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“Internet Woman-Haters Flock To Daddy Trump”: Donald Trump’s Heidi Cruz Attack Excites Men’s Rights Activists

Once again, Donald Trump is amplifying the voices of people who have been marginalized for good reason, electrifying the angry who have felt shut out of the mainsteam conversation.

He’s done it for white supremacists by sharing bogus, racist crime statistics, and having black students barred from his events. And now he’s doing it for misogynists.

A little before midnight on Wednesday, Trump manually retweeted an image juxtaposing an unfortunate picture of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, with a clearly posed image of Trump’s own wife, Melania, who happens to be an internationally recognized model. “A picture is worth a thousands words,” it reads, with a caption on the image saying “No need to Spill the Beans,” referencing a threat Trump had made the night before on Twitter, his 24/7 live feed to cable news.

So-called men’s rights activists applauded, praising Trump for his virility and the attractiveness of his wife, and cheering that their ideas were at last getting a wider hearing. Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, leader of the “pro-rape” organization Return of Kings, told The Daily Beast that the tweet was warranted.

“Trump’s actions are justified self-defense,” he said. “Cruz got one of his Super PAC’s to denigrate Melania and so Trump did the appropriate thing in defending his wife’s honor by retweeting an image made by a supporter. If a man goes after your wife, I hope you have the balls to defend her by attacking back.”

When informed that Cruz had nothing to do with the ad in question and told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that he condemned it, Valizadeh would not be moved.

“That doesn’t appear to be a proven fact,” he said. “Even if it is, for Cruz to be completely unaware of the actions of his campaign network shows incompetence and a lack of awareness that is not at all presidential. The last thing we need is a president who passes the buck when something goes wrong on his watch.”

This sort of implausible deniability is a common trait in some Trump supporters. When it comes to inciting violence, encouraging racist narratives and—in this case—demeaning women, it’s never Trump’s fault. It’s the politically correct left-wing media that misinterprets his actions. And for them, Trump is the mainstream funnel for ideas that have long been relegated to private computers in American basements.

“So, is it really an ‘attack’?” a spokesman for Men Going Their Own Way—a group that preaches the preservation of male sovereignty at all costs, including by staying away from women entirely—asked rhetorically. The spokesman, who didn’t give his name, continued:

“If someone feels ‘attacked’ by a tweet… they should probably get off the Internet.”

As to Trump’s initial threat to “spill the beans,” he said he presumed it was in reference to a 2005 incident in which Heidi Cruz, struggling with depression, was found on the side of a Texas highway, which he referred to as her “nutcase meltdown.”

He also, unprompted, brought up an online campaign from women threatening to withhold sex from Trump supporters, and shrugged: “As if vagina is more important than America.”

Others tied to the loosely organized MRA movement seemed similarly excited by Trump.

“People who have ugly wives should not comment on other men’s wives,” one user in a private chat room for MRAs said in response to a question from The Daily Beast.

The group hosting the conservation, in which The Daily Beast participated, is meant for believers in The Red Pill, an Internet-generated ideology that purports that men are oppressed and women are not.

“For what it’s worth, I think Trump handled it wrong,” another user chimed in. “His response was defensive, whereas I think the much better response would have been ‘sorry my wife is attractive’ or something along those lines in Trump language.”

“Looks like a good first lady to me, Clinton wouldn’t have been getting blowies by secretaries,” said one.

“She always looks like a dog ready to be put down,” another said of Heidi Cruz.

These are people hiding behind usernames who have never seen their ideas validated by a major political figure until now. There’s an entire section of the The Red Pill subreddit that seeks to explain how Trump’s ideas align with theirs.

It uses Trump’s attack lines against Megyn Kelly, viewed by many as abhorrent and disgusting, to explain the group’s life philosophies.

“Let’s say you are flirting with a hot girl at a party. Maybe you say something uncalibrated and she takes offense. She then calls you out on it. Ask yourself, ‘what would Donald Trump do?’ would he apologize? Nope! Even if you make a mistake, NEVER apologize to a girl. Especially when you’re in public. Sometimes you need to welcome the incoming conflict that develops. Don’t run away from it with the excuse of ‘I don’t want to rock the boat’ or ‘I will look like an asshole.’ This is EXACTLY what the girl wants you to do and think.”

