Tag Archives: Trump

Trump’s unexpected hospital trip has Twitter conspiracies in overdrive

Trump’s unexpected hospital trip has Twitter conspiracies in overdrive
I don't know what to do with my hands.
I don’t know what to do with my hands.

Image: Matt Sullivan / Getty Images

By Marcus Gilmer

For once, Donald Trump finds himself mired in a conspiracy theory that’s not of his own making. 

It’s all thanks to a (reportedly) unscheduled trip Trump made to Walter Reed Hospital on Saturday for a medical exam. Of course, any time a president makes an unannounced trip to a hospital, it’s cause for concern. 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied anything was wrong and said that Trump was simply taking advantage of a light work day (LOL) to take care of an exam. Her insistence reached comical levels when she appeared on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show on Saturday night.

Good luck to anyone who can listen to this exchange with a straight face.

Grisham: “He has more energy than anybody in the White House. That man works from 6 a.m. until very, very late at night.”

Pirro: “He’s almost super human.”

Anyway, just after midnight on Sunday morning, Trump himself tweeted that all is perfectly fine and he was simply conducting part of his annual physical.

Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery at the amazing Walter Reed Medical Center. Those are truly some of the best doctors anywhere in the world. Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019

One theme that emerged on Twitter with regards to Trump’s visit: the Grinch.

But there was something much bigger afloat. The man who has thrown out a range of conspiracy theories, from the racist Obama birther claims to suggesting Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved with the JFK assassination, was suddenly the subject of a big conspiracy theory on Far Left Twitter.

One theory goes that Trump’s visit to Walter Reed was simply a ruse to raise concerns about his health so that he might eventually resign due to “health reasons” and spare himself the shame of impeachment. 

There are a lot of reasons this theory is very, very, very unlikely, not the least of which is the fact it’s currently unlikely the U.S. Senate and its GOP majority would actually vote to convict Trump on any impeachment charges. But when it comes to these kind of BS conspiracies, ruminating on outlandish theories is a bipartisan product. 

Interestingly enough, by Sunday morning there was a completely different theory floating around: that Trump’s visit was legit and due to chest pains. That particular theory got life thanks to a tweet from Andrew Vernon, who’s an op-ed contributor to The Hill.

#BreakingNews Sources tell me from Walter Reed the President was being checked out for chest discomfort. No other information is available at this time.

— Andrew Vernon (@VernonAndrewJ) November 17, 2019

This theory picked up traction after it was published online on the website Heavy but without any corroborating evidence which, as we all know, is generally not grounds for believing, well, anything.

And, of course, there is the tried-and-true theory that it’s all just another distraction to get us talking about anything other than the ongoing impeachment inquiry. 

There is absolutely no reason to believe any of these theories are true, and to believe anything other than (deep sigh) what the White House says. 

The trip to Walter Reed and the sudden spread of these theories certainly reflects the nature with which those who oppose Trump are willing to cling to any scrap of information and twist and contort it so that it fits their own hopeful narrative of him leaving office. 

But the spread of these theories is also the byproduct of Trump’s own behavior. Twitter is, as I’ve said before, still a Hellscape that has allowed Trump to peddle lies and his own conspiracy theories, all without any pushback. If Trump doesn’t like the tin foil hat, “I’m just asking questions, man” nature of these theories, he only has himself to blame. 

And Grisham and the rest of the White House press team have no one else to blame but themselves. It’s not just the ridiculous, Soviet-era state media level rhetoric of the Great Supreme Leader. It’s also the complete lack of transparency that comes from the White House. 

We’re over eight months removed from then-press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ last official White House press briefing. Since taking over from Sanders, Grisham has done nothing to dispel the air of obfuscation that’s been with the Trump White House since its early tantrums over inauguration crowds and “alternative facts.” 

There is absolutely no reason to believe any of the theories floating around Twitter right now. But whatever mess the White House finds itself in is one of their own making. 

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Trump’s Ukraine Server Delusion Is Spreading

Trump’s Ukraine Server Delusion Is Spreading

Look, we’ve written this before. So have a bunch of other outlets, for weeks on end, including today. Even Fox and Friends raised an eyebrow at the idea. But since Donald Trump persists, along with, now, his secretary of state, who should and one suspects does know better, we will write it once again: Ukraine does not have a DNC server. Give no quarter to any suggestion otherwise.

