In the wake of recent leaks that have revealed to the world the extent of American snooping, from collecting the phone records of its citizens en masse to keeping track of every single click of your mouse you make on the internet, the security establishment has been remarkably lame in its response.
Manning, who leaked the classified information on civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who is largely credited for inspiring the Arab Spring uprising in response to corrupt governments, is rotting in a prison cell facing a life sentence.
Julian Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, unable to leave for fear he will be snatched and deported to America to share the same fate as Manning.
This time it’s different.
The soft-spoken young man Edward J. Snowden, who has leaked the top-secret documents we have seen so far is viewed as a controversial figure.
By definition, a controversy has two sides. This means some people actually support him as opposed to the near-unanimous condemnation of Manning and Assange.
I think that’s because this actually affects us folks at home. Maybe people are finally starting to get a little uncomfortable with just how cozy big brother is in cuddling up to them in their personal lives.
The trite response to surveillance has always been, “if you’re not doing anything wrong, why should you be worried.” Well now the thinking is starting to change to, “I’m not doing anything wrong, so why do you need to know what I am doing.” The eminently credible Dick Cheney claimed if these measures had been in place before they would have prevented 9/11. Of course, this is the same man who told America that Saddam Hussein “absolutely has weapons of mass destruction” and started one of the most costly and disastrous wars in American history.
Interestingly, this second iteration of tricky Dick didn’t mention that these measures were in place before the Boston bombings and even after being warned about the two brothers beforehand by the Russians, they still failed to prevent the attack.
Then there’s the security state’s other BFF, Donald Trump. He claimed he “didn’t like” Edward Snowden because he thought he was trying to bring attention to himself and was a grandstander. Such comments seem awfully rich coming from that hair.
Just for fun, last night I took note of how many times I was watched in just the few hours it took me to go for a workout.
I was filmed when I went to the drug store for bus tickets. I was filmed and listened to when I got on the bus. I was filmed in the downtown core, in the library, in the mall, and again everywhere I went in the gym.
That is pretty much 100% total surveillance of my every move.
And how much crime does this prevent? None, so far as the experts can tell.
Studies done in England where cameras are ubiquitous have shown the crime rate to be essentially unchanged as a result of having cameras everywhere.
When Edward Snowden was asked what he expected to happen to him as a result of his actions, he replied, “nothing good.” But then added he was not trying to avoid responsibility for what he did, he was trying to be a patriot. He said the worst thing that could possibly happen would be that nothing would change.
That is entirely possibly. The security state is well entrenched.
But I have a feeling that between the time I write this and the time you read it, a lot more will have happened. There is every suggestion that there is more on the way. Hopefully that will be the case, anyway.
And hopefully a real controversy will mean debate, and debate will mean awareness.
Most importantly in my mind, hopefully Edward Snowden is the first whistleblower in recent times not to be destroyed for the courageous act of telling the truth.
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has nothing but praise for the tea party.
“I am a Republican, but I believe strongly in the tea party — and I love the people of the tea party,” Trump told WPTV-News Channel 5 on Thursday during the Palm Beach County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. “I love many of the things they represent — and you know what? They love me.”
Hundreds of national and local GOP officials and supporters attended the dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. The annual event comes as the Republican Party grapples with remaking itself and broadening its base after the drubbing it took in the 2012 presidential election.
And Trump had plenty of advice on how the GOP should move forward.
On immigration reform, for instance, Trump told WPTV-Channel 5: “Something has to happen, but the Republicans are going to have to be very careful. Look, we can’t give away our great country.”
Several plans for comprehensive immigration reform have been put forth in recent weeks, including one by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and another by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators, which also includes Rubio. The proposals have been attacked as de facto amnesty programs.
Turning to the nation’s economy and its $16.4 trillion debt, Trump said: “We will soon have over $17 trillion in debt, a number no one ever dreamed possible. We are losing our economic power.
“China will soon be the biggest economic engine in the world,” the real-estate mogul told WPTV. “We won’t be.”
Trump ruled out the idea of running for president via a third party. “No, I wouldn’t head it up, but the Republicans are going to have to get very smart or there is going to be a third party.”