But what more could one expect of a guy who once wrote in his 2007 book Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life: “The women I have dated over the years could have any man they want; they are the top models and most beautiful women in the world. I have been able to date (screw) them all because I have something that many men do not have. I don’t know what it is but women have always liked it.”

Trump, who says things about women like “you have to treat ’em like shit,” and does things like pouring wine on female reporters or bearing witness as his campaign manager physically grabs them, sounds a lot like the Internet commenters in their basements.

It’s just that he’s the leading Republican presidential candidate.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Best, March 26, 2016

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Misogynists, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“America Declines Dinner Date With Jeb Bush”: Most People Seem To Be Washing Their Hair That Night

Nobody wants to have dinner with Jeb Bush.

At least, that’s the sense you’d get from reading the comments on his posts encouraging Facebook users to sign up for a chance to dine with him. The Bush campaign’s official page sponsors a post from time to time that encourages users to hand over their names and email addresses in exchange for a chance to eat dinner with the former Florida governor.

Campaign spokesman Tim Miller said the post does well for Bush, and outperforms most of their other Facebook outreach efforts. But based on the comments, you might not know it. The responses on the most recent available version of the post are overwhelmingly negative—and trollishly so.

“The ‘prize’ seems more like a booby-prize……” says the top comment, written by a user named MrNoam Zsnc, whose avatar features the weird kid from Deliverance. “Winner gets to have dinner with Jeb! Loser gets to have 2 dinners with Jeb!”

MrNoam Zsnc the Deliverance Kid wasn’t the only person to express that uncharitable sentiment.

“Does the loser get two dinners with Jeb!?” wrote user Volodya Shevchenko, whose avatar features a cat wearing a bright red pigtail wig.

Of the 100+ comments appending that post, only 15 were even remotely positive. The rest were a hodgepodge of mean-spirited memes, poorly spelled comments, eye-rolling references to polls, and general crabbiness.

“Nope. Drop out Mr. 3%,” wrote a user called Jace Tobias, whose comment received at least 31 likes—the most of any comment on that particular posting of the ad.

One commenter, a Tennessee college student named Maxwell Bentley Lee, flagged to a group of Bernie Sanders supporters that his anti-Jeb comment was at one point the top response to the advertisement.

“Nobody wants to eat dinner with Jeb,” he wrote in that comment. “The only people who would actually want Jeb as President are other millionaires in Congress who would benefit from going to White House parties if Jeb was elected.”

That comment got 36 likes and appeared in directly under the promoted post.

Reached for comment via Facebook Messenger, Lee reiterated to The Daily Beast that he would not like to have dinner with Jeb.

“I am not interested at all—would be a waste of both our time,” he wrote.

A number of users made jokes about being expected to pick up the check if they dined with the former governor. One posted a weird photoshop of Bush’s face over the Little Debbie logo, titled “Little Jebbie.” The poster did not respond to a Facebook message politely requesting explanation as to whether the pre-packaged bakery snack image was an allusion to any of Bush’s particular policy goals. (Anonymous Facebook posters aren’t the only political observers with a penchant for unsettling photoshops; Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump recently tweeted a picture of Ted Cruz’s mug photoshopped onto what appears to be a likeness of notorious Sen. Joseph McCarthy.)

“Hey can I throw tamatos at him,” wrote another.

The Huffington Post’s poll tracker shows that Bush’s favorables have gone largely gone down and unfavorables have gone up since he entered the race. Currently, he’s at 53.8 percent unfavorable and just 31.5 percent favorable. A Quinnipiac poll in November gave him the worst net favorability rating of any presidential candidate. And earlier this month, a Gallup poll indicated that his net favorability with Republicans is 10 percentage points lower than it was this summer.

And while there are a panoply of explanations for this, it’s unwise to write off the impact of Internet comments. A study published in The Journal of Advertising early last year indicated that people take Internet comments seriously if they perceive the authors as credible. And being perceived as credible, on the Internet, isn’t too darn tough. So a constant drone of persistently negative commentary on every ad that Jeb promotes doesn’t do him any favors.

It also wouldn’t make for very pleasant dinner conversation.