Where does this malignant conspiracy theory come from in the first place? Maybe Paul Manafort. Probably 4chan. Regardless, it has since stuck in the president’s brain like a Ceti eel placed by a wrathful Khan, burrowing deeper until it consumes whatever remains of rational thought. The story, as Trump recently posited on a marathon call-in to Fox and Friends, goes something like this:

“A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine,” Trump said. “It’s very interesting. They have the server, right? From the DNC, Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in, and they told them, ‘Get out of here, we’re not giving it to you.’ They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, and I still want to see that server. You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”

A light edit for coherence: Trump believes—and by all indications this is true belief, not posturing—that after the Democratic National Committee was hacked in 2016, the DNC gave a physical server to Ukrainian cybersecurity company CrowdStrike and refused to let the FBI see the evidence. Trump further argues that the server in question now physically resides in Ukraine. Inside that server, Trump suggests, one would find evidence, gleaming like a Pulp Fiction briefcase, that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the DNC in 2016.

“Are you sure they did that?” asked Fox and Friends host Steve Doocey.

To which Trump replied: “Well, that’s what the word is.”

Almost every aspect of this is demonstrably wrong. CrowdStrike is not a Ukrainian company. Its cofounder and chief technology officer, Dmitri Alperovitch, was born in Russia and has lived in the US since his teenage years. The company is based in Sunnyvale, California, and went public this summer. As is standard in this sort of incident response, CrowdStrike never took physical possession of any DNC server. Its analysts instead captured an “image” of the hard drives and memories of affected machines, exact replicas that it could examine for signs of malfeasance. It handed all of that forensic evidence over to the FBI, which Department of Justice deputy assistant attorney general Adam Hickey confirmed just last month. And if the logical contortions required to view CrowdStrike as somehow partisan in all of this aren’t already enough, know that the company counts the Republican National Congressional Committee among its clients.

So: Not Ukrainian. No physical server. Not only was the FBI directly involved, but the DOJ indicted the Russian hackers responsible and laid out in exquisite detail how they did it—and how CrowdStrike fought them off. You can read the indictment for yourself here. Start on page 10; CrowdStrike is Company 1.

Or read Volume I of the Mueller Report. Or the court documents from the lawsuit the DNC filed against Russian hackers, which lay bare the extent of the damage it suffered: more than 140 servers decommissioned, all software removed and reinstalled from 180 computers, 11 servers fully rebuilt. Not one of them currently residing in Ukraine.

When reached for comment, again, CrowdStrike directed us to its most recent statement and an explainer blog post the company has been updating since first detailing the hack in 2016.

Trump’s Ukraine server conspiracy theory is a chair with no legs. It requires willful ignorance of knowable facts, a commitment to the notion of truth as somehow mutable. And yet he earnestly asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate it in the fateful phone call that sparked the impeachment inquiry.

In some ways, this is all well-trod territory for the president, whose lies since taking office numbered over 12,000 as of August, an average of 13 false or misleading claims per day. But few are as easily disprovable, as demonstrably outlandish, as the Ukraine server conspiracy. More worrying still is that the conspiracy appears to have metastasized.

Look at the impeachment proceedings, when members of the House Intelligence Committee—each of them privy to sensitive information by virtue of their assignments, not that they even need it in this case—repeatedly winked at Ukraine conspiracies.

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow for some reason, Ukraine did,” former National Security Council official Fiona Hill said in her opening statement last week. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

Look at Senator Joe Kennedy of Louisiana, who on Fox News this weekend claimed that “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any of us,” who was responsible for 2016 election interference. “It could also be Ukraine,” Kennedy said. On Monday, Kennedy trotted back his statement, saying flatly that he was wrong on CNN. One wonders how many Fox viewers saw the retraction.

Or look at secretary of state Mike Pompeo, formerly head of the Central Intelligence Agency, who in a press conference on Tuesday said that “anytime there is information that indicates that any country has messed with American elections, we not only have a right but a duty to make sure we chase that down.” He was responding to a question about whether Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the DNC.

The Ukraine server conspiracy matters not only because it’s wrong, or because it empowers and absolves Russia, or because it weakens the strategically vital relationship between the US and Ukraine for no discernible benefit. It also matters because it puts in sharp relief how divorced the president is from reality, and the apparent lack of willingness or ability of those around him to set the record straight. And the more he and they repeat the lie, the more it seems true to the people who hear it.

