Human Auto-Tune’s Vapid Pitch

Low hanging synergy-fruit Ivanka Trump brought her women’s empowerment corporate cliché roadshow and shakedown fest to Saudi Arabia along with her embarrassing father. Unsurprisingly, real-life activists who are resisting the nightmarish autocracy in Saudi Arabia weren’t buying what the auto-tuned Trump was selling. Via WaPo:

“All the women that Ivanka Trump met have a guardian,” said Aziza al-Yousef, a 58-year-old activist here who has campaigned to abolish the guardianship rules [i.e., necessity of obtaining male permission for work, education, travel, healthcare, etc.]. A retired professor of computer science at King Saud University, she was recently rebuffed when she tried to deliver a 14,700-signature petition on eliminating the guardian system to the government.

“All these achievements depend on whether you’re lucky to be born in a family where your guardian will be understanding, will help you,” Yousef said. “If Ivanka is interested in women empowerment and human rights, she should see activists, and not just officials.”

“It’s not about Ivanka speaking at the meeting,” said activist Loujain al-Hathloul, “but is it actually useful for these women from Saudi Arabia to speak as well? Is their contribution in such events helpful to us Saudi women in general, not princesses or business owners or rich women? Does it actually help us? I doubt it.”

I hear you, Saudi sisters. The ambulatory teeth whitening strip’s* patter about women’s empowerment rings a bit hollow in the States too. Particularly when she holds herself up as an example of how pluck and determination drive entrepreneurial success.

Pffft. It would be a lot easier to watch these entitled pricks monetize the U.S. government if they didn’t expect us to pretend that they’re doing us all a favor.

PS: Help the sweet old lost dog pictured below find his way home — details here!

And open thread!

* H/T: Sam Bee

75 replies
  1. Corner Stone says:

    Pffft. It would be a lot easier to watch these entitled pricks monetize the U.S. government if they didn’t expect us to pretend that they’re doing us all a favor.

    What’s great is just the whole deal of it. They trumpeted out that Jared personally got LHM to cut a sweeter deal on the $110B arms deal, which confused me because wtf? Why is that a net positive for America or a nominal US MNC?
    And then the Saudis et al dish back the sweet, sweet kickback directly to Jared (through Ivanka). Right in our fucking face. The whole thing is such a disgusting out of left field clustergrift. It is hilarious in how brazen and transparent it is.

  2. Corner Stone says:

    I don’t know if McMaster has kids but if he does somebody should check on them for proof of life. I’m afraid someone kidnapped them and are holding them hostage to get HR to continue doing this to himself.

  3. hovercraft says:

    So Hillary and the deep state have penetrated Saudi activists?
    Wow I’m impressed!!
    How is the poor Shitgibbon and his incompetent band of grifters supposed to get their grift on if they can’t get anyone to look at the shiny object while they loot the world? That’s what was supposed to make this all worth it, it’s just not fair! Don;t you people understand, they need the money!

  4. hovercraft says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Someone on CNN actually called it what it is, a half a trillion dollar, (when you factor in all the “investments” in the US) bribe in exchange for the US turning a blind eye to all their oppression, funding of radicals, and human rights abuses, oh and never mind the atrocities in Yemen. For the Saudis fluffing him is a minor price to pay to get card blache to continue as they are and get a whole bunch of new toys that guarantee their military is better armed than Iran.

  5. germy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Rick Klein‏Verified account
    @rickklein

    McMaster: “I don’t remember exactly what the president said” to Russians in Oval. #thisweek

    Judd Legum‏Verified account @JuddLegum 6h6 hours ago

    Weird. A few days ago he remembered fine and said everything was “wholly appropriate”

  6. No One You Know says:

    Ivanka’s assurance that the “more than fifty leaders of Arab States have joined my father in unity” of make a hilarious caption for the camera pan of the Donald’s audience. I can’t even get that much from Melania’s posture.

    Over at NBC, a pundit opined that Trump had abandoned the US position of moral authority by”not telling other people how to live.” Strange way to describe how people live in places that practice human rights violations as a way of life.

  7. Mnemosyne says:

    @Quinerly:

    Hey, at least the Saudi princeling is an actual blood relative of the current king and not some dude who married into the family.

    Though I have to agree with the people who think it probably eats at Eric and Don Jr. that this guy who married their sister is preferred over them. I wonder if that could be a weak link at some point.

  8. Elizabelle says:

    I don’t mind a bit if that sweet dog shows up on every blogpost.

    Reminds us of dear, never to be forgotten Walter. We should have a “Walter’s Greatest Hits” thread sometime when we jackals need relief from the parade of stupid. Sweet is good.

  9. D58826 says:

    @hovercraft:

    better armed than Iran.

    At the same time Iran held a reasonable open election (at least by ME standards) and sent the reformers under Rouhani to a resounding victory. Certain more impressive than Der Fuhrer’s, even if Rouhani doesn’t have maps of electoral votes. At this point there is a good chance Rouhani will be the next supreme leader.
    Now being said doesn’t turn Iran into Sweden but it does open an opportunity to make a diplomatic approach. I suspect that Obama is smiling and thinking to himself that the seeds planted with the nuclear deal just might be about to sprout.

