Friday afternoon reports began circulating that Arnold Schwarzenegger would not be returning to Celebrity Apprentice for the next season. That by itself isn’t all that surprising. The program was not performing very well and it’s fate had not been determined. However, Schwarzenegger’s reasons were interesting.
In an interview with the Empire website, the ex-terminator said:
“With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”
That’s true. The organized Trump boycotts have spread like wildfire across the country. It’s part of the reason that Ivanka’s fashion line was dropped at Nordstrom’s. And advertiser’s have been reluctant to associate themselves with the bigoted President who is neck-deep in scandal.
Furthermore, Schwarzenegger can’t be blamed for not wanting to work with Trump, who is still an executive producer of the show. After ratings came out earlier this year Trump tweeted:
Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got "swamped" (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for….
Trump even called out Schwarzenegger at the National Prayer Breakfast, of all places. At an event that ordinarily brings people together to find common ground. Trump lashed out at his fellow Republican who supported John Kasich for president. But Arnold had the last word with a viral video response on Twitter:
Schwarzenegger says that he would be happy to work with NBC again, but not with a show that has the “baggage” of Trump’s affiliation. NBC has not commented on whether the Apprentice program will continue next season with a new host.
The infamous ego of Donald Trump is going to take a severe blow when he gets wind of this. His highly anticipated maiden address to Congress may have enchanted much of the media, but the ratings reveal far less adoration than he will be comfortable with. Even with Brian Kilmeade of Fox News telling him that “you’ll have the biggest audience for a State of the Union-like address this year, bigger than any other year,” reality has a way of intervening.
The Nielsen ratings for Trump’s speech came in at about 48 million. That’s a respectable number for anyone else, but Trump is likely to pound a hole in the Oval Office wall when he finds out. The reason for his outrage will be that he failed to snag the top spot for such events. To make matters worse, he lost to both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Compared to Obama’s first address in 2009, Trump’s pull is down by 8 percent.” Rankings for first-time speeches to Congress are – Clinton 1993: 66.9 million. Obama 2009: 52.4 million. Trump 2017: 48.0 million.
Knowing Trump, one of two reactions can be expected. Either he will lash out at Nielsen and the “fake” ratings establishment that is determined to destroy his presidency. Or he will simply insist that he had higher ratings and everyone tells him so. Then he’ll send Sean Spicer out to confirm it and yell at the press.
Trump flew into a rage after the election when results that showed Hillary Clinton received nearly three million more votes. Defying reality again, Trump insisted that he would have had more popular votes were it not for millions of illegal voters. Then when he delivered his inauguration speech he invented millions of attendees that were invisible to the cameras.
It goes without saying that Trump will be furious when he learns of his latest failure. His handlers may try to keep him from finding out, but someone on Twitter will probably spill the beans. Then just wait for all hell to break loose. Trump is failing in the field he knows best – TV. He previously mocked Arnold Schwarzenegger for not matching his ratings on the new Celebrity Apprentice. Let’s see if Arnold has anything to say about this.
Thursday Donald Trump spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. The multi-faith event was founded to bring bipartisan politicians and religious leaders together to find common ground. Not surprisingly, Trump made it all about himself and the satisfaction of his inflated ego. He managed to turn a bridge building affair into a battlefield.
The bulk of Trump’s remarks (transcript) were a familiar recitation of his dystopian view of a world in distress. He spoke of the persecution of Christians and the threats against religious freedom. Of course, by his definition that’s the freedom to discriminate against those who don’t practice his religion. His overall theme was that “The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out. OK? That’s what I do. I fix things.” Like elections? Trump’s confidence in his omnipotent powers is unbounded. And by a metric the right frequently used against President Obama, he said the word “I” forty-seven times.
One particularly self-exalting moment came when Trump brought up his old TV show, The Apprentice. What this has to do with a prayer breakfast is a mystery. Nevertheless, Trump felt he needed to make the point that the program has failed since his exit:
“They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place, and we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster. And [producer] Mark [Burnett] will never, ever bet against Trump again, and I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”
It should be noted that Trump is still an executive producer of the show, so he’s slamming his own production. That’s how badly he needs to validate his value to the franchise. But Schwarzenegger is not a shrinking violet. He posted a video response on Twitter that makes a damn good point:
“Hey Donald I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job.”
And if that weren’t enough, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger elaborated in press release that said:
“Arnold is praying that President Trump can start improving his own approval ratings, which were the worst in history for an incoming president, by taking his job seriously and working inclusively,” spokesman Daniel Ketchell said in the statement.”
Trump’s exploitation of this religious event is characteristic of his narcissistic personality. He has a compulsive need to glorify himself and insult his critics. And his flagrant pandering to perceived allies like the Christian right is just another part of his con game.
A visit to the Fox News community web site, Fox Nation, is always an adventure that yields surprises and curiosities. But even amongst the brazen lies and flagrant distortions, there are some gems of idiocy that stand out. For instance…
In an item about a study on “the Ancestral Logic of Politics,” the Fox Nationalists slapped on a this headline: “Strong Men Lean Conservative,” In doing so they have made their best case yet for the right-wing sloganeering to “Take our country back – to the Stone Age.”
The study referenced in the article examined and compared data on bicep size, socioeconomic status, and support for economic redistribution. What the researchers concluded was that upper-body strength “may reflect psychological traits that evolved in response to our early ancestral environments.”