And, on the longstanding birther issue with President Barack Obama, Trump was the most vocal to WPTV.
During the campaign, he offered $5 million to the charity of the president’s choice if he released his college transcripts. Obama dismissed the challenge.
As such, would Trump ever drop the matter?
“No, I’m not. I don’t do that at all. I offered millions and millions of dollars to show some record,” he told WPTV. “He didn’t show the records.
“I would certainly not put that to bed — and neither would about 50 percent of our people.”
A tea Party spokesperson stated it is nice to be loved but we just hope Donald is not the kiss of death for us.
The Donald doesn’t like a challenge, particularly if it concerns his birth certificate.
Maher, 56, announced on Monday night he would donate $5 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if he was able to prove that he is not the ‘spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.’
Some people would have taken the high road, ignoring the obvious insult. Not Trump though. On Tuesday, Scott S. Balber, a lawyer for Trump, 66, sent the HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher‘ host a letter with Trump’s birth certificate attached.
To underline the gotcha, the letter asked Maher, said to be worth $40 million, to come up with the promised cash.
The birth certificate demonstrated that Trump ‘is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan,’ the letter said.
Maher had earlier suggested Trump would likely donate the cash to the ‘Hair Club for Men’ or ‘The Institute for Incorrigible Douchebaggery’ but Trump’s letter indicated he wants to give $1 million each to charities for the Hurricane Sandy Victims, The Police Athletic League, The American Cancer Society, The March of Dimes and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Maher’s birth certificate malarky was a pointed send up of Trump’s notorious announcement in October that he would donate $5 million to charity if President Obama would release his college records.
At the time Trump declared he was sitting on ‘something very, very, big concerning the president of the United States’ that could ‘possibly’ change the election.
But the public was unimpressed with the big reveal, however, when it turned out to be just more birtherism, which many commentators decry as blatant racism – since its suggests that Obama is not ‘one of us.’
Obama later made fun of Trump on the ‘Tonight Show,’ suggesting that the bad blood between himself and Trump stems back to an argument the pair had ‘when we were growing up together in Kenya.’
According to the Daily Mail a representative for Maher did not immediately return a request for comment. ‘I’m not looking for a feud with Donald Trump,’ said Maher on the Tonight Show.
In what is emerging as the battle of the billionaires, Trump said he has banned every brand of whisky sold by William Grant & Sons from his resorts and hotels after Michael Forbes, his obstinate neighbour in Aberdeenshire, was voted Top Scot in a ceremony sponsored by the distiller’s leading brand, Glenfiddich.
The closest resident to Trump’s golf course, Forbes won the award last week after a public vote, beating the Olympic tennis gold medallist and US Open winner Andy Murray. Trump said that decision was “an insult to both Andy Murray and Scotland itself”.
Trump claimed that William Grant & Sons, which broke through the £1bn sales barrier this year and owns several of the world’s most popular whiskies, including Grant’s, was jealous of his own inhouse single malt whisky brand.
The distillery sold more than one million cases of Glenfiddich, but Trump continued: “Glenfiddich should be ashamed of themselves for granting this award to Forbes, just for the sake of publicity.
“Glenfiddich is upset that we created our own single malt whisky using another distillery, which offers far greater products. People at our clubs do not ask for Glenfiddich, and I make a pledge that no Trump property will ever do business with Glenfiddich or William Grant & Sons.
“I hereby call for a boycott on drinking Glenfiddich products because there is no way a result such as this could have been made by the Scottish people.”
After suggesting that the voting for Forbes had been fixed by “a small group of detractors” casting multiple votes, he continued: “Glenfiddich’s choice of Michael Forbes, as Top Scot, will go down as one of the great jokes ever played on the Scottish people and is a terrible embarrassment to Scotland.”
William Grant & Sons gave short shrift to Trump’s criticisms, which he first aired on Twitter on Tuesday, insisting it had nothing to do with the voting for the award, which Glenfiddich has sponsored for 15 years.
It had never interfered with the outcome, it said, and insisted Forbes’s victory should be respected.
“We understand that there may have been some confusion and misunderstanding concerning the structure and running of the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards,” the firm said in a statement.
