Dana Schwartz vs. the Machine

Recently Dana Schwartz, a Jewish writer for the Observer, wrote a sharp critique of Donald Trump’s pandering to White supremacists and anti-Semites, following his gauche tweet featuring an image of Hillary Clinton with a pile of money and the Star of David — a Jewish symbol — superimposed. After being called out by the mass media and Anti-Defamation League (ADL), rather than admit he had made a mistake, Trump went on the offensive claiming his tweet had nothing to do with Jews and that the media was to blame for dishonestly portraying the meaning of the tweet.

According to the New York Times, though, the image first appeared on a White supremacist website. Trump proceeded to delete the original message with the Star of David and replace it with a circle containing the words originally in the offensive image: “Most corrupt candidate ever!”

From the moment Ms. Schwartz saw that message, she began issuing blistering tweets towards Trump, rightly pointing out its offensiveness as well as Trump’s unwillingness to admit wrongdoing or fault. She concluded, based on that and other behavior, that Trump lacked leadership skills and should not be considered a legitimate presidential candidate. Then the nastiness began.

Anti-Semites on Twitter began coming out of the woodwork and flooding Ms. Schwartz with anti-Semitic insults, mocking her supposed Jewish nose, the Holocaust, and the Jewish people as a whole (as a matter of opinion, she’s cute and smart, but that’s neither here nor there). The very worst of humanity — or rather sub-humanity — reared itself to engage in collective attacks against this writer simply because she correctly pointed out the anti-Semitic subtext within the tweet, which many of the attackers themselves acknowledged.

Adding to the hurt for Ms. Schwartz is that one of her bosses high up in the chain, Jared Kushner, who owns the New York Observer, happens to be Trump’s son-in-law and Jewish, as well as an adviser of his. She has chided him for his silence on the matter, pointing out that, as an employee of his, her letter could be interpreted as insubordination. However, as a matter of principle and in defense of her people from such blatant and overt attacks, she has defied the corporate status quo and taken a stance that could potentially undermine her career at the Observer.

Ms. Schwartz’s situation is a reminder of her vulnerability, in contrast to the belief of many anti-Semites that she (and those like her) is a master string-puller who, using verbal trickery, manipulates society to control or negatively influence it in concert with other Jews. She is left as the recipient of vicious attacks on Twitter while her boss high up in the chain enjoys the political rise of his father-in-law, who is clearly appealing to these anti-Semites who would, if given the chance, strip Ms. Schwartz and even Mr. Kushner of their titles and cart them off to a place they would rather not be. Mr. Kushner, I assume, believes this to be a very low probability outcome, and seemingly believes he has something to gain from this situation given his family ties to Trump. Mr. Kushner is gambling that Trump will keep the situation under control. I believe we’ve been here before in history, with outcomes that were unexpected to all.

In conclusion, Ms. Schwartz is handling this situation nobly and deserves to be commended for following principle over playing politics with her employer. She is an independent thinker who is much-needed in our nation’s media. We all should therefore support her and make sure she is not retaliated against in any way for simply doing her job and defending herself and her people.

Donald Trump’s Anti-Semitic Tweet

Lately Donald Trump has been under fire for a tweet depicting the Star of David and money alongside Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for the White House, suggesting that she is selling herself to those with money of a particular religious group. It was also discovered that the image first appeared on a White supremacist website.

There are all sorts of problems with this situation, which I will attempt to outline. As the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) rightfully pointed out, it is long overdue for Trump to rebuke and distance himself from the White Nationalists and anti-Semites who have become a vocal part of his following. He has clearly pandered to this group of people who, as Noam Chomsky points out, are angry with their lowered economic status as a result of neoliberal policies over the last 30 years. As always, when economic crises arise, demagogues like Trump arise to take advantage of resentments toward vulnerable elements of society that are likely to be scapegoated. This is a repeated historical motif, recurring like clockwork and should have been foreseen much earlier by media pundits.

Trump’s rise should therefore be seen as a symptom of a bigger problem, which is the evisceration of America’s middle class due to economic policies geared to benefiting the billionaires, many of whom have their assets offshore to avoid paying taxes. Furthermore, corporate interests have infiltrated the federal government, thus modifying policies in a manner that betrays the interests of Main Street. The revolving door between Wall Street and Washington D.C. has been duly noted, even in the mainstream media. Ultimately, these policies will hurt the elite class, since they require a strong middle class to buy their goods and services to maintain their lifestyle and power, as well as to prop up an expensive military apparatus. You cannot have a strong military in the long run if you lack tax revenues to pay for it. This is, I believe, why the smart elites are allowing Bernie Sanders to shape the political discourse: they understand that a strong federal government that takes the interests of the middle class seriously can be beneficial to them as well, as has been shown time and again in history.

