Steele, Christopher Steele

What is to be made of the news of a dossier suggesting Trump has deep and compromising ties to Russia?  Much of the discussion seems to focus on an alleged honey trap (or, “kompromat,” as the Russians refer to it) that involved Trump and call girls and could be used for blackmail.  It’s hard for me to understand how this might degrade his image, though.  He already manifests a Berlusconi-like persona, so how damaging could a sex video really be?  I think this focus simply reflects the predilection of media headlines for salacity.  Far more damning are the allegations that the “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years.  Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance” as noted in the summary opening of the original document.

Of course, Trump denies the dossier’s authenticity (what else would he do?), as does Russia.  I think the most relevent question is, Is the author credible?  He certainly seems to be.  It would be great to chat him up a bit.  Unfortunately, he’s currently in hiding.  And, that’s a pretty smart thing to be if the document is bogus.  It’s an even smarter thing to be if it’s not.

Here are various takes on the story.  What do you think?

The story breaks in Mother Jones (October 31, 2016)

Buzzfeed names Christopher Steele as the author of the dossier (Jan 10, 2016)

The Telegraph lists five main allegations of the dossier (Jan 11, 2016)

The New York Times talks about Christopher Steele (Jan 12, 2016)

The Sun talks about Christopher Steele (Jan 13, 2016)

Time talks about Christopher Steele (Jan 13, 2016)

The Los Angeles Times talks about Christopher Steele (Jan 15, 2016)




Insults in the twitterverse


I wanted to create a word cloud infographic that explores The Donald’s tweets.  I would like it to have a slider bar that adjusts the start and end of the date range.  It would also be nice to have a color ramp for the words so that the emotive intent could be seen easily (to know what mood he’s in over a given time range).  I’m going to ask someone at the New York Times if they might create this.  I think it would be worth doing and it’s the kind of thing they might do.  In searching for a contact, I found these articles:

I’m going to email Kevin Quealy and see if he can point me in the right direction.  It wouldn’t be very hard, but it would need some very basic programming in a program like Python and I haven’t learned it yet.  I know I’ll never really be important enough to get my own personal presidential insult, but at least I feel like I have something important in my life to which to aspire.  Next up, we really should discuss James Bond, shouldn’t we?

Second post!

This is where things get interesting.  This is where we see if the whole blog thing really works.  Anybody can make a first post.  But this is my second.  And it’s going to be wonderful.  I’m going to add files.  realdonaldtrump-tweets-2016-03-05-2017-01-13  There’s one now.  I’m going to add images.


Oh, they’re lovely, aren’t they?  realdonaldtrump-tweets-2016-03-05-2017-01-13 There goes another file.

So, what’s going on here?  I downloaded all of The Donald’s tweets from March 5, 2016 to today (January 13, 2017–Friday the 13th).  I went back to March because something about twitter limits downloads to 3200 entries.  I think it’s enough, though.  Then I ran the text of those emails through a few word cloud generators and produced the images above.

The first thing that stood out to me was the word “Thank.”  It shows up a lot.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I did some word counts in Microsoft word, based upon the word clouds, and found the following.  First of all, the most common word is actually “Trump.”  It shows up 1123 times.  But, it often shows up in twitter names, like @realDonaldTrump (270 times)  If we subtract this latter reference, that brings our total down to 853, but a lot of these may be twitter names of his children and such.  Anyway, I’m going to use the number 853.  Therefore, the top ten words in these Trump tweets are these:

  1. trump@853
  2. great@640
  3. america@585
  4. hillary@558
  5. thank@543
  6. make@380
  7. clinton@360
  8. new@341
  9. crooked@276
  10. people@212

Also, the hashtag “#MakeAmericaGreatAgain” shows up 183 times and the phrase “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” lists 87 times.  If we subtract both types of instances of this slogan (270), and if we subtract the 208 instances of the phrase “Crooked Hillary” (just to see what would happen), our list would look like this:

  1. trump@853
  2. thank@543
  3. great@370
  4. clinton@360
  5. new@341
  6. america@315
  7. hillary@288
  8. people@212
  9. make@110
  10. crooked@68

But, of course, the last two might not make the list.  What interested me is, apart from the sloganeering (“Make America Great Again” and “Crooked Hillary”), was, what was the man interested in tweeting about?  “New” seems to often refer to New York, New Jersey, or news.  Therefore, I think the things most on Trump’s tweet-mind this last year have been:

  1. himself
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. thankfulness
  4. greatness
  5. America
  6. people

Although people are on the bottom, I am glad that they made the list.

First blog post

This is my very first post. Historians will reference the capital “T” in the previous sentence as the beginning of a new era of humanity, a time of enlightenment somehow qualitatively different from those that preceded it.  A time of peace.

WordPress has provided an image for free with my free account.  It terrifies me.  It makes me think of one of my greatest fears–being abandoned at sea with no external form of flotation, futilely splashing about in desperation and panic with no sense of direction or hope, waiting for exhaustion to overcome my fleeting, reptilian will to live until my muscles freeze and I sink into breathless darkness.  This would be my last living vision.  I would be dead in the next instant.  With the inauguration of the next president of the United States of America just one week away, I could think of no better image.  Thank you, WordPress.  You inspire me.