All posts in “trump”

Trump just noticed Europe’s $5BN antitrust fine for Google

In other news bears shit in the woods. In today’s second day Trump news: President ‘The Donald’ has seized, belatedly, on the European Commission’s announcement yesterday that it had found Google guilty of three types of illegal antitrust behavior with its Android OS since 2011 and was fining the company $5 billion; a record breaking penalty the Commission’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said reflects the length and gravity of the company’s competition infringements.

Trump is not! at all! convinced! though!

“I told you so!” he has tweeted triumphantly just now. “The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google . They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!”

Also not so very long ago, Trump was the one grumbling about tech giants. Though Amazon is his most frequent target in tech, while Google has been spared the usual tweet lashings. Albeit, on the average day he may not necessarily be able to tell one tech giant from another.

Vestager can though, and she cited Amazon as one of the companies that had suffered as a direct result of contractual conditions Google imposed on device makers using its Android OS — squeezing the ecommerce giant’s potential to build a competing Android ecosystem, with its Fire OS.

Presumably, for Trump, Amazon is not ‘one of our great companies’ though.

At least it’s only Google that gets his full Twitter attention — and a special Trumpian MAGA badge of honor call-out as “one of our great companies” — in the tweet.

Presumably, he hasn’t had this pointed out to him yet though. So, uh, awkward.

Safe to say, Trump is seizing on Google’s antitrust penalty as a stick to beat the EU, set against a backdrop of Trump already having slapped a series of tariffs on EU goods and Trump recently threatening the EU with tariffs on cars — in what is fast looking like a full blown trade war.

Even so, the tweet probably wasn’t the kind of support Google was hoping to solicit via its own Twitter missive yesterday…

#AndroidWorksButTradeWarsDon’t doesn’t make for the most elegant hashtag.

But here’s the thing: Vestager has already responded to Trump’s attack on the Android decision — even though it’s taking place a day late. Because the EU’s “tax lady”, as Trump has been known to vaguely refer to her, is both lit and onit.

During yesterday’s press conference she was specifically asked to anticipate Trump’s tantrum response on hearing the antitrust decision against Google, and whether she wasn’t afraid it might affect next week’s meeting between the US president and the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

“As I know my US colleagues want fair competition just as well as we do,” she responded. “There is a respect that we do our job. We have this very simple mission to make sure that companies play by the rulebook for the market to serve consumers. And this is also my impression that this is what they want in the US.”

Pressed again on political context, given the worsening trade relationship between the US and the EU, Vestager was asked how she would explain that her finding against Google is not part of an overarching anti-US narrative — and directly asked how would she answer Trump’s contention that the EU’s “tax lady… really hates the US”.

“Well I’ve done my own fact checking on the first part of that sentence. I do work with tax and I am a woman. So this is 100% correct,” she replied. “It is not correct for the latter part of the sentence though. Because I very much like the US. And I think that would also be what you think because I from Denmark and that tends to be what we do. We like the US. The culture, the people, our friends, traveling. But the fact is that this [finding against Google] has nothing to do with how I feel. Nothing whatsoever. Just as well as enforcing competition law — well, we do it in the world but we don’t do it in a political context. Because then there would never, ever be a right timing.

“The mission is very simple. We have to protect consumers and competition to make sure that consumers get the best of fair competition — choice, innovation, best possible prices. This is what we do. It has been done before, we will continue to do it — no matter the political context.”

Maybe Trump will be able to learn the name of the EU’s “tax lady” if Vestager ends up EU president next year.

Or, well, maybe not. We can only hope so.

Celebrate the Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin summit with this beautiful gold engraved Nokia phone

Oh, glorious day. Our Planet Earth’s two most supreme leaders, the honorable Vladimir Putin and “strong like ox” Donald J. Trump, will meet in Helsinki on July 16, 2018. It is day sure to go down in history, and now, YOU can celebrate it with gold Nokia phone engraved with noble profiles of world leaders, for low low price of $2,740. What steal!

The Nokia 3310 got a 21st century upgrade in January. 4G, here we come!

Trump and Putin, together forever.

Trump and Putin, together forever.

Luxury goods company Caviar is a specialist in making everyday objects of our technical obsession into beautiful heirlooms for children. Before 2017 meeting of Trump and Putin, Caviar released a titanium and gold version of the 3310. It made fidget spinner out of gold and offered to customer for $16,800.

Putin and Trump will grasp hands in Helsinki just weeks after Trump let world leaders at NATO summit know who’s boss. Trump is very keen to get along with Putin. He is sure to carry around the gold Nokia 3310 in his breast pocket, close to his heart.

The Caviar 001 commemorative phone is coated with what Caviar calls “The golden titanium.” It has many great features, meant to increase durability and shine: “It is titanium which has been molten to hot plasma and applied by PVD technology. This coating can preserve its luster for centuries,” explains Caviar.

