Tag Archives: social media

Social media get him again

Donald J. “Racist in Chief” Trump managed to step into a pile of dog doo yet again, tried to yank it out of the stinking pile, but it was too late … I venture to say.

Trump thought it would be clever to retweet a video of a supporter of his yelling “white power!”

Then he pulled it down. Deleted it as if it never happened.

As the saying goes, oops. I am not the first one to tell Trump this, but it happened. It’s out there. That makes social media as much of a curse as it is a blessing. You cannot unhonk the ol’ horn, Mr. POTUS.

Trump and his Trumpkin Corps say he didn’t see the video. He doesn’t know the guy. If it’s true that he didn’t see it, then how does it go out on his Twitter feed where it is seen by his millions of followers?

I ain’t buying it.

Wait for the whining about Facebook ‘censorship’

Facebook has done the absolutely correct thing by pulling down a Donald Trump re-election campaign ad that displays a symbol used by Nazis to designate political prisoners.

I cannot wait for the yammering, whining and whimpering to start now from the Trump team, complaining that Facebook is being “politically correct.”

The symbol is a red inverted triangle the Nazis would use to identify individuals bound for, um, death camps and other forms of political imprisonment. Indeed, it is reprehensible in the extreme for such symbols to show up anywhere these days, let alone coming from a campaign for a president of the United States seeking re-election.

As the Washington Post reported: A red inverted triangle was first used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and other members of opposition parties. The badge forced on Jewish political prisoners, by contrast, featured a yellow triangle overlaid by a red triangle.

What in the name of common decency is the Trump team trying to convey?

They either are ignorant, arrogant or simply stupid.

Hey, I’ll go with all of the above.

Trump has decided to go after antifa, the loosely based collection of protesters often identified with far-left movements. Indeed, the word “antifa” is shorthand for “anti-fascist,” which is precisely the kind of movement that this modern-day group would oppose … and which was the focal point of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.

Facebook acted correctly.

As for the ad it took down, well, it speaks volumes about Donald John Trump.

Has this medium gotten too ‘negative’? Perhaps, but I’m staying with it

A Facebook acquaintance announced the other day he is taking a break from the social medium.

It’s gotten too negative he says. He is tired of the negativity, so he’s bowing out. Maybe he’ll come back. I know this fellow a bit, although not well. We have a friendly relationship, so I’ll miss his occasional postings.

Am I going to follow suit? Hah! Not even …

I use Facebook — along with other social media — as a vehicle to peddle my blog, which I call High Plains Blogger. I write my blog posts, then send them out along my Facebook network of “friends” and actual friends. Yeah, a lot of my blog posts are political in nature. Yes, too, they contain “negative” content; that’s the nature of politics.

However, I choose to avoid getting too worked up in exchanges with those who disagree with my political musings. I express my thoughts and those musings stand as my comment. If someone wants to disagree with them, that is their call. It is my call as well to let them have their say, given that I already have had my say on issues of the day.

I have been tempted at times to bow out, to step away from Facebook. I enjoy the platform on a personal level as well. I am able to stay current with people I have met along my life’s journey. Some of my several hundred Facebook network members are actual friends. A few of them are really dear friends, folks I have known for a long time or individuals with whom I have forged unique relationships.

There are a number of these individuals who disagree with my political leaning. They express their disagreements on Facebook. Fine. Go for it. I let ’em vent and generally stay silent. What might spur a response would be if they question (a) my faith or (b) my love of country. Neither line of commentary will not stand.

I am going to stay with it. I respect my Facebook acquaintance’s decision to step away. It’s just not for me.

What will happen post-Trump?

A critic of High Plains Blogger posed a question to me that I feel compelled to answer with this post.

This critic, a dedicated Donald Trump devotee, wanted to know what I would write about were it not for The Donald’s presence on the national scene. I reminded him that I have written on plenty of non-Trump topics during the past four years. I presume he’s like a lot of us who focus on the things with which we disagree most fervently, causing us to narrow our vision dramatically.

Here is the truth, though, about the future of this blog post-Donald Trump. I am looking forward to weaning myself of Trump-related matters. Whether it’s after this upcoming election (please, please … I hope that’s the case) or after the next one in 2024, I am excited at the prospect of looking beyond the wreckage that this individual has brought to the political stage.

That’s my hope. However, I do have this fear. It is that Donald Trump, as a former president of the United States, is still going to command a lot of attention. He will continue to have his social media access, namely Twitter. I fear, therefore, that Donald Trump is not going to fade away quietly into some sort of post-presidential hibernation the way every one of his predecessors has done.

Surely, some have done so more notably than others. Perhaps the biggest post-presidential tragedy occurred after Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. He retired to California, would emerge on occasion to make a speech, such as when he famously spoke to the 1992 Republican convention in Houston. Then in November 1994, not even six years after leaving the White House, he told the world of his affliction from Alzheimer’s disease. President Reagan bid us farewell … and we never heard from him again.

Donald Trump’s penchant for hogging the limelight won’t allow him to go away quietly. The good news for yours truly, though, is that as a former president he will become decidedly less relevant on matters that count. He will be unable to set policy or issue executive orders. He’ll just be one of the rest of us, using social media to blather on this and/or that subject.

