Were US Press Orgs Banned from a White House Briefing? NO. Here’s Why.

Making the rounds today seems to be the idea that certain organizations of the press have been “barred” from attending a briefing at the White House. Here are a few sample headlines I saw today:

CNN and Other Media Outlets Blocked From White House Gaggle (Mediaite.com)
White House blocks news organizations from press briefing (CNN)
White House blocks CNN, BBC, New York Times, LA Times from media briefing (The Independent, UK)
CNN, New York Times, other media barred from White House briefing (The Washington Post)
The White House Has Officially Blocked Some News Organizations From A Press Briefing (Bustle.com)

I want to make clear that I am not a Trump supporter. No portion of the Trump campaign appealed to me, and I was in a complete state of disbelief when the results came in from the general election, and still had a shred of hope it might not happen before the electoral college confirmed it. I’m still in a whirlwind of slow realization (a slow whirlwind? yes) that Trump’s presidency is actually real.

However, this story has been spun pretty much hardcore right from the beginning.

Could there, in fact, actually be a way to explain this, that isn’t outrageous?

Yes.

1. According to this interview by CNN almost immediately after it happened, the reporter herself who was supposedly snubbed, described how the so-called blocking actually took place, quote:

We lined up. We were told there was a list ahead of time, which is sort-of abnormal, but we put our name on the list and when we went to enter, I was blocked by white house staffer who said we were not on the list for this gaggle today.

So, the press wasn’t banned from entering, necessarily, but just that by name the people prevented from entering weren’t on the list to enter. A greater context of the list hasn’t been presented in a clearer way that I’ve been able to tell, so basically all of the reports of being banned or barred are purely superficial interpretations about the nature of the list. Until we can get a better look at the list or the motive behind the list, then only we can just speculate before any reasonable conclusions could be drawn.

2. According to the Associated Press here, the limited pool was selected from people who distribute to the larger media pool.

Considering the entire audio of the briefing is available to listen to in its entirety, freely, (here), is a testament toward that fact — the smaller reporting pool did, in fact, report to the larger pool. The smaller pool was all that was necessary. The big whiners who didn’t get let in didn’t need to be in, because the distribution of the audio is plainly available to everyone, so whether the people who stamp their feet in for not getting in doesn’t matter because the pool that did get in did what it was supposed to do.

3. Only at the very last second, seemingly when people are shuffling around and getting up to leave, a woman asks whether the seeming selectivity of who could attend might be interpreted as favoritism, Sean Spicer (who is the White House Press Secretary, who held the briefing), made a joke saying, “You’re my favorite,” in the middle of the question, and the people in the room laughed at it. The question itself wasn’t scathing, and the mood seemed out of curiosity and not harshly accusatory, unlike how all of the articles about the slight were interpreted well after the fact.

4. There is a *great* interview conducted by CNN (here) with Ari Fleisher, who was the press secretary for George Jr back in the day. Ari essentially says No, no, you’re blowing this all way out of proportion, and that past white-houses had done this kind of thing all the time.

Master List of America First Country Response Videos

On January 23, 2017, in light of Trump’s US presidential inauguration, a comedy news-satire show (think The Daily Show in the US) in the Netherlands called Zondag met Lubach created a satire clip that introduced Trump to their country. Several other countries have also followed with their own version. This master-list attempts to collect all of those country-introduction videos onto a single page =) All of these are understood to be parody, and not “official” of any kind. Also included are amateur versions, so quality may vary greatly.

The original:

The Netherlands Welcomes Trump in his own words:

The others (all YouTube links if possible, and in no particular order):
Italy Second – Reaction to Trump’s America First
America First, Australia Second/ Australia Welcomes Trump In His Own Words (Official)
FINLAND WELCOMES TRUMP – AMERICA FIRST, FINLAND SECOND! (OFFICIAL)
Sweden Welcomes Trump In His Own Words – America First, Sweden Second [Un-Official]
America First, New Zealand Second
America First, Nigeria Second / Nigeria presents itself to Donald Trump as second priority
AMERICA FIRST, POLAND FIRSTER!(official) – REKLAMA POLSKI
America First … but what about Iran? #everysecondcounts
America first, Czech Republic FIFTY FIRST! (official)
Croatia Second (official) – ŠarićMarekovićTomacProduction
Morocco Second (Official)
America first, BOSNIA second #EverySecondCounts
Luxembourg Second (Official) | Studio Ben
China welcomes Trump in his own words. #everysecondcounts
America first, MACEDONIA second – #EverySecondCounts
America first, PAKISTAN third #EverySecondCounts
America first… Slovenia second (OFFICIAL)
America first – Austria second official (mit Untertitel) Willkommen Österreich
KAZAKHSTAN SECOND (official) America First | Response to the Netherlands
Lithuania welcomes Trump | Laikykitės ten su Andriumi Tapinu
Spain Second (Official)
4Litro – America first Madeira island second
Germany second | NEO MAGAZIN ROYALE mit Jan Böhmermann – ZDFneo
Switzerland Second (official) | DEVILLE LATE-NIGHT #everysecondcounts
Denmark second | Denmark Trumps The Netherlands at being no. 2
Portugal Second – 5 Para a Meia-Noite – RTP
Belgium welcomes Trump in his own words
Bulgaria second (Official) | България втора Gospodari.com
America first Fryslân second
America first , Slovakia second
America First & Romania Second or at Least Top 100 Please (OFFICIAL)
AMERICA FIRST, MOLDOVA SECOND (hand)
America First, Singapore Second (Official) – Welcoming Trump In His Own Words
America First /NAMIBIA FIRST (NOT SECOND) | Response to the Netherlands Trump welcome video
America First, India Second, Response to Netherlands video #Everysecondcounts #AmericaFirst
America first, North Korea second
America First, Ireland Second.
Israel Second (Official) | Israel Trumps Europe at being no. 2
America First, Iceland Second
America first, Mexico Second #EverySecondCounts (Oficial)
America First, AZORES Second…
FRANCE SECOND, AMERICA FIRST (OFFICIAL)
Ostfriesland Second (official) – America First Comedy

