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The controversy around Trump’s fast-food football feast, explained

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Trump presenting a buffet of fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers football team.

People are calling Trump’s McDonald’s and Wendy’s meal for the Clemson Tigers racist and classist.

When President Trump welcomed the Clemson Tigers, national college football champions, to the White House on January 14, he served them burgers, pizza, and fries from some of America’s most storied institutions: fast-food chains.

The resulting buffet, which included hamburgers, fries, salads, and fish sandwiches from McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s alongside Domino’s pizza, was a strange choice, particularly for an event held in the 140-seat State Dining Room, which traditionally hosts formal dinners for ambassadors and heads of state.

But it was also a choice that Trump and the White House blamed on the partial government shutdown, now the longest in US history. Like many other federal institutions, the White House kitchen is not currently operating, which is partly a result of Trump’s refusal to support a bill that doesn’t include funding for a $5 billion wall on the Mexican border.

In an explanation for the evening’s menu, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted, “The Democrats’ refusal to compromise on border security and reopen the government didn’t stop President Trump from hosting national champion @ClemsonFB tonight. He personally paid for the event to be catered by some of America’s great fast food joints.”

Though he told reporters that he had personally bought “300 hamburgers,” in a tweet the next morning that number had skyrocketed to “1000 hamberders [sic].” (Photos and videos of the scene show that the lower number is likely the more correct one.)

But though this provides a clear, if a bit insignificant, portrait of the ease at which Trump is capable of lying, others have accused Trump of disrespecting the athletes by serving them cheap fast food. Some have also argued that the right thing to do would have been to bring in his kitchen staff at the Trump International Hotel, which is just three blocks from the White House.

There were, of course, the sorts of viral tweets that one would expect on such an occasion. One poked fun at the juxtaposition of presumably hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of silver and china “holding $29.50 of lukewarm dog shit,” another called it “probably the best metaphor for Trump’s presidency that I can think of.” A third likened the move to something that Talladega Nights’ Ricky Bobby would do, comparing Trump to the wealthy yet unsophisticated protagonist.

At least some of the guests, for their part, seem to have appreciated the dinner choice; Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence told TMZ that “It was awesome.” Trump himself has also long professed to be a fan of fast food, possibly out of a fear of being poisoned, so it’s likely that he enjoyed the meal just fine.

But for some, Trump’s comments, particularly when he speculated to reporters prior to the event that “I would think that’s their favorite food,” referring to chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, rang as classist or racist. It’s not much of a leap to assume that Trump guessed that many Clemson Tigers are black or come from working-class backgrounds, and thus presumed they prefer cheap, fatty foods over anything the White House would typically serve for guests in the State Dining Room.

This is a false assumption — studies show that people actually eat more fast food as their income levels rise, and about one-third of all US adults eat fast food on a given day — but it’s still a widespread one, and one that contributes to further stereotypes about black and poor people’s consumption habits being somehow less virtuous than rich people’s.

Yet as one person on Twitter pointed out, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a different president, perhaps one with less of a history of racism, buying a bunch of fast food for a college football team and coming across as “fun” or “accessible.”

To suggest that there’s something wrong with eating fast food at all is its own ethical conundrum — on the one hand, as Vox’s David Roberts notes, America’s largest fast-food corporations are predicated on “a vast network of animal suffering and ecological destruction and has in turn produced an epidemic of ill health.”

There is a difference, however, between criticizing the industry that makes fast food inescapable and proclaiming one’s own moral superiority over those who eat it (which is to say, most of us). No, there’s nothing wrong with college athletes, or the president, or anyone, really, eating fast food if they want to. But Trump’s comments that presume college athletes, who likely take great care of their bodies, would prefer a cheap buffet of burgers and fries over the kinds of food that one would expect to be served during a White House visit, have raised concern for some.

Burger King, meanwhile, has responded in its typical “relatable brand” voice on Twitter.

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Dadster
19 hours ago
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No KFC or Chick Fil A?
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Christmas Spirit

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Jesus has gotten really weird ever since he got that Mankiw textbook.


Today's News:
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Dadster
9 days ago
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Mankiw's textbooks sucked.
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Massive New Migrant Caravan To Leave Honduras; Overloaded El Paso Faces Imminent "Crisis"

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A new, larger migrant caravan is set to leave Honduras on Jan. 15 according to Spanish-language media and migrant rights advocates. 

"They say they are even bigger and stronger than the last caravan," according to Irma Garrido of migrant advocacy group Reactiva Tijuana Foundation. 

News of the new caravan comes as thousands of Central American migrants from an October caravan remain stranded at various cities along the US-Mexico border as they face wait times of up to several months for the United States to process their asylum requests. What's more, if migrants cannot justify their asylum claims, they may be denied. 

Coordinators who helped direct the migrants on the 2,000-mile trek with bullhorns, arranging for buses and giving advice along the way, have mostly vanished. Many of the migrants say they feel abandoned and unsure where to turn next. Some are ready to return home.

Garrido said this new, larger caravan will probably be joined by more people in El Salvador and in Guatemala, but she said they don’t plan on coming straight to the Tijuana-San Diego border, where resources are already stretched nearly to a breaking point. -LA Times

"They will stay in the south of Mexico in Chiapas and Oaxaca. Their aim is to request work there," said Garrido. 