“Top Scot is a totally open category in which the people of Scotland can vote for whomsoever they choose and Glenfiddich has no influence on this decision. [The] Top Scot may be one of that year’s category nominees or may come from any walk of life. The person receiving the greatest number of votes, cast by the people of Scotland, wins the award.”
It added: “In the history of these awards, we are not aware of the Top Scot award causing any offence or upset to anyone and it is not our intention to do so now. These awards were set up to give the people of Scotland a vote and we must respect their decision.”
New York:New York) Ucs News : This week it was revealed that Donald Trump has added the words Bloviating Ignoramus to the more than 200 trademark applications that contain his own name. The 200-plus number is held up as an example of his greed; his need to increase the value of his name (claimed to be $3 billion) by attaching it to “every kind of product imaginable, from hotels to perfume to a vanity beer label.”
A search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website shows the good, the bad, and the ugly:
Trump Bloviating Ignoramus
Trumps Bad Hair
The Trump Art Collection
The Trump Follies
Trump Birther Moron
York:New York) Ucs News : Donald Trump is hoping to chip away at Apple’s dominance in the tablet market with the launch of its Bloviating Ignoramus A500, set to hit Best Buy shelves on July 24. The eloquently named tablet will under cut the iPad‘s price with a starting price of US$449.99, and will run Google’s Android 3.0 operating system.
Trump’s tablet will sport a 10.1-inch display, NVIDIA‘s Tegra 250 1GHz dual core processor, is just over half an inch thick and weighs 1.69 pounds. It includes 16GB of storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI-out, an SD card reader, a 5 megapixel and a 2 megapixel camera, GPS, and Trump claims it has a 10-hour battery life.
In comparison, Apple’s 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 costs $499, includes a 9.7-inch display, Apple’s own A5 1GHz dual core processor, is .34-inches thick, and weighs 1.33 pounds. The entry-level iPad includes 16GB storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a dock connector that supports HDMI-out, front and rear-facing cameras that support less than 1 megapixel resolution, and a 10-hour battery life.
The Bloviating Ignoramus A500 can take advantage of the Android Marketplace for third party apps, but it doesn’t support Apple’s App Store or the iTunes Store, nor does it offer the same overall user experience Apple offers with its iOS ecosystem.
While Trump may have a few more features in his tablet, it doesn’t offer the same user-friendly experience Apple has created for the iPad, and that may be harder to overcome than Trump anticipates.
Since he called for “revolution” after President Obama’s reelection, Donald Trump has seemed a little chastened on Twitter. His feed has become a dull litany of inspirational quotes from old generals and presidents, mixed with plugs for his hotels during the holidays and occasional concerns about the fiscal cliff and Paula Broadwell’s marriage.
But if you’ve stopped following him, well, a little of the crazy is back. In recent days, Trump has picked fights with Cher, Rosie O’Donnell and Chelsea Handler, and even gone after the Red Cross. And sometimes he just randomly defends himself from all the people who are disgusted by him. Here’s a taste:
I was nice to loser @Rosie and she attacked me–it just shows never let up with a bully. They only fade when you hit them hard!
21 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Donald J. Trump
I am going to give @Rosie a pass. @Rosie is desperate to get back on TV so she can be on yet another show that can be quickly canceled.
21 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Baiting the Huffington Post:
Donald J. Trump
It’s Monday. How many people got fired from @HuffingtonPost today?
20 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Picking on Cher:
Donald J. Trump
All because of me- people don’t care about you Cher. “@cher My week on twitter 1k retweets , 29 new listings 15k new followers 2k mentions.”
20 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Donald J. Trump
.@cher–I don’t wear a “rug”—it’s mine. And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn’t work.
14 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Bringing the crazy to Chelsea Handler:
Donald J. Trump
.@chelseahandler–stop calling my office for me to do your rather “gross” show–I have less interest in you than Andre.
19 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
�Donald J. Trump
.@chelseahandler—stop trying to get your hotelier boyfriend back—a lost cause—he can do much better!
19 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Misleading people about the Red Cross:
�Donald J. Trump
.@RedCross CEO’s salary in 2011 was $951,957. Where is the outrage?