    Der Fuhrer on the other hand issued a virtual declaration of war against Iran.

  10. No One You Know says:

    Ivanka’s speech to Saudi twitter forum disappointed (CNN commentary) they were expecting Trump himself, and don’t know why he wasn’t there.
    Things running about an hour behind schedule over there today.

    CNN also said she was very articulate, I just ground my teeth at her empty rhetoric.

  11. Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Though I have to agree with the people who think it probably eats at Eric and Don Jr. that this guy who married their sister is preferred over them. I wonder if that could be a weak link at some point.

    That’s gotta bug them. And you know their dad will throw both of them under the bus before he throws Ivanka under the bus. They probably know that but it has to make them nervous.

    Wildcard issue I can’t really figure out — Jared is supposedly the White House insider who is under investigation. If that’s true, will Trump throw him under the bus? What effect will that have on Ivanka? I know he’s a narcissist and he’ll throw everyone under the bus to save himself, but she’s obviously his favorite and if she asks him not to do that to Jared, will it have any impact? Probably depends on just how bad things are, I guess.

    Hmmm…. just wondered if perhaps Eric or Don, Jr. have been flipped and are ratting out Jared.

  12. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @No One You Know: was she also too poised?

    Jennifer Jacobs‏Verified account JenniferJJacobs
    Trump cancels appearance at Tweeps event. Ivanka standing in for him, speaking to audience of 400.

    in other Princess Tackycrap news:

    Sean Spicer‏Verified account @ PressSec 14h
    Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. Pledge $100 Million to World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund

    Politico gets snarky

    Edward-Isaac Dovere‏Verified account IsaacDovere
    White House press secretary Brian Fallon promotes $100M donation from UAE & Saudis to top West Wing adviser Chelsea Clinton’s backed fund

  13. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yarrow:If that’s true, will Trump throw him under the bus? What effect will that have on Ivanka? I know he’s a narcissist and he’ll throw everyone under the bus to save himself, but she’s obviously his favorite and if she asks him not to do that to Jared, will it have any impact?

    I imagine if/when he implicates Jared it will be unplanned, one of his off-the-cuff self-exculpations, “I know he talked to Sergei Bribovich Bankikov, and they have some deals, but I don’t know what deals he made”

  14. bystander says:

    @Mnemosyne: Never a chance that would ever happen. Which makes me think back to 1982? the first time I saw her in a world in which telephones ringing in the theater were always props and sound effects.

  15. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Roger Moore: Uday has already said he keeps Daddy informed of what they’re doing with the business, and Qusay said most of their financing comes from Russia, and can’t stop talking about how the presidency has helped “the brand”. It’s all there, if Republicans ever decide he’s hurting more than they’re scared of him and his base, what used to be theirs.

    googling to check, they have both bragged about Russian money “pouring in“.

  16. Dr. Ronnie James, D.O. says:

    @Yarrow: “Will Trump throw Jared under the bus?”

    Trump’s a narcissist, so the answer is: as long as keeping Jared helps Trump, yes. As soon as Jared starts being seen as a negative, he’s a speedbump, permanently.

    I suspect the reason you don’t hear about Don Jr. and Eric is that they already failed this test. And it applies to Ivanka as well.

  17. Tenar Arha says:

    Wildcard issue I can’t really figure out — Jared is supposedly the White House insider who is under investigation. If that’s true, will Trump throw him under the bus? What effect will that have on Ivanka? I know he’s a narcissist and he’ll throw everyone under the bus to save himself, but she’s obviously his favorite and if she asks him not to do that to Jared, will it have any impact? Probably depends on just how bad things are, I guess.

    My finely honed Jewish paranoia* says: he will be the globalist scapegoat & she’ll be the deceived lamb (or something similar in spin).

    *ETA Why yes I do know this s is over the top paranoid thinking but so was the veiled anti-semitism in a national campaign until it happened.

  18. Roger Moore says:

    @Yarrow:
    I think trump will be reluctant to throw Jared under the bus, but it won’t stop him from doing it if he’s pushed far enough. My gut feeling is that it will be like Flynn times eleventy. He may be convinced or bullied into doing it to save his own hide, but it will be against his preferences and he’ll bitch about it for the rest of his life.

  19. Corner Stone says:

    @Yarrow:

    but she’s obviously his favorite and if she asks him not to do that to Jared, will it have any impact?

    I think we’re going to get to a point where it will not matter what he wants to do wrt Jared.
    “But Daddy! I’ll be a good girl! I’ll put on my golden bikini and braid my hair the way you like it! Chains and everything! Just save my Han Solo!”

  20. Corner Stone says:

    @bystander:

    Which makes me think back to 1982? the first time I saw her in a world in which telephones ringing in the theater were always props and sound effects.