The back of the Caviar 001 is where phone gets truly beautiful. It has panels of “composite jade” and is partly coated in 24 carat gold. That’s where Trump’s and Putin’s profiles meet in a raised golden globe, with a plaque commemorating the Helsinki summit underneath.

“There is a tiny, yet accurate depiction of the dove of peace, the symbolism of which originates from the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark,” writes Caviar.

Get yours now!

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Trump tariffs are coming for the dance world’s synthesizers

A Moog Minimoog Model D analogue synthesizer and a pair of AKG headphones, taken on September 12, 2016. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Music Magazine via Getty Images)
A Moog Minimoog Model D analogue synthesizer and a pair of AKG headphones, taken on September 12, 2016. (Photo by Olly Curtis/Future Music Magazine via Getty Images)

Image: Future Music Magazine

Ok, now Trump’s tariffs have gone TOO FAR. 

Moog Synthesizers, a manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, has put up the bat signal for electronic music lovers everywhere. The Asheville, North Carolina-based Moog is in danger of layoffs, and even moving manufacturing overseas, once Trump’s 25 percent tariff on some Chinese goods go into effect on July 6.

“These tariffs will immediately and drastically increase the cost of building our instruments, and have the very real potential of forcing us to lay off workers and could (in a worst case scenario) require us to move some, if not all, of our manufacturing overseas,” Moog wrote in a letter.

Moog is a 100-person employee-owned company that’s been in business in North Carolina for 60 years. In a letter Moog is asking its supporters to send to Congress, it says that it sources “roughly half” of its circuit boards and other materials from China. It needs to maintain this mix in order to keep manufacturing in the U.S. affordable. And to keep the beats bangin’ in the USA.

The first wave of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods is set to go into effect on July 6, with the second wave following some time after (it does not yet have a set date). The tariffs affect around $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in total. They’re meant to hamstring China’s “Made in China 2025” manufacturing campaign, which Trump really doesn’t want to see go into effect. China retaliated on Sunday with its own list of tariffs. 

Although many expected the first wave to impact automakers (like Harley Davidson) and consumer tech (like Apple), Moog’s campaign shows just how far Trump’s chest-puffing is reaching in the real world.

They can take our beats, but they can’t take our freedom!

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The big problem with those conservative calls for ‘civility’

Conservative doublespeak just got taken to a whole new level.

There are many reasons to balk at politicians’ and commentators’ calls for “civility” in response to Trump officials getting kicked out of restaurants. Say, the hypocritical fact of Trump’s own acerbic behavior, or the idea that “civility” is the least of our worries at a time when the U.S. government has separated migrant families at the border with no plans for reuniting them. 

Now, the people of Twitter have honed in on a particularly piercing rebuke of the civility balloon by invoking the idea that helped put Trump in office: that conservatives in fact ended “civility” themselves, by just calling it “political correctness,” and labeling sensitivity about the language we use as a problem.

This “civility” brouhaha all started when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders oh-so-innocently tweeted that a restaurant denied her service. 

Sanders’ statement came several days after protestors drove Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out of a Mexican restaurant by yelling “shame” at her, after a press conference in which she defended her agency’s family separations at the border. 

At another Mexican restaurant in D.C., one patron went up to Stephen Miller, who is the reported architect of many of Trump’s immigration policies, and called him a fascist. Protesters have also staged rallies outside of Miller’s and Nielsen’s homes.

Meanwhile, Rep. Maxine Waters supported the public confrontation of Trump officials at a rally in Los Angeles, and used the word “harass,” which really got people hot and bothered.

“The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president ‘no I can’t hang with you, this is wrong,” Waters said.

After Sanders’ Red Hen incident, the protests, and Waters’ comment, national conversation took a detour away from topics like, oh, the Supreme Court decision upholding the Muslim ban, and the separation of children from their parents at the border. Conservative politicians and several editorials decided that this was the moment to lament the lack of “civility” in America. 

In particular, a Washington Post editorial telling readers to “let the Trump team eat in peace” caused a firestorm on Twitter. Republican Jeb Hensarling opened a committee hearing with Waters decrying her comments as uncivil and not neighborly. And Republican political adviser David Gergen told CNN that today’s protests are less “civil in tone” than the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. 

Many other editorials and segments followed echoing the same need for “civility.” And Marco Rubio got sassy about the use of the word “fuck” by a Capital Gazette reporter who survived the deadly shooting at her workplace.

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Also, Trump made a lightly veiled violent threat. But anywho…

People have not taken kindly to the civility comments. Some have said that incivility is exactly the correct response to the Trump administration. And others have pointed to the hypocrisy of the statement given the president’s own history of mocking women, minorities, people with disabilities, and anyone who opposes him.