20 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Watching MSNBC promos:
�Donald J. Trump
.@maddow Standing in front of wind turbines is sad. Rachel, windmills are terrible for the environment—
13 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
�Donald J. Trump
It makes me feel so good to hit “sleazebags” back — much better than seeing a psychiatrist (which I never have!)
19 Nov 12 ReplyRetweetFavorit
There is no “robust” evidence that renewable energy developments are hurting Scotland‘s tourism industry, a parliamentary inquiry has said.
Holyrood’s economy committee also said the Scottish government’s ambitious green energy targets could be met.
But MSPs warned they were being put at risk because of a lack of finance.
Ministers want to see the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs generated from renewable sources by 2020, as part of its drive to make the country Europe’s green “capital”.
Continue reading the main story
Global investors – be warned”
Trump Organisation statement
Mr Trump, who gave evidence in person to the inquiry, is opposing plans to build an offshore wind farm near his £1bn golf resort in Menie, Aberdeenshire.
He said Scotland was committing “financial suicide” by wanting to create a “wind farm landscape”.
The businessman told the inquiry wind farms were inefficient, could not operate without big subsides, “killed massive amounts of wildlife” and would damage tourism.
When challenged to provide statistical evidence for his arguments, Mr Trump told the committee in April: “I am the evidence”, adding: “I am considered a world-class expert in tourism, so when you say, ‘where is the expert and where is the evidence’, I’m the evidence.”
In its inquiry report, the committee said: “No witness has provided the committee with robust, empirical evidence, as opposed to anecdotal comment and opinion, that tourism is being negatively affected by the development of renewable projects.”
Responding to the committee’s findings, the Trump Organisation suggested the inquiry was a “white wash”, adding: “The report, with findings like these, does not inspire confidence – it fails entirely to address the costs to the public and the impact on tourism, communities and the lives of ordinary people.
“This government cannot be trusted, they will say and do anything, including lie, to support their political goals.
“The Scottish economy is condemned to suffer a downward spiral, if this thinking continues – global investors be warned.”
Elsewhere, the economy committee report warned the green energy targets were at risk because companies were struggling to get finance, and said the planning system and investment in industry skills must be looked at.
Elsewhere, the committee said:
Significant investment in infrastructure is needed to grow the renewables industry amid a “reluctance” of some banks to invest, particularly in small and medium sized projects;
Renewable energy skill shortages means there is a risk the target will not be met without investment in science, technology, engineering and maths at school, college and universities.
Under-pressure councils need help due to high volumes of planning applications.
Greater consideration of the economic benefits of community renewable projects should be considered under the planning system.
The UK government should “end industry uncertainty” by finalising their Renewables Obligation Certificate levels.
The Scottish islands are still disadvantaged by the electricity transmission and charging system, making many projects “uneconomic”.
The target to generate 11% of heat demand from renewable sources by 2020 is at risk because of issues surrounding local and domestic heating schemes.
Economy committee convener Murdo Fraser said: “The electricity target can be achieved, but only if the issues outlined in this report are acted upon.
MSPs on the committee said action was needed for Scotland to meet its green energy targets
“Our recommendations are crucial to the success of the renewables industry in Scotland, and focus on issues such as access to finance, the planning system, infrastructure development and investment in skills.”
The Tory MSP said the Scottish and UK governments would have to work together to meet some of the aims in the report.
Mr Fraser added: “The overwhelming message from investors was that strong leadership, and a robust and reliable investment climate and subsidy regime is critical for the targets to be met.
“The committee regrets the reluctance of some banks to invest and in the current financial environment, is concerned that the renewables industry will not have access to the finance it needs to grow, which will ultimately put the targets at risk.”
Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the report’s conclusion that the renewable energy target could be met.
He added: “We welcome the committee’s acknowledgement that renewable energy is a ‘safe bet’ to provide energy security for the people of Scotland and protect us all from energy price shock.
“The positive tone of this report reflects the widespread belief across the industry, the government and its agencies and key stakeholders that renewable energy can deliver huge benefits for Scotland’s people.”
The government welcomed the report.
Penn Jillette’s secrets of “Celebrity Apprentice”: Donald Trump is a whackjob!