As for the anti-Semites among Trump’s supporters — they are caught in a contradiction between the belief in their inherent superiority over others and their conspiratorial belief that some other group is in control of their destiny, keeping them from attaining the greatness that is their birthright. They will sometimes deny this belief in their inherent superiority, but it can readily be seen in their lightweight literature, such as Mein Kampf. Intellectually this belief in both their innate superiority and powerlessness simultaneously is incoherent. However, history shows that resentful, incoherent masses can be manipulated by demagogues who give them a feeling of meaning and purpose, and who use their primordial fears of “outsiders” to keep them distracted. This brought enormous devastation to both Germany and especially its Slavic neighbors to the east during and after World War II.

Back to the tweet featuring the Star of David. If in fact the image used originated from a White supremacist website, it proves that Trump is following these people as a gauge for his campaign, feeding off of them to calibrate his message. If there is one talent Trump has been proven to have, amidst doubts by real billionaires over his financial status, it is his ability to manipulate the lowest common denominator in society, and perhaps, if these doubts have some basis, to fool the masses and mainstream media into thinking he has more money and more financial acumen than he actually possesses. He may just be the world’s greatest poseur.

It’s a sad state of affairs that the next presidential election will feature two highly unpopular candidates, one under investigation for allegedly jeopardizing national security and the other who feeds off of the ignorance and resentments of others. It’s a matter of picking the lesser poison. Whatever the faults of Hillary, I will not and cannot vote for Trump. I’ll take the shady candidate over the shady buffoon who presents a clear danger to millions of American citizens.

Analysis: Donald Trump’s Twitter Followers Are Fake

As I have become a big fan of social media lately and discovered a website that provides an analytical breakdown of Twitter accounts, I was pleasantly surprised to find this morning that I had a score of 7 out of 10, suggesting my followers are real and engaged. I then, out of curiosity, decided to check Donald Trump’s score and was shocked to find it to be a measly 1.79, suggesting most of his 8.6 million Twitter followers are bots or inactive accounts.

Here is a screenshot for proof:

Twopcharts proves Trump has fake Twitter followers.

The website I’m talking about is Twopcharts, which provides all sorts of feedback on individual accounts to allow users to determine the quality of these accounts. As part of its analysis, a random sample of 100 of the last 5,000 of his followers was taken to derive the score of 1.79. I have done other analyses giving similar numbers yesterday.

Here is the distribution of Trump’s followers:

Donald Trump's fake Twitter followers.

According to the analysis, up to 59 percent of his followers are fake or spam, and up to 82 percent are fake, spam, inactive, or not engaged. This means Trump is being given much more credit than what is due by the mass media regarding his supposed social media savvy. It also shows that, contrary to his pitch, he isn’t quite the authentic candidate he’d like others to believe.

To be fair, any major presidential candidate is likely to become a magnet for bots and spam accounts, but the paltry score of 1.79 is still mind-boggling given the attention the mainstream media gives to his Twitter activity.

For comparison, Bernie Sanders, while still low at 3.53, seems to rate considerably higher than Trump, suggesting that, in some way, he is more authentic than Trump and his message resonates more with the American people, or at least those who use Twitter, which I imagine to be a better-educated group than average, due to the skill involved in effectively using the social tool.

[Update: Sanders’ numbers on his other account appear to be similar to Trump’s according to tests I have done, though the point still stands that most of Trump’s followers are fake, contrary to claims made by the mainstream media. He’s gotten far more attention over his Twitter activity than other candidates.]

Here is the analysis of Sanders for comparison:

Senator Sanders has a respectable Twitter score.

Here is the analysis of my followers:

EthicsVictory fights Kent Security of Miami with a high Twopcharts score.

My high score of 7.10 simply underscores that Twitter is a very effective tool for political and social justice activists, with plenty of real, engaged potential followers.

If you agree with me that Trump should be called out for his fake Twitter followers, spread this article around and let others know about it.

Noam Chomsky on the Bernie Sanders Phenomenon

Noam Chomsky had some interesting things to say about the Bernie Sanders phenomenon, calling Sanders a “decent, honest person.” In the clip from Democracy Now, he points out that the policies pushed by Sanders are supported by a majority of Americans, and that President Eisenhower would not have been surprised by his views. He says today’s Democrats are the moderate Republicans of the past. He thus believes the characterization of Sanders as a “radical” or “extremist” is erroneous.