Sunday, December 04, 2016

Kellogg's Dumps Breitbart; Shiny Things & Cake

Tony the Tiger says no to toxic bigotry,
anti-Semitism and rampant misogyny
Now I was never really a "cereal guy" as a kid.

My younger brother was almost fanatical about sugary cereals like Frosted Flakes or Boo Berry, but I was just one of those kids who never liked the idea of crunchy fibrous bits soaking in a bowl of milk.

But as an American child who grew up spending hours on Saturday mornings in my pajamas watching cartoons, I certainly recognized Tony the Tiger as one of the first corporate icons geared towards youth.

So it seems appropriate to kick off the month of December by giving a shout-out to Kellogg's for their timely decision to pull it's advertising from the "alt right" Website Breitbart News.

As Aimee Picchi reported in an article for CBS News' Moneywatch on Friday morning, large corporations and organizations including the AARP, Vanguard and 3M also announced that they will be pulling their ads from the Breitbart Website in an effort to disassociate their brands from the overt racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and white supremacist ideology which has become a hallmark of the site since the passing of it's founder Andrew Breitbart.

Picchi's article quoted statements from both Kellog's and Vanguard regarding their ad decisions, though neither went into too much detail, their recognition that Breitbart has become an offensive online hub for toxic hate was clear.

Kellog's said that Breirbart didn't align with the company's values and Vanguard said that it does not advertise "on any overtly political Websites."

So kudos to these organizations for recognizing that the overwhelming majority of the people who use their products and services, both here and around the globe, find the kinds of hate and divisiveness that Breitbart peddles in to be reprehensible and offensive to decent folks.

Anti-KKK marchers in Albany, NY on Saturday
Trump seems too busy publicly patting himself on the back for Carrier's decision to keep 800 jobs from moving to Mexico on his self-created "victory tour" to take much notice of the Breitbart kerfuffle.

Or the KKK's plan to march in celebration of Trump's election victory.

Fortunately the Klan's decision to honor Trump with a parade in a small town near Pelham, North Carolina was overshadowed by much larger anti-KKK rallies in Raleigh, NC, Albany, New York and elsewhere.

As Jeff Taylor reported on earlier yesterday, anti-Klan marchers gathered in Pelham, NC in an effort to try and find the Klan march to counter-demonstrate, but even after marching to nearby Danville, Virginia they were unsuccessful - perhaps the Klan opted to keep their Trump celebration under the hood.

It's been interesting to watch Trump and his advisors try and pretend he has nothing to do with the hundreds of overt acts of hostility against Muslims, African-Americans, LGTBQ-folk and others that have taken place around the country since the November 8th election.

Like the young Muslim woman who was verbally and physically attacked on a crowded New York City subway by three intoxicated white men yelling Trump's name, snatching at her bag and demanding she remove her Hijab last Thursday night - no onlookers helped her by the way.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway got into a pretty heated spat with Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri at a post-election discussion forum held at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government the other day when Palmieri called out the Trump campaign for deliberately stoking bigotry and racism.

Kellyanne Conway & Clinton campaign manager
Robby Mook at the Harvard forum discussion
As reported, an indignant Conway asked Palmieri, "Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?"

Palmieri responded, "You did, Kellyanne You did." 

Meanwhile Trump's boasting about the Carrier jobs deal has been undermined by the fact that it's basically just a $7 million tax giveaway to United Technologies, the parent company that owns Carrier.

A corporate tax giveaway that will benefit Trump financially.

United Technologies is a defense contractor that also owns aircraft engine maker Pratt &Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems, so not only does it have billions in defense contracts with the United States government, financial documents show that Trump also owns stock in the company - so his "deal" represents a staggering conflict of interest.

But does he Tweet about potential conflicts regarding his ownership stake in UT or other companies around the world?

No, his bizarre Twitter message about people burning the American flag being jailed or denied citizenship dominated much of the media coverage of the president elect this week.

It's pretty clear that he understands that using his Twitter account to repeat pretty much anything that comes into his head, no matter how disjointed or unsupportable by fact, has become his de facto MO.

Trump understands that his followers are easily distracted by bright shiny things that make a lot of noise - doesn't matter if they're true or based on actual evidence.

Remember just a few weeks ago when he was telling his followers that the election was "rigged"?

Now that he's won the election and evidence has surfaced of pro-Trump voter fraud, his lawyers (and individuals who support him)  are filing suits to stop recount efforts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Consider how much mainstream media coverage has been devoted to his Tweet about the leader of Taiwan calling him to congratulate him about his election victory - it's dominated the headlines this weekend and for Trump has served as an effective way to distract the American people from the rampant and unprecedented conflict of interests his global business relationships represent.

No wonder he won't release his tax returns; it makes Hillary's emails seem like a third grader's fudged report card.

Like the flag-burning Tweet, it just came out of nowhere - can you recall a time during the recent presidential race where burning the American flag, or Taiwan was an issue?

Would you personally rank either of those topics as in the top ten most critical issues facing the nation?

How many people could locate Taiwan on a map?

Trump has figured out that mainstream media is willing, and even eager to help him get his message out there, even though he's just using it as a smokescreen for his con game - reports have surfaced that his pro-Taiwan statement came after his overtures to build a hotel there.

His supporters aren't necessarily interested in facts, they prefer bright shiny things that twinkle in the light that are easy to digest and repeat.

Trump's unfiltered nonsensical Tweets have become almost like a 21st century version of "Let them eat cake", the quote incorrectly attributed to Louis XVI's wife Marie Antoinette that has come to symbolize the ruling classes' disdain, contempt and misunderstanding of the living conditions faced by the poor.

The president-elect has the same disdain for the poor and working class (as evidenced by his stacking his cabinet with billionaires and entrenched political elites), he's just become adept at using Twitter to distract people from seeing what's dark, and for Trump, quite profitable.

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