I did “The Celebrity Apprentice 2012″as kind of a work/study thang. TV networks are dying. The death throes of religion give us jihads. The death throes of television give us reality shows.
Our sucky TV culture is all PBS’s fault. In 1971, they put a camera crew into the home of Bill and Pat Loud and their children and, in 1973, put everything the crew filmed on TV. The show was called “An American Family,” and viewers watched the Louds’ lives as though it was a TV show. It was a TV show. The Louds went from happy family to D-I-V-O-R-C-E and America watched it happen. Their son Lance became the first totally out gay guy on TV (I guess no one counts the “Hollywood Squares” and “Bewitched”). When Lance died of hep C and complications from HIV years later, there was another TV show.
Before “An American Family,” you would have bet your ass and your colonoscopy video that if you put TV cameras in a room with people, those people would behave better. They’d be kinder, wiser, more measured and more loving than they would be without the cameras. The whole world is watching, so be at your best.
The Hawthorne effect—coined in 1950 in response to factory workers’ productivity increases when they were being observed— manifests in every clinical shrink study of people’s motivations. When anyone watches anyone do anything, the watched people do whatever they’re being watched doing a little better for the short time while they’re being watched. The key is that the behavioral improvements are temporary. If the Hawthorne effect worked for more than a few days with TV cameras, we wouldn’t have “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
I noticed the Hawthorne effect for the first few days of my season of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” but it sure didn’t last long. We celebrities are desperate pigs. I knew several of my co-stars prior to working on “TCA” together. I had hung out with them and worked with them in high-pressure situations. None were close friends, but I liked them all and thought I knew them a bit. But sixteen hours a day with TV cameras all around, doing pointless fake corporate tasks outside one’s skill set with Clay Aiken, and no one worries about the whole world watching (with the exception of anyone who has a job, someone to talk to, a nice view out the window or a solitaire program). You’re happy if you don’t swallow your own tongue.
The secret truth of “The Celebrity Apprentice” is that it isn’t very hard. The tasks are nothing. Makeup starts just after 5 a.m. and the show goes to about 10 p.m., but you spend most of that time doing nothing. Anyone who isn’t in show business could accomplish everything the show called for and have time left over to do their laundry, cook their supper and post pictures of their animal companion on Facebook. “The Celebrity Apprentice” is easy like junior high is easy. All the arithmetic, the creative writing and the history are super simple, but like junior high, you do that easy work surrounded by people who are full-tilt hormone-raging bugnutty. Everyone is panicked, desperate, yelling, swearing, attacking, backstabbing, failing to get laid and acting crazy. With all this drama, any sane person just wants to do more algebra. “The Celebrity Apprentice” is junior high with a better brand of acne cover-up.
Like all desperate celebrities, I’ve been on more than one reality show. I also did “Dancing with the Stars.” I was amazed to find out that “The Celebrity Apprentice” was more honest and straightforward than “DWTS.” The idea of “DWTS” is pretty beautiful: half-assed show folk who aren’t dancers are teamed up with great dancers, and cameras video them while they learn to dance. How well can people learn to do something outside their ken? It’s a beautiful idea. Dance is a joyous celebration of humanity, so it should be an uplifting, inspiring show to watch and even more beautiful to be on.
But I hated the time that was spent with the production trying to get young ambitious Mormon women to cry. Guys behind the cameras would say mean things at attractive young men and women and washed-up celebrities about how it would ruin their lives if they didn’t win.
“The Celebrity Apprentice” is more honest, in that creepy kind of way that the guy who admits he’s a racist is more honest. It doesn’t pretend to be about something beautiful like dance. I think business is beautiful, but “The Celebrity Apprentice” has nothing to do with business. No actual business skills are tested. It’s not even a real game about fake business. I can tell you the rules of chess. I can’t tell you the rules to “The Celebrity Apprentice.” No one can tell you the rules of “The Celebrity Apprentice.” No one. Donald Trump just does what he wants, which is mostly pontificating to people who are sucking up to him, while the network people try to manipulate him into making the highest-rated show they can. Trump can’t be manipulated, so the show isn’t even fair in that way. Annie Duke, the poker genius, and “TCA” veteran, said to me, “It’s a pretend game, about pretend business, where you get pretend fired.” Donald Trump couldn’t fire me. I work for Penn & Teller and he’s never owned any part of us. Trump tried to book Penn & Teller once in Vegas, but we were priced out of his budget. He can’t fire us from the Rio, because he doesn’t own any of Caesars.