Meanwhile, an incoming congresswoman of the Texas border city of El Paso has warned of an imminent "crisis" as the city scrambles to accommodate at least 1,600 migrants dumped by federal authorities over the last several days. The issue is that the entire town is packed to the brim with fans attending the Sun Bowl college football game El Paso has hosted since 1935. 

"We're facing a real crisis coming up … to find places for all of these (migrant) families," said Democratic representative-elect Veronica Escobar.

Escobar said migrants who can't be housed in shelters have been staying in hotel rooms paid by Annunciation House, the non-profit spearheading the efforts to house and feed them. But, she said, if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues releasing large numbers of migrants, the El Paso community will struggle to find places for them because many hotels have been booked by people attending Monday's game.

Escobar added it's already been "very, very difficult and very challenging" to put up the migrants dropped off by ICE. And, she said, the coming hotel crunch will only make the task tougher. -CBS News

During a Thursday bilingual press conference, Annunciation House Executive Director Ruben Garcia announced that US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had dropped off over 1,600 migrants in El Paso since Sunday - and that Wednesay's delivery of 500 migrants was the largest he's seen. On Thursday, around 320 more were taken to El Paso. 

According to ICE, they had to release the migrants due to overcrowding in their holding facilities as well as concerns over laws governing how long families can remain detained by immigration authorities. A spokesman for the agency told CBS that they have been notifying local officials before dropping the groups off, however charities have told the agency that they are having trouble accommodating the migrants. 

"We are living through an immigration crisis that is in part driven by a disastrous ruling by a district court judge in the Ninth Circuit that incentives illegal alien adults to put their children in the hands of smugglers and traffickers. The Flores Settlement Agreement has created an immigration loophole that rewards parents for bringing their children with them to the United States," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman Katie Waldman in a statement emailed to CBS on Friday. 

Escobar called on the Trump administration to help El Paso by undertaking the "short-term" solution of investing in "family-friendly" holding facilities for migrants. "This really is a federal obligation and the federal government needs to step in and build some temporary housing facilities, in the way that they did in 2016," she said. "That needs to happen immediately."

The long-term solution, she added, is to invest heavily in the "Northern Triangle" of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to curb the region's widespread poverty and intensifying gang violence. -CBS News

"We need to work with Central America and make probably some significant investments there and hopefully, through good collaboration, find some solutions to the poverty and crime that are driving thousands and thousands of people from Central America into the United States," said Escobar. 

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Dadster
17 days ago
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Need to identify parties underwriting this effort. Political hay growing on both sides of the fence.
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http://screenshotsofdespair.tumblr.com/post/181285676639

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Dadster
24 days ago
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Yup.
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Charles Hugh Smith: Preventing The Final Fall Of Our Democratic Republic

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Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

There's mounting evidence that the Age of American Exceptionalism is grinding to an end...

Demographically, in the U.S. (as well as many other developed nations), the prospects of the younger generations are substantially less than those of the Baby Boomers. The same is true socioeconomically as well; the wealth gap between the 1% and everyone else continues to accelerate.

What's been the root cause of this slide towards greater and greater inequity? And can anything be done to reverse it?

Economist analyst and author Charles Hugh Smith addresses these core questions in his new book Pathfinding Our Destiny: Preventing The Final Fall Of Our Democratic Republic. Charles concludes that we are the terminal end of a multi-century process of centralization that is no longer working for society's benefit:

We have a political system which is becoming increasingly tied into money. Now, people have always said, like from 100 years ago, "money is the mother's milk of politics". Money and power have always coalesced around political power. But in the last, say, 70 years, post-World War II, the central governments and central banks of the world have grown immensely in their centralized power.

And one of the theses I'm proposing in my book is that centralization itself in now the problem. We've been told for 400 years that it's been the solution. Just centralize power and wealth into tighter and tighter control and then that will somehow solve whatever problems we have.

The intense concentration of power is becoming blatantly visible these days. Six media companies control most of the media in the U.S. It used to be six banks, but now I think it's down to only three or four, who control most of the financial system. And we see this in one sector after another. Facebook dominates social media. Google dominates search and ads and so on. And this makes perfect sense is the system we have now.

In other words, it's really efficient, and it's very profitable. If you can establish a cartel or a monopoly or a quasi-monopoly, then you can just raise your prices, and people have to pay it and it's profitable. Everybody wins, right? The shareholders win. The managers win. The public? Well... eh, they don’t have a choice.

My book's conclusion at the higher, systemic level is that it's critical for people today to understand that we're not going to be able to reform the current system as its structured and that we're going to have to radically de-centralize power, wealth and capital. And we're going to have to open the doors, so to speak, to a bunch of experimentation to find out what works best.

I think the best path is actually just asking people to develop those values. And I think those values are going to be the ones that are adaptive and flexible and most likely to bring personal success, community success, to those people that hold those values and understand that that's the future.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Charles Hugh Smith (45m:49s).

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Dadster
41 days ago
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Popper

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At least, I don't think there's evidence. My claim that there's no evidence hasn't been falsified. At least, not that I know of.
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Dadster
47 days ago
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No one has proven I didn't like this item!
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