never any follow up on that claim.

In 2012, there was anticipation for a Republican primary race for the ages. Speculation swirled around the Tralin Twins making separate presidential runs. It would be a showdown over who would win the hearts and minds of the non-elite, poorly educated. Would America get its first female president or its second Warren G. Harding? We never got our answer as neither decided to run that year.

In the meantime, the Twins embarked down divergent paths. Even identical twins have subtle features that distinguish one from the other like a crooked tooth or a third underdeveloped nipple. The trait that distinguished one Tralin from the other was ambition. Sarah assumed her relevance was now a given, seeing as how there was nowhere in Tea Party circles where she was not wanted. But not being unwanted and being sought after were two different things. She was still the folksy crowd pleaser, reading rage points from the notes written on her hand, but she was no longer seen as any sort of agent for victory because she really hadn’t really done anything. Now she was less of a contender and more of a mascot. In 2015, she was dropped from Fox News.

As an astute capitalist, Trump realized his political options were to either compete with Twin Sarah for Most Favoritist Tea Party Mascot, or to step it up. He would either have to go big or go back to one of his totally tacky homes.

Trump’s election win was a legitimate upset because the majority of voters were upset with the results, having cast their votes for Hillary Clinton.  It was upsetting that someone whose entire campaign was spent in constant turmoil^, could eke out a win in the electoral college. Because of his unpopularity, Donald Trump took office with the lowest approval rating of any president in the era of polling. He began his first hundred days with prebattered prestige. Due to a combination of his lack of respect for procedure and his injured, items on his agenda quickly bottlenecked which further eroded his effectiveness. Trump is in the danger zone on a scale we will call DRP or Dornell’s Redemption Potential.

DRP (pronounced “derp”) measures the likelihood that a public figure can regain the confidence of the People after suffering a setback or setbacks. It is based on several factors including:
-Past and current controversies
-Ability to grow from mistakes
-Portrayal in pop culture (negative value for negative portrayal)
-Current rank, status, or title as a public official
-Engagement on issues

Among the DRP factors, Trump has one thing going for him. As the current sitting president, he has the highest possible title for a public official. This prevents him from the risk of sinking into obscurity as he scrambles to reverse the death spiral of his presidency, if he so chooses. The other edge of the sword is that Trump stays in full view if he continues to fail. Given his prolific authorship of his own scandals, his inability to grow, the relentless hammering of Trump in pop culture, his known lack of engagement on issues, and now being the subject of an FBI investigation, Trump is as close to irredeemable as any president has ever been. And in under 100 days.

By comparison, his political twin actually holds a higher DRP value. Most of her high-profile failures occurred while she was a private citizen or a candidate. She has not really failed in office. The status of former governor carries some heft, even if she quit in the middle of her term. Otherwise, she has never demonstrated a potential for growth. She has yet to show depth of knowledge on any particular issue besides wanting to protect liberty and freedom. Palin is in the zone of perhaps being appointed to a specially created symbolic post like Special Envoy to U.S. Armed Forces Overseas or Ambassador for Republican Unity. She may even be able to pull off running for a congressional seat in a super conservative rural district… hypothetically.

Although Twin Trump calls the press all kinds of names, media personalities across the spectrum have shown a peculiar faith in his ability to turn his presidency around. They have opined that IF he can execute any of his most important election promises within his first 100 days, it would change the trajectory of his troubled tenure. They do not take into account the volume of issues still weighing on his Administration including his prolific lying and the extended problems caused by that habit alone.

In a his first annual address to a joint session of Congress, Trump pulled off a perfunctory performance in a ceremonial speech that never has any lasting impact on the person giving it. Rarely does anyone refer back to a president’s address to Congress (unless an attending bigot screams out “you lie” in the middle of it). Yet commentators glowed after Trump stood and read from a teleprompter for an hour. The praise was not for any extraordinary use of rhetoric  of which there was none, nor was it for any groundbreaking insights of which there were none. The only marked characteristic to this speech was that it was not a mess, considering the orator. For the longest period since January 19, the news out of the White House was not about ethics violations, incompetence, Yemen, suspected Russian ties, or lies. Twenty–four hours later, news broke that new Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have lied to Congress about having met Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Since then, no one but Trump has mentioned that speech to Congress.