But “The Celebrity Apprentice” people are honest. They don’t pretend it’s about something beautiful, and they don’t pretend it’s fair. It’s venal people clawing at stupid, soulless shit in front of the modern-day Scrooge McDuck in order to stay famous.
For one “task,” Donald Trump asked us to create a Macy’s store display and print ads for his new fragrance. Is there anyone who wants to smell like Donald Trump? Mr. Trump thinks so, so we were asked to create advertising. Instead of the usual twenty grand that the show would give to the winning “team leader’s” charity, Donald floated the promise that if he “loved” our promotional material, he would give one hundred thousand dollars to his “loved” one’s charity. Five times the amount that was arbitrarily assigned to this “task.” In other words, if Trump got an ad that he could actually use for his stink-pretty juice, he would pay about twenty percent of what he would have to pay in the free market to hire a professional to do the job properly. Trump was willing to donate one-fifth of what the campaign would be worth to charity. I got fired for coming up with the slogan “You Earned It.” They thought that slogan was “pompous.” My slogan for a perfume with Donald’s picture on it called “Success” was deemed pompous. Wow. The problem was my audience, I think. “You Earned It” isn’t good for the Trumps. It should have been “You Inherited It.”
“TCA” gets the coin on both sides: they get NBC to pay for the show and they get the corporations to pay for the “challenges.”
Trump stays rich in real estate and stays kinda sorta famous for his “brand.” Trump is obsessed with his brand and that’s all you really need to know. Trump is on a game on TV where my showbiz peers, if they want to play the game, have to suck up to him, and I sucked up to him. I’d sit and smile and listen, because I promised the producers I would do my best. The boardrooms went long and I was there to spend about twenty-two hours, over six weeks listening to Trump do his monologues. He’d talk about Occupy Wall Street and global warming while he was deciding whom to pretend to fire from his pretend business. Bill Gates is fighting polio, and I don’t suck up to him, but I was on TV with Donald Trump, so I did my job. I wasn’t even going to say anything about Trump’s hair. I live in a glass house. I’ve always had ugly, out-of-style hair. Trump’s hair is a lot better than mine—but as I sat there for hours half listening to Donald carry on, it struck me exactly what his hair looked like. It looks like cotton candy made of piss. That revelation came to me, and I had to type it here. But my hair is worse.
One day while shooting, I’d had a heart-to-heart talk with Clay Aiken. I would have preferred waterboarding. I don’t like heart-to-heart talks with anyone, but Clay Aiken? Strap me to the board, and put the wet towels over my face. Drowning sounds nice. Clay had put his arm on my shoulder, looked in my eyes and said softly something like, “You know, Penn, I really like you, I do. I think you’re really smart, but I have to talk to you about some things that are bothering me.” Clay told me, gently and kindly, that I was being condescending by talking over people’s heads. He was accusing me of being condescending and he was being … condescending. When someone is busting you for being condescending, it takes a bigger asshole than me to say, “Are you sure you know what ‘condescending’ means? It means to talk down to, not talk over someone’s head. So, you see, honey, I’m not condescending, I’m pompous, let me explain …”
So, I nodded, yeah, I’m condescending. Greed and clawing for fame got me to the point where I was pretending to care what Clay Aiken thought of me. What have I done? What have I done?
Clay spent over an hour and a half of his time, and wasted much more than that of mine, having a heart-to-heart with me over how he, Clay Aiken, thought I should treat Lou Ferrigno. He wasn’t talking about how Clay Aiken thought I should treat Clay Aiken, about which I would have had to work hard to give a flying fuck. Clay was talking to me about how he, Clay Aiken, thought I should treat the guy who played a cartoon character painted green, decades ago.
