A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets – from On the Media.”

On the Media is “WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our world view. Veteran journalists Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield give you the tools to survive the media maelstrom.”

A recent segment intriguingly addresses the PEOTUS’ twitter-storm, and how the media should appropriately respond.

As we all know, Donald Trump’s tweets have become a potent force in our new era. On the one hand, a single tweet can cripple opponents, activate supporters, move markets, and subsume the news cycle. On the other, they’re a window into Trump’s wee-hours, unfiltered id. But when his tweets are full of half-truths, distortions, and often bold-faced lies, should journalists treat them as normal presidential utterances, or something else? Cognitive linguist George Lakoff believes that the press must understand how Trump uses language if we’re to responsibly report on his tweets, not just magnify their misinformation. He talks with Brooke about the categories he’s come up with for thinking about Trump tweets.

A summary of the categories:

  1. Preemptive Re-framing – Trump’s tweet stated, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” This was rated “Pants on Fire” by Politifact, but it effectively re-frames the popular vote in the minds of those who see the tweet, thus distorting the facts in the public arena.
  2. The Diversion Tweet – This kind of tweet is akin to the magician’s misdirectional “nothing up my sleeve.” While you’re busy looking at his or her sleeve to be sure, jiggery-pokery is happening elsewhere. A good example is focusing on Hamilton, as Trump did when he tweeted “The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” In this way, people focus on Hamilton rather than the $25 million settlement in the case of  fraud allegations against Trump University.
  3. The Trial Balloon – Send up something and see how the public reacts, so you’ll know what to do in the future. When Trump tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he watched to see how the public responded to this idea; in this case there was a brief discussion about nuclear policy which quickly faded from the public consciousness.
  4. Deflection – In which you attack the messenger. After being pointedly called out by Meryl Streep for mocking a disabled reporter, Trump attacked the messenger: “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!The video is out there; no matter how much he denies it, Trump’s actions can not be interpreted as anything other than cruel mockery of a man’s afflictions – but attacking Ms. Streep, one of the most accomplished and versatile actresses of this generation, deflect’s the public’s view from the issue at hand. This was also evident as Trump attacked Buzzfeed, CNN, and the BBC around reports on the supposed Russian dossier.

Lastly, Lakoff presents an example of a Trump tweet that uses all four strategies at once:

“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

  • Pre-emptive framing: “This is fake news.”
  • Diversion – Getting the public to discuss whether or not this is fake news rather than addressing the issue itself.
  • Deflection – Attacking the messengers
  • Trial balloon – Will the intelligence agencies be stopped, and are they working like Nazi Germany?

And, of course, tucked away in the tweet is the invocation of a corollary to Godwin’s Law: In any online discussion, whoever first brings up a reference to Hitler has lost the argument, and the discussion is ended.

Lakoff’s suggestions for the press on how to handle the onslaught of 3 AM tweets, as well as the entire podcast (it’s only about 8 minutes long) are well worth the listen.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Improving the web, one word at a time.

XKCD is a wonderful strip. Sometimes Munroe’s posts are based in deep and often incomprehensible (to me) math, sometimes intriguing science, and sometimes the most violently twisted whimsy one could imagine.

The most recent installment gives some suggestions for making the web-browsing experience more interesting.

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The internet being what it is, and people’s creativity and free time factoring in, it was no surprise that a vehicle has already been created that allows such a list (or any other) to be implemented.

My news feed now looks like this:

news

This courtesy of Word Replacer II, a chrome extension that allows you to wipe out any word in your browser that you might find offensive, tiresome, or annoying, and replace it with any other. Tired of seeing Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian all over the news? Replace them with “Little Bunny Froo-froo” or “King Koopa.”

Trust me, it will make your daily perusal of the news much more uplifting.

The user interface is a bit hard to use, but the fastest way to get things in is to build a blob with this format and import it. Notice that the closing brace after each segment has a comma after it – all except for the last one.

{
“version”: “2.0.10”,
“replacements”: [
{
“repA”: “Hillary Clinton”,
“repB”: “Her Supreme Corruptness”,
“type”: “Simple”,
“case”: “Maintain”,
“active”: true
},
{
“repA”: “Donald Trump”,
“repB”: “the bombastic blowhard”,
“type”: “Simple”,
“case”: “Maintain”,
“active”: true
}
]
}

It took me a while of fiddling to get them in, but I was able to get about 30 replacements installed and now watching the news feeds actually gives me a smile.

Enjoy.