I intend to focus this blog — as I declare in my profile — on issues relating to “politics, public policy and life experience.” Where any of this concerns Donald Trump likely will entail what his successor does to repair the damage Trump inflicted on the presidency.

Wounded by maximum division in Age of Trump

I want to declare myself a casualty in the ongoing “war” between friends who share opposing views of Donald John Trump.

A fellow I have known for more than 30 years has inflicted the wound. It’s not mortal. I will survive and I will proceed with the rest of my life. However, I want to share with you the pain — albeit momentary — I am feeling over the emotional injury I have suffered.

We were connected on Facebook. My longtime friend and I would “converse” on occasion via that social medium. He and I would exchange in small talk, inquire our families and refer occasionally to the good old days when we worked together.

He is a Donald Trump supporter. I … am not! He would challenge my anti-Trump tirades. I might respond. Not always, mind you, but I did on occasion.

My friend — and I’ll continue to refer to him as such — once told me that his wife couldn’t grasp how he and I could retain a friendship given our vast political differences. He said he told her that our friendship transcended politics. Wow! How cool. Right?

Well, it seems that he has had enough of our friendship. I hadn’t heard from him in some time, so I checked on the status of our Facebook relationship. I discovered that he and I were no longer “friends” on the social medium.

What the … ?

I haven’t inquired directly of him. I haven’t asked him why he “unfriended” me. I haven’t asked for an explanation. I am trying to decide what to do. Right now I am licking my wound.

I am left to ponder the effect that Donald Trump has had on friendships all over the country. Surely my example is not the only one. Others’ relationships no doubt have suffered in this Age of Trump. We are witnessing in this fractious time the impact that social media coupled with the toxic political environment fostered by Donald Trump is having on interpersonal relationships.

It looks unprecedented to my eyes. My entry into politics occurred in the early 1970s. I came home from the Army. I enrolled in college. I became politically active. I fought like hell to elect George McGovern president in 1972. It, um, didn’t work out. However, those dark days didn’t produce lasting damage to my friendships with those who opposed Sen. McGovern’s effort to become elected president.

This time it’s different. Shockingly so!

I’ll get over the injury I have suffered. Eventually. I’ll just need to redouble my effort to make sure we remove Donald Trump from the high office he never should have inherited in the first place. His presence on the political stage is dangerous to our emotional health.

He also is inflicting damage on too many friendships.

Fact-checking doesn’t suppress political speech

Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump has issued an executive order that seeks to strike back at social media outlets that seek to do the responsible thing.

They want to fact-check the idiocy — the lying idiocy at that — that pours forth from Trump’s Twitter account.

Trump thinks he is being stifled, stymied, censored. Twitter has announced it intends to issue fact-check warnings on Trump’s messages, given that he, um, is prone to lie through his teeth.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, said today that social media shouldn’t apply fact checking on political speech. I disagree with the young zillionaire. Fact checking does not stifle political speech. It doesn’t water down the First Amendment that guarantees free speech.

Now that I have mentioned the First Amendment, I need to remind everyone what it says. It declares that Congress shall make no law that inhibits free speech, freedom of religion and freedom to protest the government. It does not mean that someone can spew lies without them being challenged.

Therefore, Twitter is doing what it deems necessary to warn readers of Trump’s tweets that they are not getting the truth from the president of the United States.

Trump is fighting back. He shouldn’t win this fight.

Yes, Donald Trump has 80 million Twitter followers. I am one of them! I get a laugh out of reading his messages, which he says are an attempt for him to avoid the “media middle man.” He wants to talk directly to Americans using Twitter.

I get that. I have no problem with that noble goal.

Except that Trump debases it by lying, with his bullying, by using Twitter to defame others and to spread debunked rumors.

The cure for Twitter taking the watchdog approach is straightforward and oh, so simple: Quit your damn lying!

Campaigning via Twitter? Sweet!

We are witnessing the birth of a new style of presidential campaigning. OK, it’s not entirely a brand new thing, but it’s taking on a life of its own.

The world is being treated to a presidential campaign conducted via Twitter. The antagonists? Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

For those of us who came of political age in an earlier — and decidely more quaint — era, this is a strange evolution to watch. However, I am learning to get used to it.

Donald Trump has perfected the Twitter gambit. It has become something of an art form with this guy. He has an 80-million follower crowd, many of whom hang on his every word. I admit to following Trump on this medium, but it’s primarily a way to keep this guy in front of me at all times. Better to keep the bad guys visible than to have them lurking unseen or unheard in the shadows.

He blathers, bellows and bloviates via Twitter constantly. He most recently has taken to the medium to fire back at criticism of his golf outings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He accuses Biden of having a poor work ethic while serving as vice president in the Barack Obama administration.

Biden has fired back. He said, also via Twitter, that Trump should concentrate on the pandemic rather than firing off tweets aboard his golf cart.

So it will go until the end of this presidential campaign … and likely far into the future of presidential campaigns. It’s a new age.