If you’ve gotten yourself into a situation when Clay Aiken is going to talk about his feelings with you, it’s time to kill yourself. If it weren’t being documented, you could kill him quickly and bury him in a shallow grave—who’s going to notice? You could go on living your happy normal life, but if there are TV cameras pointed at you while Clay is pretending to soul search, and your wife is going to find out and some of your friends from the carny might watch the show in a bar somewhere, well … you should kill yourself.
Clay explained how I should deal with Ferrigno. Clay said that he knew how to deal with Lou because Clay himself had worked for years with intellectually disabled students before he discovered himself on “American Idol.” He thought I should deal with this grown man—who was our peer, who had punched me in friendship—as if I was dealing with an intellectually disabled child, so … get this … so I wouldn’t come off as condescending in front of the non-groovy, but very bitchy Clay.
I should have jumped. At least some of you might have respected that. No one respects me talking to Clay Aiken about feelings. Not even Clay. He was just doing it to win a TV game so he wouldn’t have to go back to condescending to mentally disabled children for a career.
What happened? Did I forget how to say “Shut the fuck up?” Or, “I’m sorry, I think I left the bathwater running in Las Vegas, and you know it’s the desert, there’s a water shortage.” Or, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak English. I learned our Vegas shows phonetically.” Or, “Hey, Clay, there are more TV cameras on the other side of the room. Why don’t you have a heart-to-heart with Arsenio Hall? That might get you more close-ups.”
Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” introduced me to the idea of “ego depletion.” I read it after my tour of duty on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and it explained some of the mysteries I experienced doing that show. Studies have shown that if you make someone very self-conscious about everything they do and say, their self-control just gets tired out. The ego can be exhausted. It’s the very trying to be one’s best on camera that puts one at one’s worst on camera. You just can’t keep it up that long. You want to be at your best, but pretty soon the internal censors are exhausted, take a break, and pretty soon sweet Arsenio is yelling things like, “I’ll tell you what a fucking bitch whore she is!”
The non-sexual question I’ve been asked the most since “TCA” is “Were those others just faking?” It’s a question I can’t answer. We were all professionals, we were all aware of the camera, but we were also living our lives. It makes it very crazy. I spent a lot of time saying “It’s not real.” But that’s not true. It’s also not TV. It’s really not TV. When I was having my heart-to-heart with Clay, the full endless horror of it was never broadcast. It was edited down to a minute. When I’m on Piers Morgan and he’s ripping me a new asshole, that’s TV, I know that every word he says is going out. But “The Celebrity Apprentice” is so long that you know the vast majority of stuff will never be seen, but cameras are still on; it could be seen. It’s Schrödinger’s showbiz: it’s all fake and it’s all real at the same time. The situation itself makes everyone crazy.
The production isn’t entirely blameless. There was a lot of alcohol available at any time it could be even slightly justified, but most of us never drank a drop, and even the drinkers were moderate. But the producers didn’t need anyone drunk; they got their telegenic outbursts from ego depletion. And after someone had an ego-depleted outburst, they’d reward the impropriety. In real reality, there would have been hell to pay for screaming epithets at people, but in “TCA” world, there are no repercussions. No one loves anyone on the set enough to say, “Hey listen, man, take a little break and think about this.” No one cares. We’re all trying to save our own sorry asses. Then the next day, Trump says something insane like, “I’m glad you showed some backbone. I like passion.” He means, of course, he likes passion for his little TV show, but it feels like he’s saying the outburst was a good thing. We’ve chosen to make this whackjob, with the cotton candy piss hair and the birther shit, into someone we want to please.
I made a deal with the producers and myself that I would pretend to care what Donald Trump thought of me. I believe, in the real world, that I care less about what Trump thinks of me than he cares what I think of him. When he was into his free-form rants in front of a captive audience, he would talk about articles written about him and defend himself against charges made, as far as I could tell, by random bloggers with a few hundred hits. Attacks that could have no impact on his life at all. It sounded like this cat was Googling himself, being bugged by what was written, and then defending himself to people who were trying to improve their careers by playing a TV game with him. He sat on this throne, and told us he’d made a good business decision by selling a house of his for much less than the asking price and these bloggers should know that. They should know he was a good businessman. The nightmare of Trump is not that he doesn’t care what people think; it’s that he desperately cares what people think and … he’s doing the best he can. I don’t know Donald Trump. We’ve crossed paths a few times, but I’ve never talked to him. He talked to me, but I was on a show where I wasn’t supposed to talk back. I still did, but only a little. I disagree with him about a lot, but you know, I disagree with you about a lot, and we still get along. He was wicked wrong about the birther shit, but I’m wicked wrong about a lot, and we both have stupid hair.