The Old Wolf has spoken

An Insider’s View of Martin Shkreli

The media has gone nuts about Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharma who “obtained the manufacturing licence for Daraprim, an out-of-patent medicine, and raised its price by 5,455 percent (from $13.50 to $750 per tablet).” (Wikipedia)

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While the company has stated that there will be a price reversal (as of this writing, we don’t know how much yet), Shkreli has now “receded from the public” according to USA Today, and who can blame him with the furious media storm raging out there?

Most analyses focus on rampant greed within the pharma industry, and use Shkreli as the poster boy for the zenith thereof. One redditor (/u/BlueGold), however, offers a different viewpoint which sheds some additional light on the subject. I’ve bowdlerized it a bit for family consumption – the original thread is here if you don’t mind colorful language.

Legal securities transaction experience and a little SEC regulation fluency checking in:

I’ve actually been doing some more research on the guy at work today, and am pretty blown away at how this all went down, should this theory be on point.

I’d like to state first that he’s a total jerk, and that this is a theory, but it’s becoming more and more convincing that he intended for all of this to happen, and it’s been a fun idea to play with – help educate me in what else this would require and each other:

So he knew the 4,700% cost-floor revaluation was an embellishment with a purpose:

He has, from what I can find, $4 – $15 million in shares of borrowed stock in various pharma corp. entities.

So, the moment reddit started raging about the injustice to the AIDS victims, and someone on Hilary’s digital media team said “Mrs. Clinton – appeal to all these voters by coming down on this dude!” he cracked a beer and watched his whole plan unfold.

In realistic share terms, taking taxes, interest rates in the ST contract with his lenders, and estimated holding into account, is probably several million dollars in profit for a day of acting. Someone above said “he’ll make billions short-selling!” Not only could he not make that much on a 20% drop short sale with his highest estimated borrowed holding, but the profit from a short sale like this doesn’t come to light for the market player until days, weeks, even months later when the price is back up to optimal value for cashing out.

So, its safe to say that he made millions with his little PR stunt, and vocationally, in a vacuum, he’s totally brilliant. Again, universally – he’s a jerk, but has an undeniable vocational aptitude for what he does.

If this probable play theory is on point, he knew he’d announce this cost reduction and caving on the 5k% value inflation shortly after reddit, twitter, mainstream media, and Hilary all started airing out their grievances – and he knew that there would be a subsequent revitalization in the pharma. share market base.

Bada bing bada boom. Say what you want about this guy, but he just acted like a jerk in order to troll the outrage bandwagon into actually influencing share values, and it totally worked. He didn’t deprive any dying children, he didn’t put anyone on the street, he probably didn’t even leave his office.

Alas, the predictable freakout hit the exact water mark he wanted it to, maybe even higher, and he bought all he could at the low price the bandwagon created, flipped back his $4-$15 million in borrowed shares to his creditors with presumably a “lets do business againreal soon” interest rate, and will soon profit generously when the market settles back to its regular CFS.

It would be really impressive, entirely because of the ignorance that is the foundation of everyone’s outrage.

I see a lot of people griping and moaning about the “system,” and the “extortion,” and the “broken justice” of SEC regs, and no suggestions other than “Old_Wolf_Censored this psychopath.”

Ya know what the ironic thing about this situation is though? His play will encourage the SEC revision committee to act. Not PI groups, not activists, not media attention. But this guy, who took advantage of the volatility of the market in response to uninformed social justice outcry. The only thing that really gets the attention of the SEC revision committee is economic circumstances, and the potential to not have firm control over happenings in private trading.

From 1934 – 2012, the SEC Regulatory Revision Committee has instituted 7 major acts, all in response to participant profiting, no one went to prison, and ALL THE ACTS were in the interest of non-corporate market participants.

Like it or not, he’s the only one who’ll make a difference for the better, whether it’s his intention or not – and he’s getting rich while he’s doing it, and not actually acting any differently than 80% of the other AIDS med manufacturers in the industry. In fact, he’s lowered his price below many others.

EDIT: Hopefully this adds some umph to anything I’ve said or answers any questions:

This guy is a master at short selling tactics.

He would get in a run of the mill short sale position, but then encourage the FDA via filing of “citizen petitions” to stall the release of certain products from corporations whose stock he was short selling. In doing this, is where his real mastery lies:

Dr. Hayflick, of OHSU (an outstanding medical research facility), “got a call from him in 2012, suggesting she try a different molecular modification to remedy pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration, or PKAN. ‘Damned if it doesn’t do what he thought it would do…It’s impressive. It’s humbling.'”

This isn’t a new thing, at all. I think this outrage is situational discontent with the pharma industry at large, and the for-profit nature of its governance. This, unfortunately, is a product of our privatized medical production realm that happens constantly. He just happened to make a noisy jerk out of himself, but really is one of many players, and still a small one at that.

Gylbera costs 1$ million buckaroos for annual treatment.