In other words, physically domineering specimens were more inclined to take what they want and refuse to share. Sounds pretty much like every Randian Teabagger in the GOP (Greedy One Percent). It is a perfect description of the rightist ideology of self-interest above all. It’s what shapes the Republican agenda of opposing regulations that protect people, as well as taxes used to provide food, housing, and other social services to the sick, the elderly, and the poor (known to right-wingers as “the weak”).
The Fox interpretation of this study is typically shallow in that they regard physical strength in the same way that our Neanderthal ancestors did – as a class-based asset. The more powerful members of the community were once elevated to leadership posts by virtue of their ability to bully everybody else. And that’s pretty much the way Tea-publicans want it to be today, although they have modified the definition of strength to include financial muscle. Hence their reverence for (and subservience to) wealthy upper-crusters like the Koch brothers.
It’s rather amusing that Fox chose to illustrate their posting with body-builder-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – a pot-smoking, pro-choice, steroidal, Hollywood mogul, environmentalist, who married a Kennedy and then cheated on her (fathering a child with his Guatemalan maid). What better role model for the egocentric selfishness of modern conservatism that is so smitten with swaggering blowhards and chicken-hawks?
William La Jeunesse is rapidly becoming the most promising contender for the Excrements in Journalism award. Last week he did a report on congressional earmarking in which his primary source was a McCain front group that he identified as nonpartisan. This week his report on offshore oil drilling is just as slanted as he becomes an outright advocate of Big Oil and their agenda.
In this story, La Jeunesse excitedly related news that the Santa Barbara County Supervisors had voted 3 to 2 to allow offshore drilling 100 miles off the coast. He veritably reveled at the notion that this coastal community was considering opening their beaches up to potentially devastating environmental disaster. In an earlier report he implied that the people’s wishes were going to be disregarded because California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were opposed to offshore drilling. How he concludes that the people are more represented by three county supervisors than they are by the majority of their state and congressional representatives and their governor, he never quite explains.
The report itself soft peddles the inherent dangers associated with offshore drilling. La Jeunesse cites a study that claims that one in every 156,000 barrels of oil is ever lost to a spill. He editorializes that that is “literally a drop in the bucket.” What he fails to say is that this number calculates out to over 70 million barrels of spilt oil. That’s a lot of dead of fish and seagulls, and a lot of lost revenue for a state that is highly leveraged in tourism.
If La Jeunesse wasn’t bad enough, Fox anchor Martha McCallum chimes in at the end to congratulate him on his report:
“This is the kind of debate and people say we need to drill off of our shores and I think a lot of people think that is a good idea but then you get into this Congressional debate and things get stymied.”
The problem with her comment, aside from her taking a position on what she thinks people want, is that there was absolutely no debate presented in the report. It was thoroughly one-sided and she even progressed the argument further to blame Congress as obstructionist. But she didn’t end it there. She still felt it necessary to praise Big Oil for their track record on spills:
“There is all of this pressure about the oil companies and oh they make so much money. Oil companies have spent a tremendous amount of money researching and making this process as clean as possible and they have done a pretty good job of it when you look at the numbers of what actually gets spilled out there, it’s extremely minimal. So, something everyone needs to know to get the full picture.”
To which her co-anchor Trace Gallagher responded:
“And that was pretty much the full picture.”
There you have it. Courtesy of Fox News, you now have no need to engage in any further research. The “full picture” has been revealed and it is one of clear waters, blue skies, and endless rainbows. All thanks to America’s oil companies.
Someone might still want to check with these corporations and ask them why gas prices have not dropped commensurate with the 37% drop in the price of crude oil since July. An equivalent decrease in gas prices would have us paying about $2.65 today. Is that what you’re paying?
You may also want to inquire of John McCain why the “Drill Baby Drill” mantra is still being chanted at his rallies. With Crude prices having dropped from nearly $150.00 a barrel to about $92.00, it apparently wasn’t necessary to expand domestic production in order to get the price down. So what Barack Obama and the Democrats have been arguing for weeks was correct. Yet I haven’t seen them get any credit in the press for being right. I haven’t even seen any analysis of what has transpired in the oil markets over the last couple of months.
Unfortunately for consumers, gas prices are still near record levels. Since it is not a problem at the wholesale level, it seems that the friends of McCain and his lobbyists are now indisputably at fault for the gouging we are experiencing at the pump. Unfortunately for voters, Republicans intend to press the case for more drilling regardless of the facts as they exist today. And the Democrats in Congress aren’t much better. They are expected to go along with Republican proposals to permit offshore drilling, albeit in compromised legislation. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) explains:
“The American people are very conscious that we need an alternative energy policy and the they’re not too distant from the memory of the $4 dollar-a-gallon gas. They know we need an investment in alternative energy and we can’t keep doing what we’re doing […] I think there’s still an urgency to get this done and get it done now.”
The argument appears to be that the momentum for a knee-jerk response is too swift to resist. That would make this a good time to contact your representatives and let them know that you’re paying attention; that you know that crude oil prices have fallen 37% but that gas prices have remained inordinately high; that you know that drilling for more domestic oil, particularly offshore, will not resolve our energy problems, in fact, it will exacerbate them and preserve our dependency on fossil fuels. Tell them not to accept the Republican arguments that have been proven false, and not to vote for their agenda that is designed to help their benefactors in the oil industry.
Don’t let the chanting cultists at McCain rallies win this debate when the truth is the opposite of their zombie anthem. And don’t let lying, corrupt Republicans and Fox News dictate our nation’s energy policies.