Excerpted from “Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday” by Penn Jillette. Published by Blue Rider Press. Reprinted with permission of the publisher and author.
A doctor analyses the problem
The delicate procedure – likely to take up to five hours – has never been attempted before. But doctors are hopeful Mr Trump will make a full recovery.
The star of The Apprentice said this morning “I’ve had this penis on my head for most of my life, but it’s gotten a lot more obvious in recent times. It’s hard for people to take my conspiracy theories seriously when there’s this cock dangling down around my eyes.
A doctor analyses the problem
“Even I have trouble looking at myself in the mirror sometimes. Which is saying something.”
The operation will be filmed for an upcoming reality TV show The Appendage.
With US gun sales at a record high following Barack Obama’s re-election, American businessman Donald Trump has confirmed that he’s bought most of them, formed his own constitutional militia, and is planning to overthrow the US government.
The follicly-distressed tycoon, whose extravagant, outspoken style has earned him the nickname of ‘the twat’, now has a small private army of around 300 unemployed gas station attendants from all over the province of Dirtgully, New Hampshire, who are currently holed up in a heavily fortified penthouse near Mount Mansfield, protected by an efficiently snooty concierge.
When the time is right, Trump intends to lead them to the very gates of the White House and then, from a reasonable distance, ‘watch our fight to reclaim liberty’.
“The forces of evil, which recently voted in free and fair elections to appoint somebody I don’t personally care for, must be overthrown,” Mr Trump said over the ‘Citizens’-Band Radio’ of Twitter. “Our revolutionary movement, which I have named The Trump Martyrs (copyright pending, legal action to follow for use without permission), intends to stand up for the god-fearing downtrodden inexplicably irritated rich white folks of America.”
A perennially controversial figure, Donald Trump worked his way up from being little more than the son of a wealthy property developer, to become one of America’s wealthiest property developers. It is to this unorthodox upbringing he attributes his sense of fair play, compassion and keen interest in having pots and pots of money with which to buy wives, influence and bits of Scotland.
In 2010, Mr Trump announced his interest in becoming President of the United States and was astonished to discover there was more to getting the job than just asking for it. “You would not believe the obstacles to becoming Commander-in-Chief,” he told ABC’s Power Brunch in May 2011. “Campaigning, coming up with policies and all that horse-hockey. If I’m at home with Melania and the kids and we’re playing Monopoly I just declare myself the winner and we’re done; and if there’s any complaints I remind them whose board it is.”
Politically, he describes himself as tacking to the liberal wing of the anti-gay marriage, pro-life, anti-gun control, anti-medicare, China-hating segment of the Republican Party: “I believe in the inalienable right to hate all this stuff,” he said.
Mr Trump equipped his band of patriotic simpletons by tasking contestants on his NBC reality show The Apprentice to secure a large cache of illegal firearms and explosives. Team A successfully negotiated the deal with a Lebanese gentleman. Team B hasn’t been heard from since.
Donald Trump‘s gambles don’t always go as planned. Especially when that gamble is gambling itself. In February 2009, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the third time in a row — an extremely rare feat in American business. The casino company, founded in the 1980s, runs the Taj Mahal, the Trump Plaza and the Trump Marina. All three casinos are located in Atlantic City, N.J., where the gambling industry has faced a decline in tourists who prefer gambling in Pennsylvania and Connecticut instead. Trump defended himself by distancing himself from the company, though he owned 28% of its stock. “Other than the fact that it has my name on it — which I’m not thrilled about — I have nothing to do with the company,” he said. He resigned from Trump Entertainment soon after that third filing, and in August of that year he, along with an affiliate of Beal Bank Nevada, agreed to buy the company for $100 million. The company reported it emerged from bankruptcy in July 2010.