Friday, December 23, 2016

Like Leader, Like Followers

Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald recently wrote

Given the extraordinary power Donald Trump now wields, it’s obvious that foreign governments and corporations can easily curry favor, bribe or even blackmail him, which is why the Founding Fathers so feared outside influences on the Executive Branch. Once he’s president, Trump does not need to ask for cash to be delivered to his pockets or to those of his children to cross the line into illicit activities—and possibly impeachable offenses. Macri of Argentina cannot know if his country will be punished by the Trump White House if the remaining permits for that Buenos Aires project are denied. Abe of Japan does not know if a government holdup of Ivanka Trump’s deal with Sanei International will lead her impulsive father to call for an American military withdrawal from his country. Erdogan of Turkey has told associates he believes he must keep pressure on Trump’s business partner there to essentially blackmail the president into extraditing a political enemy. Duterte of the Philippines believes he has received approval from the president-elect to, at best, abide by or, at worst, continue to authorize the frenzied slaughter of drug users and dealers, and knows he can harm the Trump family if the president ever angers him.

America is on the precipice of an unprecedented threat, as allies and enemies alike calculate whether they are dealing with a president they can please merely by enriching his children. President-elect Trump has a monumental choice before him: He can, as he promised during the campaign, protect the sanctity of the presidency—which he can do only by selling his company. Or he can remain corrupted by the conflicts between his country’s future and his family’s fortune.

It is, as Charlie Pierce has suggested, remarkable the various forms "economic anxiety" takes. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported

A Newsweek reporter who has epilepsy said he had a seizure after being sent a message on Twitter intended to trigger such an episode and is seeking information from the social media company to identify the person responsible for the tweet.

The image in question — which included a strobe effect and the words, "You deserve a seizure for your posts" — was apparently sent in response to Eichenwald's outspoken criticism of President-elect Donald Trump. Eichenwald, who has a home in Texas, said in court documents that the image triggered a seizure.

Eichenwald posted a signed copy of a Dallas County District Court order to Twitter on Tuesday that allows him to depose Twitter executives and orders the company to preserve any information or documents regarding the person who sent the image. Eichenwald wrote that "Twitter agreed to an expedited order," meaning the company won't challenge the request for information......

Eichenwald told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he has received numerous copycat strobe messages from "people who identify themselves as Trump supporters" and that he is reporting each of them to Twitter to ask that their accounts be suspended. 

"It is amazing to me that simply because I am a political reporter, simply because I write about Donald Trump that we have become so sick and twisted in this country that people think they have the right and obligation to inflict potentially very serious injury," he said.

In the interests of being fair and balanced: tweeters may not be responding only to Eichenwald's latest article. He has been on the Trump corruption beat since well before the election.

So Eichenwald probably shouldn't have been amazed. Neither is the reaction unbelievable from individuals who we're assured voted for Donald Trump because they were eager for the "change" which "crooked Hillary" couldn't bring. We shouldn't even be surprised:

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