Acthar gel was marked 7000% for years.

Cinryze runs 3 times as much as his proposed value.

Short selling, multi-thousand percent mark ups from production-to-sale on drugs, constitutionally-protected systematic deflation of competition, reverse mergers… These are all well established market practices, just usually employed by undeniably smart, exploitive market players and CFOs who keep their mouths shut. This kind of noisy behavior has potential to create a PR nightmare that influences shareholder’s reactionary tendencies. Alas, it’s going back up!!! like our little jerk here has done.

This dude is a jerk. And if this hypothetical situation is on; a really smart jerk.

Once more, it serves to emphasize that this is one person’s theory. But it’s based on substantial experience in the industry, and makes for fascinating reading. There are some possibly good outcomes from this entire debacle:

  1. It has shined the light of reason on some of these scummy financial practices that seem commonplace, and
  2. It has energized the debate over the outrageous costs of drugs in the USA during a bitter election cycle.

Let us hope that some good comes out of this, whether or not Shkreli ever intended such an outcome.

The Old Wolf has spoken, with thanks to /u/BlueGold.

Commentary: Question to the Islamic Terrorist

Published at VG News.

This should be read by every Muslim, preached over every pulpit by every Imam.

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These are the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo yesterday. But there have been many such in recent years.

While the world picks up the pieces and tries to rebuild, I have some questions for you. You whose bloodlust cannot be slaked.

I ask because I’m a Muslim. And you say you are Muslim. And you say you kill for the God in whom we both believe. You are even proud of this, and some Muslims support you. Most do not, and I ask on their behalf:

“What have you really accomplished?”

Yesterday you killed 12 people and freedom of expression. You say that you avenged the Prophet. You were violated because caricatures were drawn. Charlie Hebdo had a circulation of 50,000. You changed this yesterday. Those caricatures you thought were worth killing for, so that no one would ever again dare to caricature our prophet? Those cartoons had a circulation of 500 million yesterday. At the very least.

Newspapers worldwide have the cartoons on the front pagte today, online, on paper. Millions have changed their profile picture to a caricature of Muhammad . You said “Charlie Hebdo is dead.” The world responded by saying “Je suis Charlie,” “I’m Charlie.” You’ve made ​​Charlie Hebdo immortal. And freedom of speech has reemerged stronger than ever. And did you know that many Muslims, who in 2005 and 2006 were hurt and depressed over the Mohammed cartoons, yesterday wrote that they have changed their minds? They say that the killing of the defenseless is a far greater insult against Muslims than caricatures will ever be. They say: “Draw, draw, draw.” This is what you have achieved.

You threaten and kill

You came onto the stage in earnest on 11 September, 2001. You began with the terrorist attacks in the United States. There you killed 2,996 people. You helped start the “war on terror”. It’s not over yet. And perhaps the war will never be won. The war has resulted in 116,657 civilian casualties, and the count is still rising. Most are Muslims like you and me. Children, the elderly, women and men. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed by NATO forces, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed by you. You call them victims in the war for God, and you butcher them down without blinking, your your fellow-muslims. And your fellow-muslims must answer for your crimes. Hate crimes against Muslims in Western countries are on the rise. This is what you have accomplished.

You say you are going to spread “true Islam.” Your method is automatic weapons, suicide bombs, indoctrination and fear. Pure fear. You threaten to behead, whip and stone your fellow-muslims into believing in what you believe is true Islam. You call yourselves IS and have killed 24,000 people in Iraq: Muslims, Yazidis, Christians. You use children as soldiers and sell women as sex slaves. You are few, but Muslims are numerous. The many will never live as demanded by the few. Therefore you can never make progress with democratic means. So you resort to the sword and call yourself a lion. Over a hundred Muslim eminent scholars, with close to a billion Muslims behind them, call you an insult to Islam. This is what you have achieved.

The day you lost the battle

The last few years have started something new. You go for the most defenseless. Women, children, aid workers and journalists. You shoot one Malala in the head, because you do not like what she says. Today hear a whole world of Malalas. You shoot 132 children, most boys in puberty, because you think Islamic writings demand that, in the head. From close range. You think this will scare the Pakistani military and the Pakistani people. Pakistan responds with airstrikes, mass executions of convicted terrorists, and mass mobilization against you. A mobilization Pakistan has never seen before. So what have you accomplished, really?

Have you ever thought of the following: If you possess the one truth, should not one billion Muslims follow this of their own free will? You’ve had well over a decade to fight for your case, your interpretation. If your arguments had weight, would you not then have managed to convince all cartoonists to put away the pen? Do you see that you lost your case the day you picked up your weapons? I ask because I am a Muslim.

Shazia Sarwar