Others:
America First, Mordor Second
America first, Mars second! (EverySecondCounts)
America First, Hogwarts Second!
America First – Muslim World Second
America first – Bremen second // Bremen NEXT
Baden-Württemberg SECOND / AMERICA first (Parodie)
America First – Bavaria Second!
Make Kampen Greater – America & Kampen first (not second)
Cologne Second (Official) / Immisitzung
America First – Swabia Second! (?) 😉
Zürcher Oberland Second (official) – America First Comedy

Did I miss any? Please post in comments, and I’ll add it to the list. Also, if you can find a “more official” post than the video posted above (in case the one posted is a copy-cat), please share the actual original post for it =)

Did a Football Player Really Check/Tackle Trump? NO. Here’s Why.

Flying about the internets is an animated GIF of what appears to be a big football player in football gear “check” (ram into someone and knock them over) Donald Trump after exiting a tour bus, so that he falls backwards onto the bus.

Actually, it is an edited clip from a commercial for Terry Tate, which you can find below in full. Terry Tate is a character from a series of short comedy commercials called, “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker” created by Rawson Marshall Thurber. The first commercial was shown during the 2003 Superbowl, and several others were produced thereafter. The character was brought out of ‘retirement’ to make a commercial to encourage voting in the 2016 US election, shown below in its entirety (or linked directly here).

TW: The dialogue of the actual commercial below includes Trumps infamous “grab them” audio.

Did 4-Star Gen Petraeus Resign Over Classified Emails? NO. Here’s Why.

Making the rounds in my circles is a seeming disconnect between how Hillary Clinton’s classified-email scandal goes unchecked, while Four-star general of the United States David Petraeus is forced to resign due to leaking classified details in email:


(direct link)

Compare and Contrast

This is General Petraeus. Take a moment and consider his outstanding array of honors, medals & accomplishments. His crime? A classified email that was supposedly leaked. Result? He was prosecuted and forced to RESIGN.

Now consider Hillary Clinton. A Secretary of State with her own illegal private server, 30,000 + emails, (erased) with numerous CLASSIFIED Top Secret & beyond! Result? Yet to be determined. After all she’s a Democrat & just happens to be running for President of the United States..

Firstly, Patreus retired from the US military in 2011 as a 4-star General. The controversy that this meme attempts to reference is actually after that retirement, when Petraeus was the CIA director, and is actually concerning an extramarital affair Petraeus had with the writer of his biography, to whom he leaked a classified detail (and subsequently plead to 1 count of misdemeanor mishandling of classified information, without a plea deal). The affair itself is the reason Petraeus resigned from the CIA director position, not the mishandling of the information. Email was involved in the affair, but no source I can find suggests the classified information was transmitted via email — but rather, the racy nature of the correspondence was the issue.

A consideration of being demoted of his retirement-rank was passed along to authorities, but were ignored, and no such demotion or loss of awards/honors thereof were made.

Student Debt Solution: Govt EDU Bank Bonds, At-Cost to Student

In a Facebook discussion about student debt forgiveness, I wondered if, instead of the US government just forgiving debt of student loans, and instead of the students just getting out of paying their loans, and instead of banks getting absurd profits from students, what if the government issued a special kind of education bond, payable to the bank at the end of the borrowed-sum repayment?

1. Student applies for ‘education bond’ to pay for college and with enrollment proof/etc.

2. Bank pays the money required for college to the college, and files the borrowed-amount sum to the government.

3. Student pays bank only the borrowed-sum amount, no interest, gradually to actual borrowed total.

4. Student files with government that borrowed total is completely paid. Student and bank could perhaps get tax incentive for being in a education-bond contract.