 

By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, January 22, 2016

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Advertising, GOP Presidential Candidates, Jeb Bush | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Imaginary Footage Roils Republican Race”: Trump Is Trying To Justify His Right-Wing Approach To Registering Muslim Americans

It doesn’t happen often, but once in a great while, videos that don’t exist can cause a stir. In 2008, for example, a variety of far-right activists claimed they saw footage of Michelle Obama referring to white people as “whitey.” The video was fictional – the conservatives who made the claims were lying – but the chatter surrounding the made-up story grew pretty loud.

More recently, Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina falsely claimed she’d seen an abortion-related video that does not, in reality, exist. Pressed for an explanation, Fiorina simply dug in, stubbornly pretending fiction is fact.

And this week, as Rachel noted on the show last night, we’re confronted once more with a high-profile Republican trying to make an offensive point by pointing to footage that exists only in the world of make-believe.

At issue are imaginary reports from 9/11 that Trump believes show “thousands and thousands” of Jersey City residents of Middle Eastern descent cheering when the Twin Towers fell. The Republican frontrunner initially made the claim late last week, but he’s now repeated it and defended it several times since – pointing to news coverage Trump claims to have seen, but which remains entirely imaginary.

[I]n a sign the campaign and Trump himself may be at least a little concerned about the way his comments are perceived, the Donald made an impromptu call to NBC News Monday afternoon. Offering reassurance that he had indeed seen video of the celebrations on television on and “all over the Internet,” Trump said, “I have the world’s greatest memory. It’s one thing everyone agrees on.”

Trump even asked for news organizations to apologize to him for fact-checking his made-up claim. “Many people have tweeted that I am right!” he argued on Twitter, as if this were persuasive.

Making matters slightly worse, Trump’s obvious nonsense was also briefly endorsed yesterday afternoon by one of his GOP rivals.

Dr. Ben Carson apologized for asserting the widely discredited allegation that thousands of American Muslims had celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey. He told NBC News on Monday that he’d been thinking of celebrations captured in the Middle East – and not New Jersey.

Adding his voice to claims most recently made by Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Carson told reporters twice on Monday that he’d seen the “film” of the celebrations. When asked by NBC News specifically if he meant in New Jersey, he replied yes. Later on Monday, his campaign began walking back the comment.

We’ve reached a very strange point in American politics. A candidate for the nation’s highest office is seen as having done something halfway admirable because he’s acknowledged a misstep in which he confused New Jersey and the Middle East.

As for Trump, NBC News’ Katy Tur asked the New York Republican yesterday, “Where did you see the video? We can`t find anything in our archives. Others can`t find anything in theirs.”

Trump replied, “I saw video. It was on television. How would I know? You`ll have to find it.  I`ve also seen it all over the Internet. I`ve seen it on the Internet over the years. I`ve seen it on the Internet.”

Actually, no, he hasn’t, because the video does not exist.

What’s more, let’s not forget that the point of this entire fiasco is that Trump is trying to justify his right-wing approach to registering Muslim Americans and spying on houses of worship. In other words, we’re talking about a racially charged lie about imaginary news reports, created to defend a racially charged policy agenda.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, November 24, 2015

November 26, 2015 Posted by | American Muslims, Donald Trump, Racial Profiling, Racism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Biden Urges Us To Regain Our Sense Of National Purpose”: The Vice President Struck A Chord Too Long Missing From Our Public Debates

After Joe Biden’s Rose Garden announcement, news reports naturally focused on his decision not to seek the presidency. But the overarching theme of his short address was something more powerful and less political: This is a great country that ought to be more optimistic about its potential, more ambitious in its goals, more confident about its future.

That theme underlay Biden’s clarion call for a “moonshot” to cure cancer. As he noted — “It’s personal,” he said — his grief over the untimely death of his son, Beau Biden, fueled his sense of urgency. The younger Biden, Delaware’s attorney general, died in May at the age of 46, after a long battle with brain cancer.

Still, the vice president struck a chord too long missing from our public debates, too little heard in our partisan warfare: We have the ability to accomplish great things when we summon the will to do so.

“I know we can do this. The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development, because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine. The things that are just about to happen, we can make them real with an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today. … If I could be anything, I would want to be the president that ended cancer, because it’s possible.”

