May 31, 2017

Fairly Unbelievable

"Fairly unbelievable" is how White House press secretary and Melissa McCarthy impersonator Sean Spicer described how the president would describe his relationship with Angela Merkel. Honest.
Q. Sean, where do you see the states of the US-German relationship right now? And how important is that relationship to the president and the American public?
A. I think the relationship that the president has had with Merkel he would describe as fairly unbelievable. They get along very well. He has a lot of respect for her. They continue to grow the bond that they had during their talks in the G7. 
Cool, huh?

Fairly unbelievable could also be used to describe a whole lot of other stuff in the news, coming from or about this administration.

For example, could the Department of Homeland Security be making public information on  domestic violence victims and children who have been trafficked? Fairly unbelievable, I know, but it seems to be true.  DHS, you recall, created the Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement (VOICE) office,  at the president's request and to further his efforts at casting illegal immigrants as the rapists, murderers and drug dealers he told us about as a candidate. To go along with VOICE, there was a database, called DHS-VINE (Victim Information and Notification Exchange) where people can track the cases of the bad hombres who are committing crimes against white Americans, above and beyond being in the country illegally.

Unfortunately, the database includes the names, addresses and other information of illegal immigrants who happen to be crime victims themselves, including domestic violence and trafficking victims - which means that it will allow their abusers to keep tabs on them, when they were released, and so on.
"We're concerned that DHS does not seem to be seriously considering the concerns of victims of crime," says Archi Pyati, chief of policy for the Tahirih Justice Center. The inclusion of survivors' information, she says, is a violation of federal law protecting the information of people applying for special visas or other protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking.  
DHS says it will remove the information, although pressure will be kept on them to make sure it happens.

Or, this example. Could it be possible that about half of president Trump's Twitter followers are fake? Fairly unbelievable, I know, but it appears to be true. There's this software called Twitter Audit, which allows an analysis of any Twitter user's followers to determine if they're real users (people who actually have profiles, and who tweet) or bots or otherwise added to pad the all-important bottom line. You can buy those, if you're so vain.  Anyway, Trump's analysis shows he has about 51% fake followers. According to this article,
This isn't the first time someone has pointed out that a good portion of Trump's Twitter following is fake, but what's interesting is that its fakeness seems to be increasing. In January, journalist Yashar Ali ran an audit on Trump's Twitter account and found that 68% of his then 20 million followers were real. Now he's at 30 million followers, but only 51% are real, which means of 10 million followers Trump has gained since January, about 8.3 million are fake. 
The article also notes that President Obama has both more followers in total than Trump (89 million to 30 million) and a much higher percentage of real ones (79% to 51%). Nothing unbelievable about that...

Or, how about this one? Could Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross really be as clueless as he sounded, talking about the reaction in Saudi Arabia when Trump was there?  Watch the video, or take a look below at a transcript of his interview with Becky Quick:
Ross: There's no question that they're liberalizing their society. And I think the other thing that was fascinating to me: There was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard. Instead...
Fairly unbelievable?  You betcha!  Ross doubled down:
Quick: But Secretary Ross, that may be not necessarily because they don't have those feelings there, but because they control people and don't allow them to come and express their feelings quite the same as we do here.
Ross: In theory, that could be true, but boy there was certainly no sign of it. There was not a single effort at any incursion. There wasn't anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood. And at the end of the trip, as I was getting back on the plane, the security guards from the Saudi side who'd been helping us over the weekend all wanted to pose for a big photo op, And then they gave me two gigantic bushels of dates as a present, as a think you for the trip that we had had. That was a pretty from the heart very genuine gesture and it really touched me.  
In theory? Seriously? Is he Secretary of Commerce, or Secretary of Comedy?

And finally, I leave you with these tweets, which nicely summarize our fairly unbelievable president.
Read the first series (they're in reverse sequence) to understand Trump's opinion on unnamed sources used in articles about him or his administration.


And then, of course, this retweet by the president two days later, speaks for itself.