5. Bank receives government request for acknowledgement that loan is paid.

6. Bank agrees, and government gives bank the bond amount’s interest (interest only, not borrowed sum) contingent that loan requirements are ended.

Funding for the interest-only payment from government to bank could come from programs like state lotteries, or continuation of the student tax incentives from Step 4 by the student paying back the government via itemized deductions.

Colleges could be taxed or penalized for not offering/accepting the bonds, or given tax-incentives for fundraising for the program via fraternity/sorority volunteering (with a nationwide competition for fundraising for the program) that could draw huge publicity to the college.

Could help create a new educational sector of banking jobs that focus only on these bonds, as safer investment opportunity for investors.

Other brainstorming ideas, or variations? Please add in the comments below (no registration required) =)

Eugenia Cooney: Does She Need Help? No. She Has Enough Help.

I am a fan of Eugenia Cooney, and I don’t think she needs any advice to seek medical treatment — she has no shortage of it; why add more?

Everyone and their cousin, who got their medical degrees from a crackerjack box, have advised Eugenia to seek medical treatment for everything under the sun, usually anorexia. Every instagram post she makes nowadays is often loaded down with “eat a hamburger” or “get treatment” kinds of advice.

She has plenty of people, who have a license to practice instagram medicine, telling her she needs help. What she does not need, for certain, is another such person to chime in with such advice.

At this point, as best as can be told, she’s fine. She states repeatedly on YouNow that she’s fine, and as far as I’m concerned, she fine. In fact, here is a ten-minute audio supercut I made of one of her YouNow broadcasts, in which she answers questions concerning her health. If you don’t think she’s fine, what are you going to do? Oh surely, she’ll listen to you. Because it’s your advice everyone’s been waiting on. How many people does it take, repeating the same tired, unoriginal, mantra to seek help, before someone seeks it — when there is not even a problem?

Here’s the breakdown of my position:
1. If there’s something really wrong, she doesn’t owe it to us to tell us, because your own health is your business and nobody else’s. There’s a reason medical records are sealed documents that require signature authorization to access — it’s private. If she wants to keep anything private, she’s not covering it up, because it’s supposed to be covered up. It’s none of our business. The uncovering of it is what is not supposed to happen — by law!

2. To say that she needs help, to me, is to assume that she does not have an untreatable condition. On the off-chance that she may have a terminal illness for which there is no help, and for which her appearance is normal within that context, reminding her to seek help could actually continually remind her of the help she could not actually get. If it’s genetic, then there’s not really much that could be done. Take for example another YouTuber named Lizzie Velasquez, who is a motivational speaker and anti-bullying activist who has had to defend herself for much of her life about her condition — a condition which inhibits accumulation of body mass.

For all we know, Eugenia may have something similar, or some other terminal condition for which there is no known treatment, and she could be living out her days pursuing her dream of being a YouTube star.. but those telling her to get help are getting lost in the mix of haters telling her to go eat a hamburger. Again, whether she wishes to tell us about any health condition, is up to her, but so far, she insists she’s fine, and that’s good enough for me. If there even is something, whatever. If there’s not something, whatever.

3. Calling her beautiful does not reinforce an eating disorder (if there even is one), because (a) she’s an adult and not some kid who doesn’t know any better, and (b) the words of the speaker mean what the speaker means. To say that calling her beautiful is harmful, is taking the side of the creeps who says the way a woman must surely be advertising the oldest profession by the way a woman dresses. Whether a woman wears a certain kind of shirt because she wants to show off her assets, or because it’s hot outside, is her interpretation alone to make. If you shout NO to an assailant, is the assailant allowed to interpret it how they wish? If no means no, then my “beautiful” is not harmful.

4. She does see doctors. Just before her trip to LA from the northeast, she had an injury to a finger and it was in a splint for a few videos. She goes to doctors. She does seek treatment for things. You know good and well that any doctor worth the TP their degree is printed on would have brought it up. Doctors take into context all kinds of bodily issues that could affect one small injury, and address those things in the treatment of the one thing you’re there to see them for. And if any those doctors fail her, surely she can turn to the teeming swarms of iPhone warriors ready to dish out a diagnosis. Maybe the reason she’s even in LA is because there is a specialist there.

Regardless of her reasoning, Eugenia owes it to zero persons to explain anything about her health. I’m a fan. If she suddenly swells up like Marjorie Dursley from Harry Potter and floats up into the sky, I’m still a fan. It’s who she is, how she handles adversity, her general spirit and approach to life that I find beautiful, and that’s what I mean by it. If she tells us later on that she did have an ED, then my words still mean the same thing. But as far as I’m concerned, if she says she’s fine, then she’s fine, and that’s all there is to it.