But beyond pointing out hypocrisy, there is a very clear answer to the doe-eyed question of “gee, where did American civility go?” And it is at the heart of what got Trump elected: the Right’s previous obsession with the damage that “political correctness” was inflicting on the country during the Obama years. 

The argument went like this: America has become so politically correct, catering to the whims of sensitive minorities, that it has infringed on Americans’ right to say what we really think, and it has allowed for America to become overrun with (dark-skinned) migrants. There was a sense that if something offended people, that didn’t mean what that thing said was actually incorrect — it just meant that it was offensive. 

So Trump rode into office as the candidate willing to tell it like it is, “crying liberals” be damned. His truth-telling about invasive immigrants would cut to the heart of America’s real problems (not its fake problems, like racism), and thereby Make America Great Again. 

Trump has railed against political correctness 37 times on Twitter, frequently using it as the ending note and resounding message of his campaign appearances.

Trump and his supporters objected to politically correct speech because the fear of being called a racist made America less secure. So every penis joke, “lock her up” chant, Mexican rapist comment, and disabled reporter impression just strengthened him. 

Where did “civility in America” go? Down the toilet with “politically correct” sensitivity about stereotyping, racism, and sexism. 

Now, the people of Twitter aren’t going to let conservatives have their cake and eat it, too. Many have pointed out that “civility” is just a re-branding of “political correctness,” something that conservatives previously pinpointed as the source of America’s ills. 

If Conservatives were so concerned about preserving their ability to use slurs and “tell the truth” even if it offended people, why are they opposed to liberals using the sharpest arrows that speech allows to protest conservative policy, in the face of those enacting that policy?

It can feel like a maddening exercise in futility to point out every Trumpian hypocrisy or blame-shift. But in this instance, dissecting the language used to paper over real issues is crucial.

Let’s remember: Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Red Hen incident tweet distracted from the media shitstorm that the family separation policy had caused. Now, by interrogating the narrative of civility, we are actually able to bring the conversation back to the issue of immigration at hand. That’s because Trump invoked arguments against political correctness to lay the groundwork the inhumane immigration policy that it is now enacting. 

Recently, the New York Times reported on the Right’s newfound embrace of the First Amendment to push forward an ultra-conservative agenda. From this report, and from how civility and political correctness have been summoned as a distraction from landmark Supreme Court decisions and family separation, it’s clear that the battle over freedom of speech has consequences beyond language. 

Lets make sure those who seek to lock up immigrants, enable unlimited campaign spending, or abolish abortion, don’t have the last word.

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No, Harley Davidson’s CEO did not call Trump a moron, but don’t tell Twitter that

Did the CEO of Harley Davidson bash President Trump, calling him a moron?

The answer is no, he didn’t call Trump a moron. But, if you were one of the tens of thousands of people who retweeted or liked this viral tweet you may believe he did. 

According to this 100 percent false tweet, the CEO of Harley Davidson Matthew Levatich blasted Donald Trump for starting a trade war and blamed him for their decision to move some of their operations overseas. 

It is true that the motorcycle company is blaming the resulting EU tariffs for their decision to move some production overseas. And the President did take to, where else, Twitter to voice his displeasure with Harley Davidson for the decision to move production. This does perhaps lend a little credence to the fact that, maybe, a CEO would put out some sort of statement defending his company from the attacks. 

But that Harley Davidson statement, the one that’s spreading like wildfire on the web, is false. It’s completely untrue.

The original tweet is from a Twitter user who goes by Judy Tinsleman with the handle @tinsleman. The Twitter account was created this month, according to the creation date listed in the account’s bio. A quick search on websites like PeopleFinder and Spokeo bring up zero results for a person going by the name Judy Tinsleman in the United States. Before the Harley Davidson CEO went viral, the account had barely any Twitter followers. The account seems to have tweeted various made-up “breaking news” tweets with varying levels of success in spreading through Twitter earlier this month.

On the same day @tinsleman tweeted the fake Harley Davidson CEO quote, Twitter published a blog post detailing how they’re taking action against spam bots and malicious accounts. In the post, they explained how they’re tackling many of the problems with the platform. Yet just looking at @tinsleman’s account, from hashtag-stuffing to multiple spammy @ mentions, it’s easy to see a number of warning signs that should have tipped off Twitter according to their own post!

Twitter users believing the Harley Davidson CEO statement are now copying the fake quote to tweet from their own accounts. Those tweets are racking up thousands of retweets on their own, too.

Celebrities are also spreading the fake quote.

The spreading of this fake quote is getting so out of hand that Harley Davidson has put out a statement via their own Twitter account calling the quote a complete fabrication.

At the time of this the original tweet with the fake Harley Davidson CEO quote has 27,725 retweets. The real Harley Davidson statement debunking the quote has 750 retweets.

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