Whatever happened to that feisty spirit in our civic life? Whatever became of our sense of never-ending achievement, of unbridled national ambition, of great national purpose? Why don’t we reach for the stars anymore?

Instead, we’ve become brittle, limited in our expectations, dour in our outlook, afraid that the nation’s best days have already passed. While the lingering effects of the Great Recession, as well as the global threat of terrorism, have undoubtedly worked to dampen our optimism, history teaches that we’ve faced down more daunting odds before.

Indeed, the long-running Cold War, when the Soviet Union represented an existential threat to the United States, inspired the great space race that led to Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. The United States poured money into the sciences, down to the high school level. That period of bountiful scientific research benefited not only NASA, but also countless other streams of inquiry — including the pioneering communications work that led to the Internet.

Since the 1970s, though, Congress has slowly drained away money from the sciences, a process that has sped up over the last few years. In their current obsession with reducing federal government spending, GOP budget cutters have hacked away at everything from medical research to space exploration.

Nowadays, Congress can’t even agree to fund things that we know work. While all reasonable people agree that the country needs to repair and rebuild its aging infrastructure — bridges, highways, dams — Congress cannot manage to set aside the funds that are necessary.

During his first presidential campaign, President Obama called for a massive revamping of the nation’s electric grid, a plan to put in place the energy infrastructure for the 21st century. But that’s rarely even discussed anymore.

Instead, a small minority of vociferous partisans holds up routine legislation, such as raising the debt ceiling to pay the bills we’ve already incurred. That’s how a great nation behaves?

It’s not clear that even a massive infusion of research dollars — Biden’s “moonshot” — would lead to a “cure” for cancer. Scientists would likely even debate the use of the phrase, since cancer is not a single disease but rather a group of diseases that share the phenomenon of abnormal cell growth.

Still, Biden’s call for pouring national resources into the search for better treatment options makes sense. When President Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon!” our scientists weren’t certain we could do that either. But they dared to dream big dreams. Why don’t we do that anymore?

 

By: Cynthia Tucker Haynes, Pulitzer Winner for commentary, 2007; The National Memo, October 24, 2015

October 25, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Joe Biden, Scientific Research | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Ted Cruz’s Imagined America”: A Detour Between His Biographical And Ideological Sections Into The Late Eighteenth Century

I just slogged through Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign announcement speech, and have to say it’s a formula composition: a combination of a Cruz family biography and a by-the-numbers recitation of conservative policy positions. To give it the requisite “lift,” the candidate and/or his brain trust chose a rather hackneyed “imagine” construction, and applied it mechanically to both parts of the speech:

Imagine a teenage boy, not much younger than many of you here today, growing up in Cuba. Jet black hair, skinny as a rail.

Involved in student council, and yet Cuba was not at a peaceful time. The dictator, Batista, was corrupt, he was oppressive. And this teenage boy joins a revolution. He joins a revolution against Batista, he begins fighting with other teenagers to free Cuba from the dictator. This boy at age 17 finds himself thrown in prison, finds himself tortured, beaten. And then at age 18, he flees Cuba, he comes to America.

Imagine for a second the hope that was in his heart as he rode that ferry boat across to Key West, and got on a Greyhound bus to head to Austin, Texas to begin working, washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour, coming to the one land on earth that has welcomed so many millions.

You get the idea.

And then later, this:

Imagine innovation thriving on the Internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay and more and more opportunity is created.

Imagine America finally becoming energy self-sufficient as millions and millions of high-paying jobs are created.

All this imagining gets very labored and tedious–particularly since Cruz takes a detour between his biographical and ideological sections into the late eighteenth century and the Holy Founders charged by God with forever limiting government (a staple of Con-Con revisionist history).

But in a way it’s appropriate, too, since Cruz is the self-designated champion for those who really don’t like America as it is and prefer an imagined version where the Calvin Coolidge administration is the wave of the future. He really, really wants these people to look to him as their first-choice candidate amidst a host of rivals, and he spares no rhetorical expense–and no opportunity cost in terms of appealing to anyone else–to make his pitch.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 23, 2015

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, GOP Presidential Candidates, Ted Cruz | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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