Someone please tell the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington , D.C., that he is not an Emperor. He can not decree or demand that things be done to his liking simply because he wants them. Or, in his case, simply “tweet” out his demands. It’s time to tell him “he has no clothes” when he refuses to recognize that any power he has comes from the citizens of this democratic republic. No number of petulant tweets can supersede that!
On Sunday, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter: “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for political purposes – any of any such demands or request were made by people within the Obama administration.
FYI, former President Barack Obama wrote a piece in the Harvard Law Review last year in which he stated: “The president does not and should not decide who or what to investigate or prosecute or when an investigation or prosecution should happen.” Good advice, I think.
P.S. Happy Memorial Day. Enjoy the holiday. Back on Wednesday, May 30.
I (Cecilia Kang) feel like everyone is hunched over their phones in Washington even more than other places. This is a news-obsessed town that is texting and e-mailing at all hours. There seems to be a bit of a generational divide on the use of communications apps. Younger staffers on Capitol Hill often use encrypted apps and direct messages on Twitter. But even some of my older sources (my peers, really) can sometimes text me at all hours. It feels totally appropriate to call, text or Signal late at night or on weekends. Many an interview is done with children heard in the background at a park.
The whole attitude toward the tech industry has changed in Washington, with every growing calls for privacy regulation and antitrust enforcement of giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The biggest stories coming up will be the lawsuits to restore net neutrality, which should begin late this summer. The Trump administration and the F.C.C. have focused on the race for the 5G networks and have acted to thwart competition from China, citing national security concerns. And privacy is the big wild card. Even if stricter privacy rules aren’t introduced in the United States, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation set to take effect next month will most likely spill over in some way into American policy.
Faster is better?
Bombastic, attention-grabbing inorganic noises are becoming the norm. No, I am not talking about the political debates in Washington, D.C. I am talking about the cacophony produced by today’s technology gadgets and “personal assistants” that everyone seems to have. We are now sufficiently habituated to these sound effects that their presence on TV shows is no longer a novelty; it is stranger to hear a landline ring in a contemporary show than to hear the default iPhone marimba beat.
Many digital sound effects, such as the camera shutter can be classified as “skeuo-morphs,” or imitation objects that unnecessarily use ornamental design features of the originals (such as false stitching on pleather seats). Their ubiquity suggests a postmodern aural backdrop in which the artificial is increasingly replacing the real. For people who grew up hearing only the real sounds, the new distinctions are likely clearer. “Someone who’s 80 and someone who’s 12 are going to have different responses to a sound (Mason, Oberlin University).”
Do you hear what I hear?
Maybe a better title for this post would be: “Technology Companies are Now Biggest Spenders in Lobbying Congress.” It just all seems to make sense when you consider how wealthy all these companies have become, i.e., Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, etc. “These are companies that are touching so many parts of the economy . . . So it’s inevitable that they are going to engage in a host of political and policy issues (Washington Post, 1/24/18).”
Amazon, for example, spent nearly $13 million in lobbying last year, a 16 percent increase from 2016. The tech industry’s ballooning lobbying budgets may also be an indication that the companies will fight hard to protect the data they collect on Americans. Some experts now worry that the government will struggle to pass new and meaningful consumer protection laws. Others say that the increase in lobbying simply coincides with the tech sector’s rapid growth and larger role in society. Any way you look at it, the tech industry is now the biggest lobbying machine in Washington.
I just worry about whose lobbying for the technology consumers?
I will be taking a “winter break” next week. Back on Monday, February 5th
Last Saturday in Washington, D.C. (and in more than 600 cities worldwide) Bill. Nye, the Science Guy, was one of the Leaders of the nationally-organized March for Science (technology a strong enabler). He addressed the crowds this way: “Greetings, fellow citizens. We are marching today to remind people everywhere, our lawmakers especially, of the significance of science for our health and prosperity.” Meanwhile in the White House, a few hundred yards away, “so-called President” Trump was putting the finishing touches on a one-page news bulletin detailing the tax benefits and major reductions for the wealthiest Americans in his new plan. I don’t think he was as concerned about insuring continued scientific progress that would advance Americans’ “health and prosperity.” To the contrary, he was still working on how to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Trump would have us all believe that our planet is NOT environmentally endangered. Unfortunately, he is also being supported by a rise of anti-scientific notions – the anti-vaccination movement and climate-change denial in particular. Nye argues that “When you become scientifically literate, I claim, you become an environmentalist. Somewhere along the way, there has developed this idea that if you believe something hard enough, it’s as true as things discovered through the process of science. And I will say that’s objectively wrong.”
Thank you, Bill Nye. May we all “Live long and prosper!” 🖖
I guess job interviews are not what they used to be. In the age of Trump, it seems that potential employers are more preoccupied with checking news, “important messages,” tweeting, etc., than really focusing on job candidates who are interested in making a favorable impression. Or maybe it really works both ways? Do you really want to work for someone who is too preoccupied with their own online messaging than finding out more about candidates who might be selected as Cabinet appointees in his administration. Let’s just say I think that we now have a “so-called President” who is more interested in letting us know all about his opinions on everything than really focusing on the politics of governing.
My humble political advice is that not everyone really cares what “Trump thinks” about everything. Welcome to Washington! Everyone wants to make a name for themselves, or even a bigger name of they are a President. But our current White House occupant obviously feels that what he has to say (or tweet) is the most important of all. And he feels it can all be said in 140 characters or less. What an absurd and simplistic notion – “I tweet, therefore I am.” Can someone please call a halt to this obsessive behavior before we fall into some catastrophic conflict with another world “tweeter.”
Please don’t get me wrong. I am really a fan of social media, but it must be used responsibly, as we all have probably been told many times over our lifetimes about many things. Even if you live in the White House (when you are not in Mar-a-Lago)