The torrent of lies Trump and his enablers have sent rushing over the DNC server story threaten to wear the truth to a nub. So yes, we’ll keep writing about it. There’s no “server.” It’s not in Ukraine. The story is the same, and always will be.


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Trump impeachment evidence frustrating

Trump impeachment evidence frustrating

Media playback is unsupported on your gadget

Media caption What does it require to impeach a president?

Proof for impeaching US President Donald Trump for misbehavior in workplace is “overwhelming”, according to the panel leading the impeachment inquiry.

The president positioned personal political interests “above the nationwide interests of the United States”, it states in a key report to House legislators.

He did so by trying to “obtain foreign disturbance” from Ukraine to assist his 2020 re-election bid, it states.

The report is developed to lay out the case to get rid of Mr Trump from office.

He denies any wrongdoing, and has described the query as a witch-hunt.

Prior to the draft report was launched, the Republican president assaulted the Democrat-led examination as “really unpatriotic”.

Following publication, White Home press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the Democrats “utterly stopped working to produce any proof of misdeed” and that the report “reflects nothing more than their frustrations”.

The report now goes to your home Judiciary Committee, which will start procedures on Wednesday and consider formal impeachment charges versus Mr Trump.

What does the report say?

The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Questions Report was revealed on Tuesday by the Home Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

It states the questions “discovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his workplace to get foreign disturbance on his behalf in the 2020 election”.

” President Trump’s scheme overturned United States diplomacy towards Ukraine and weakened our national security in favour of two politically-motivated examinations that would help his presidential re-election campaign,” it says.

” The president required that the newly-elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, openly announce examinations into a political competitor that he apparently feared the most, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”

Proof of misconduct is frustrating “therefore too is the evidence of his blockage of Congress”, the report says.

Phone records shed brand-new light

The telecoms company AT&T offered committee detectives with Rudy Giuliani’s mobile phone records – and those records shed brand-new light on the timing and breadth the communications Donald Trump’s individual attorney had with the White Home.

Starting in April of this year, Giuliani had multiple phone conversations with numbers noted for the White Home and, in particular, the Workplace of Management and Spending plan – the federal government company eventually responsible for putting a hold on the congressionally authorised United States military aid to Ukraine.

Several witnesses, consisting of United States Ambassador to the EU Gordan Sondland, have actually affirmed that Giuliani was directing them, at the request of the president, to press Ukrainian officials to open investigations that would be politically beneficial for Mr Trump.

What happens next?

The intelligence committee voted 13 to 9, along celebration lines, on Tuesday to authorize the report and send it to your home Judiciary Committee.

The judiciary panel’s hearings will begin with 4 constitutional scholars, who will explain how impeachment works. The White Home has refused to take part in the hearings, pointing out a lack of “fairness”.

Amongst formal impeachment charges anticipated to be considered are abuse of power, blockage of justice and contempt of Congress.

Democrats are eager to hold a vote on impeachment in your house of Representatives prior to the end of the year, with the prospect of a trial in the Senate possibly as early as January.

Trump and impeachment

What are Republicans stating?

Prior to the draft report was made public, Home Republicans launched their own 123- page report that condemned the “unelected bureaucrats” who testified, saying they “basically disagreed with President Trump’s design, world view and decisions”.

The file implicates Democrats of “trying to reverse the will of the American people” and argues that they have actually been attempting to depose the president since his very first day in workplace.

” None of the Democrats’ witnesses affirmed to having proof of bribery, extortion, or any high criminal activity or misdemeanours,” it argues, in referral to the constitutional provision that permits the removal of a president.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff dismissed the Republican rebuttal, stating it was “meant for an audience of one”, Mr Trump, and “ignores abundant evidence “against him.

In London, where he is going to the 70 th anniversary of defence alliance Nato, Mr Trump knocked Mr Schiff by name, calling him “a maniac”, “a really ill male” and “a deranged human”.

What is Trump implicated of?

Democrats state Mr Trump dangled 2 bargaining chips to Ukraine – $400 m (₤309 m) of military help that had actually already been designated by Congress, and a White House meeting for Mr Zelensky – to get the investigations. They believe this political pressure on a vulnerable US ally totals up to an abuse of power.

The very first investigation Mr Trump desired from Ukraine enjoyed Mr Biden, his main Democratic challenger, and his child Hunter. Hunter signed up with the board of a Ukrainian energy company when Joe Biden was United States vice-president.