The longer it takes Trump to move his DRP rating in a positive direction, the bigger his accomplishments will have to be in order to achieve anything close to full redemption. His performance as a businessman and a politician have been marked by callous recklessness followed up by attempts by his staff to put out perpetual fires. This won’t change. his temperament won’t improve. He will never be presidential. He won’t stop lying. Ever. As his approval ratings continue to drop, he is not on any path to winning over any converts.

Everyone knows the fortune cookie game where you add the words “in bed” to the end of each fortune. Most people play a similar game, subconsciously or not, when we see a headline heralding an event featuring Sarah Palin. Somewhere in our brain we add the words “with embarrassing results” e.g. “Sarah Palin to Endorse Iowa Congressional Candidate… with embarrassing results.” Donald Trump is very close to that same point. He can always find acceptance by appealing solely to his base, but even among that eternally supportive piece of pie they will eventually stop having any expectations of him as president. At that point he will be their mascot, a lame duck mascot.

Thanks to Peggy Levenstein

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Expert: Oz Covered Up Racist Bones in Trump's Body

When discussing the health of Donald Trump, supporters who are not avowed white supremacists boast that the Republican nominee for president doesn't have a racist bone in his body. According to experts, this is just not true. "No. Donald doesn't have a racist bone in his body. He has at least several racist bones in his body" says Dr. Irving Chao, an orthopedist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. "If you say things like 'we're building a wall, he's Mexican,' you at least have a racist jawbone. A normal jawbone isn't capable of articulating those sentiments." Chao did not stop there, citing that Trump's desire to kick out Hispanic immigrants would require racist bones in the legs and feet. 

The revelation came just as TV personality Dr. Oz held a televised consult with Trump to discuss the candidate's overall health. Oz admitted that he would avoid any topic Trump did not want to discuss which would ostensibly include his racist bones. Chao finds that omission unacceptable saying "it's virtually malpractice on the public interest. How many more racist bones does Donald Trump have in his body? It's one thing to have a racist jawbone, but if you have a racist backbone, game over. The people deserve to know."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vegans Quarrel Over Eating Boogers

Vegans, vegetarians who abstain from consuming any animal products are being torn apart by a new controversy. They can not agree if boogers have a place on the vegan menu. On one side, proponents claim that the human body continually generates waste products such as dead cells among others. Those that aren't expelled from the body are reabsorbed internally. "The fact is, we're already practically eating our own waste products, not to mention the boogers we eat unknowingly throughout the day" says Matt Sherman, a vegan and physiologist. "Eat a booger. Live a little." Add to this, boogers pack a potent dose of protein according to vegan booger eaters. 

In opposition to this view is the claim that voluntary consumption of bodily waste that is manually harvested with intent such as the booger counts as animal product and is thereby forbidden under vegan philosophy. In some places the debate has been taking up ad space. In Portland, Oregon one can see "if you pick it, you must flick it" billboards. The foot of one such billboard was the site of a recent protest where handheld signs proclaiming "I beg your pardon, stay out my nose garden" were seen. The American Vegan Congress is expected to address eating boogers or mucophagy  during its next session. 


Monday, September 12, 2016

Tim Cook Unveils Apple's "Best Sexual Harassment Policy Ever"