It’s getting too cruel, folks

Your friendly blogger — that would be me — believes it is time to level a complaint against a popular social medium … or more to the point, against the way some of my “friends” are using it.

I’ve given it away. I’m talking about Facebook.

In this Age of Donald Trump, I discovered long ago that many of his followers/cultists are using Facebook to launch attacks of amazing cruelty against those with whom they disagree. They get their cue from the Big Man his own self.

This is the guy who has mocked the physical appearance of his political foes and women who have accused him of sexual misbehavior; he has mocked a New York Times reporter’s physical challenges; he has denigrated the accent of his Alabama-born former attorney general. Accordingly, the Trumpsters out there have followed Trump’s lead and have sullied Facebook with hideous photos of those who have opposed the man who masquerades as the president of the United States.

I need to make a couple of points.

First, I have a number of Facebook “friends” who actually are friends of mine who fall into that category of Trump cultist. I even have some members of my family, individuals I love because they are family even though we disagree politically.

I have put some of them on notice, though, that if I see any future Facebook posts that trade on gratuitous cruelty, I will (a) delete the post from my news fee and (b) sever our Facebook connection.

I do not mind political disagreements in the least. I spent the vast bulk of my professional life dishing out opinions on newspaper editorial pages and taking plenty of heat and grief from those who disagree with what I had to say.

I damn sure do mind cruelty. I have sought to refrain from referencing a few of Donald Trump’s physical traits that have drawn barbs from others. I will disagree mightily with what Trump says and does, but I will not poke fun at matters that have nothing to do with public policy.

My second point is that fairness should require me to demand the same of anti-Trump individuals who post these social media messages and images that denigrate the president. Full disclosure: My bias gets in the way of fairness … and I regret that. My goal now is to look more critically at the hideous images that come to my Facebook feed.

I need to remind myself that I am better than the target of these attacks … even though he brings all of it onto himself.

In need of a respite from this madness

I am in desperate need of a respite, a break, a breather from the madness that has overtaken Planet Earth.

We’re caught up in this pandemic crisis. The coronavirus is killing thousands of human beings each day now. We hear glimmers of good news: the death rate is slowing in Italy, as are the new cases of infection; China is reporting no new cases; same with South Korea.

Here, though, in the U.S. of A., our infection rate is still accelerating. So is our death rate.

All in all, the media are doing a stellar job of reporting it to us. We’re being kept informed. I want to stay informed. I need to know whether my family is safe from this disease and I am relying on the media to tell me.

That all said, I need some relief from what is inundating us.

The Internet keeps me plugged in 24/7. I’m fine with that. I can turn it on — or off — as the spirits move me.

At this moment, the spirits are telling me to turn it off for a while.

Heaven knows the president of the United States, the fellow elected to lead us through crises such as this, isn’t doing his job. He’s blathering, spitting out lies and half-truths while expecting us to ignore their obvious fakery. Maybe that’s the source of my need for a break. I cannot listen to him.

So, I’m going to take a break. I don’t know how long it’ll last. Probably not long. I could return damn near any minute after I post this item. It’s a combination of what I call “pandemic fatigue” and profound disgust at the lies I keep hearing from Donald Trump.

For now … I’m out. See you on the other side.

Still ‘no!’ on last-word duels

Four years ago I posted an item that talked briefly about my reluctance to engage readers of this blog or other social media acquaintances in a battle of wits.

I wrote: I’m leaning against a possible Last Word Contest with those along my social media network who suffer from the last-word addiction. My sense is that they have more staying power than I do when they engage others — such as me — in these idea exchanges, which is why they’re addicted … and I’m not.

Then again, I could change my mind. I’ll keep y’all posted.

Well, I haven’t changed my mind. My reluctance to engage in such repartee remains as staunch as ever.

I’ll have to admit to something in that regard: I am not smart enough or witty enough or my mind isn’t as facile as others who can’t get enough of this kind of back/forth.

High Plains Blogger allows me to vent. It provides me a forum to express my views on a whole array of issues. It also allows me to talk about matters some might consider trivial; the Puppy Tales series about our beloved pooch Toby, to cite one example. Hey, it’s my blog and I can write whatever I feel like writing. Got it? Good!

As for the last-worditis that afflicts some folks, I know who they are. They know who they are. One of them who sadly recently passed away used to acknowledge my reluctance to engage him in a discussion. I wouldn’t answer his acknowledgement, which I suppose is my way of staying faithful to the personal pledge I made to avoid that kind of (what I consider to be) nonsense.

Part of my increased reluctance has been the intensely personal nature of the volleys that participants fire at each other. One of the goals I have managed to meet with this blog is that I do not launch ad hominem attacks at individuals simply because they disagree with whatever flies off my keyboard and into cyberspace. Consequently, with only very few exceptions, critics of this blog have been relatively high-minded in their responses, although some of their critics have accused them of taking cheap shots.

That’s when it gets nasty. And personal. I watch these rhetorical fire fights from a distance and experience what I only can describe as a sort of out-of-body episode.

But this blog will trudge on. I am proud of it. I enjoy it beyond measure. It gives me relief … even if some folks want to goad me into a battle of wits.

Sorry. You’re outta luck.