The 2nd Trump demand was that Ukraine attempt to support a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the last United States presidential election. This theory has actually been extensively debunked, and US intelligence companies are unanimous in saying Moscow lagged the hacking of Democratic Party e-mails in 2016.

Media playback is unsupported on your gadget

Media caption Ukrainian foreign minister Prystaiko dismissed claims the nation interfered in US election

A Senate vote needs a two-thirds bulk to convict and remove the president – not likely in this case, offered that Mr Trump’s party manages the chamber.

Only 2 United States presidents in history – Expense Clinton and Andrew Johnson – have actually been impeached, but neither was founded guilty.

President Richard Nixon resigned prior to he could be impeached.

Learn more about the impeachment inquiry

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Trump parades Baghdadi dog

Trump parades Baghdadi dog

President Donald Trump introduced the media to Conan, who was injured in the US operation that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, Trump jokes to reporters that they “should be careful” and that the dog is “a tough cookie”.

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Scott Adams Has Some Ideas for a Calmer Internet

Scott Adams Has Some Ideas for a Calmer Internet

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Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert
A new book from Scott Adams, the developer of Dilbert who came under fire for supporting Donald Trump in 2016, lays out some proposals for online civility. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

After expressing assistance for Donald Trump in 2016, Dilbert creator Scott Adams approximates that he lost about 30 percent of his earnings and 75 percent of his pals. He states that level of political polarization has actually developed an environment of authentic fear.

” Individuals will come up, and they’ll normally whisper– or they’ll lower their voice, due to the fact that they don’t want to be heard– and they’ll say, ‘I truly like what you’re doing on your Periscope, and the things you’re stating about Trump,'” Adams states in Episode 389 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “They’re in fact scared to say it out loud.

Adams blames the existing climate on social media and a clickbait company design that rewards sensationalism over fact-based reporting. Since the technology is here to remain, he says we’re going to need new societal standards to help foster a calmer, more positive political discourse.

” When society modifications, every now and then you require a new rule of manners,” he says.

He sets out 2 such rules in his new book, Loserthink His first proposal, which he calls the “48- hour guideline,” states that everybody should be given a grace duration of a couple of days to withdraw any questionable declaration they’ve made, no questions asked. “We reside in a much better world if we accept people’s explanations and we accept their apologies, no matter whether we think– internally– it’s insincere,” he says.

His other concept is the “20- year rule,” which specifies that everyone needs to be instantly forgiven for any errors they made more than twenty years earlier– with the exception of particular serious criminal activities. It utilized to be the case that people’s thoughtless remarks and humiliating gaffes would naturally fade into obscurity, however social media has actually created a scenario where it’s simple to endlessly dredge up a person’s worst moments.

” We’re not the very same people that we were 20 years earlier,” Adams says. “We’ve discovered a lot, our context has altered. If you’re doing all the ideal stuff, you’re getting smarter and kinder and smarter as you’re aging. Being blamed for something you did 20 years back is successfully being blamed for something a complete stranger did, since you’re just not that individual anymore.”

Listen to the total interview with Scott Adams in Episode 389 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy(above). And take a look at some highlights from the discussion below.

Scott Adams on Babylon 5:

And I said, ‘Sure, can I bring my sweetheart at the time? I played a human character who was looking for my lost pet, and maybe I’m crazy and maybe I’m not, and my sweetheart at the time played a Minbari alien who was my assistant.

Scott Adams on his novel God’s Debris:

God’s Particles is essentially a conversation in between a deliveryman and a character that I created who is the smartest individual in the world, and so the smartest individual worldwide is describing to the deliveryman all the secrets of the universe, if you will. I’m a skilled hypnotherapist, and I was constantly curious about writing a book where I would use the hypnosis abilities embedded with the composing to offer the reader a better experience. … And for some readers, and naturally with hypnosis people don’t have the exact same response, the very same experience– however for a variety of readers, possibly a quarter of them, which would be really great, they have an experience that’s unlike reading a book. It’s a physical, astonishing sort of experience.”

Scott Adams on developing Dilbert:

And I said, ‘Really? And she said, ‘Yeah, simply the method it is.

Scott Adams on the media:

” When [media outlets] do these big function pieces, and they send out somebody to your house and they say, ‘Can you designate the entire day? I suggest, practically anything I do can be worded in a method that makes it sound like I’m the oddest person in the world, however if you heard me describe it, you ‘d state, ‘Oh OK.


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