Apple employees sat in the company auditorium seeming more sleepy and preoccupied than curious over what was billed as a surprise announcement. At 10:30 a.m. the house lights went down. Missing was the applause that usually follows the dramatic opening of an Apple product launch. Through the darkness came a sustained synth-string note and the voice of Tim Cook crowing highlights and enhancements of the company’s new sexual harassment policy. “Streamlined process for making complaints. Option for rapid mediation between alleged offender and offended party. Dedicated digital counselor versed in all matters of sexual harassment.” The stage lights came up on Cook as the strings stopped. The CEO, dressed in black then announced “and it’s all integrated on the new iPhone 7!” The room sat quietly for two to three seconds until Cook prompted “you can clap now,” at which point most of the room united in tepid applause. “It’s another friggin’ sexual harassment seminar” one employee was overheard grumbling. In spite of the lack of enthusiasm, Cook pressed on, going into further detail as he would as if he were hawking a new device in front of engrossed press and investors. He saved what seemed to be his favorite new feature, Myrtle for last. “And finally, Siri might be spoken for, but she does have an older sister Myrtle who is our digital sexual harassment counselor. If you’re not sure if you’ve been sexually harassed, tell Myrtle what’s happened. Don’t worry. She’s heard it all. Also, if there is something you want to say to someone, but aren’t sure if it crosses the line, just run it by Myrtle to see what she thinks. Watch this.” Cook took out his iPhone 7, asked Siri to get Myrtle and then asked “Myrtle, can I tell Rajit Singh I’d like to hit that?” Back came an instant answer from Myrtle, but in Hindi to which the entire room burst into laughter and applause. Cook took the ribbing with a good nature, digging back “so you’ll clap at that. OK. We’ll get the engineers on that, right fellas?” With a finger on the pulse of the room, Cook segued into a rushed ending to the gathering. “It’s the best sexual harassment policy ever and there are donuts in each of your nearest break rooms” he said, waving his hand in a quick upward motion. Scores of workers then tripped up the stairs to the exits, prompting one more authoritative command from Cook. “Slowly. Slowly!”

Trump Changing Color Later This Year Due to Climate Change

There is no greater sign of autumn than Donald Trump changing colors. Every October, tourists flock to Trump Tower to see the face and hair of the famed conman show off brighter oranges and yellows. According to scientists though, you may want to book your travel later this year if your goal is to see the fooliage at its height. “Trump becomes more vibrant every fall because he begins to produce more of the compound asinine” says Northeastern University anthrobotanist Bird Berdan. “The asinine is triggered by the cooler air. So the longer it stays warm, the later fooliage season starts. This is a direct affect of global warming.” 

Donald Trump disagreed with the science, responding “they say this… look, the Chinese have… many smart people tell me, many smart people, the Chinese are making so much money on global warming and we’re just giving it to them, giving it to them. Give. Me. A break. And Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are handing over the checks because of their policies. It’s been. A. Disaster. A disaster. Look, people tell me all the time, I just had someone say to me ‘we never know when you’re going to change color. Sometimes you do it January, sometimes you do it in June.’ And they say this whole thing with Putin, the press is so dishonest, so dishonest. Hillary Clinton has lunch with ISIS once a week. And you hear nothing about it. Meanwhile, I gave billions to veterans and they jumped all over me, all over me. Very dishonest. Very dishonest.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Air Force One Loses Obama's Luggage

As a perfect bookend to a foreign trip that had a rough start, Barack Obama retuned from Asia on Friday morning only to discover Air Force One lost his luggage.

“Unfuckingbelievable” muttered the president as he banged on the door of the White House travel office . “They insisted I had to come in person to fill out forms. I couldn’t do it online. Now they’re closed for lunch. I can actually hear people in there” he said with his ear to the door.

In spite of rising approval in his final months, Obama has recently endured blows to his prestige, from insurers abandoning Obamacare exchanges to the Asia trip which began with Chinese officials screaming at members of the American delegation on the tarmac upon arrival. One official who chose to remain anonymous said that in Laos, the president spent much of his time in his room at the U.S. embassy in Vientiane.

“The last question he asked after we arrived was ‘do they get Netflix here?’ Those close enough to the president know that means he pretty much wants to be left alone for the next three days” said the staffer.

If Obama was expecting his homecoming to be a relief from the stress of travel, the luggage snafu threw those hopes away

“It’s not just a couple pairs of socks and underwear” said Obama to whatever traveling press gaggle that still lingered. “I bring all my favorite suits to choose from. Now I have to wear my fat suits. Then there’s the stupid gifts. I have to register a ‘I had a ‘Laos-y time in Laos’ t-shirt given to me from the Laotian president. I should have told him to keep it. I don’t have time for this shit.”

While waiting for the travel office to open, the president pulled out his Blackberry and said “What, do they think I don’t have Yelp?” He paused for a moment and wondered aloud “maybe I should wait until I get my stuff back.”

What's Blowin' Up on AotL