    “In a world…”

  21. Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    My gut feeling is that it will be like Flynn times eleventy. He may be convinced or bullied into doing it to save his own hide, but it will be against his preferences and he’ll bitch about it for the rest of his life.

    This right here. He’ll complain for years that it was everyone else’s fault, but he’ll drop Jared when it becomes necessary. As a narcissist, he demands an unswerving loyalty from other people that he himself is incapable of matching.

  22. Roger Moore says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough. I meant that their resentment would only be a worry if they were capable of deliberately threatening their dad. Threatening him accidentally because they’re even worse at keeping their stupid traps shut than daddy is going to be a problem whether they’re jealous of Ivanka or not.

  23. Teddys Person says:

    RE: Throwing people under the bus. For Trump, it’s not a matter of if he throws certain people under the bus, it’s in what order. Trump will throw them all under the bus to save himself. Something, something scorpion, frog…

  24. Iowa Old Lady says:

    It’s funny how Walter caught BJ’s imagination. For me, it was his willingness to trust and love John and Debit even though he’d been treated so badly. It gave me hope.

  25. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Roger Moore: I meant that their resentment would only be a worry if they were capable of deliberately threatening their dad.

    oh, hell no. They could each be pointing Uzis at him and they’d drop them and pee themselves if he made that stupid glowering mug he is reported to think is Churchillian.

  26. Yarrow says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That was a great cold open. Yes, it was a Russian flag lapel pin. Nice touch.

    @Mnemosyne: Agreed. I think firing his son-in-law, the husband of his favorite child, will upend their whole toxic setup. Where do Ivanka’s loyalties lie? With her husband? With her dad? Well, she’s complicit so maybe they’ll both be fired.

  27. Major Major Major Major says:

    @Yarrow:

    But, if there’s one thing Trump is good at it’s walking away from disasters he creates by making everyone else to take the fall.

    That does seem to be ending, at least in the eyes of those outside the 27%.

  28. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Michael Barbaro‏Verified account @ mikiebarb 5h5 hours ago
    Trump says he will “help Saudis get a good deal from US defense companies” — not a traditional remark from a US president.

    so, he’s going to act as their lobbyist?

  29. Another Scott says:

    @Corner Stone: Yup. That’s my take (at the moment), too.

    There are so many moving parts that Donnie won’t be able to protect anyone close to him. The kids and family and so many around them are involved in so many sketchy real estate deals (that stink to high heaven of money laundering, tax evasion, influence peddling, violating the Emoluments Clause, etc.) that the NY AG is investigating. There are too many unstable pieces in this giant Jenga puzzle for it not to collapse once a few more pieces are removed.

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) is investigating the real estate deals of Paul Manafort, who briefly served as President Trump’s campaign manager, Bloomberg News reported Sunday.

    The investigation is in the early stages, a source told the news outlet. Bloomberg reported that Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, is also beginning an investigation into Manafort’s dealings.

    Representatives from the attorney general’s and district attorney’s offices declined to comment to Bloomberg.

    “If someone’s leaking information about an investigation, that’s a crime,” Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, told Bloomberg.

    A report on Friday said the Justice Department had requested Manafort’s bank records as it conducts a federal probe into potential ties between Trump campaign staff members and Russia.

    […]

    How soon? I assume it will be months before the big fish start being gutted. Will it be a federal or a state indictment that accelerates the process? Dunno.

    It does seem that Donnie (unsurprisingly) still doesn’t have a handle on how anything actually works with the US government. His minions don’t either. He thinks that it’s run like a business and the top boss decides everything. He thinks he can bluster and threaten and “negotiate one on one” everyone else will back down. He doesn’t understand that things actually don’t work that way, and it’s driving him (even more) nuts. Even if he wanted to protect Jared, he’s too incompetent to do so in a way that doesn’t instantly make things worse for both of them.

    I could be wrong of course. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  30. Corner Stone says:

    Last I checked, Ivanka was actually working for the US Govt. And even if she is “taking no salary” she is still getting all the perks and privvies. So how, exactly, can anyone think it’s ok to be running a huge fund at the same time?

  31. gene108 says:

    If I had to interview Ivanka on female empowerment, I’d say the woman, who most inspires me is Marla Maples, because of how gracefully she handled being in the tabloids and how she does philanthropic work with her vast fortune, just to see her reaction.

  32. Another Scott says:

    TheHill:

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a press conference Sunday without U.S. reporters, according to multiple reports.

    Tillerson reportedly held the press conference in Riyadh but U.S. reporters were not told about it.

    Tillerson will have a brief gaggle on Monday on Air Force One, according to pool reports.

    They’re not even trying to hide it. They do not work for the USA.

    Grrr….

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (“Record PowerBall Lottery prize was given today, in its entirety, to dozens of charities and political groups committed to the defeat of Trumpism and Teabaggery and the restoration of the principle of Equal Justice Under Law.” – sigh…)

  33. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Another Scott: Tillerson reportedly held the press conference in Riyadh but U.S. reporters were not told about it.

    America First!

    (“Record PowerBall Lottery prize was given today, in its entirety, to dozens of charities and political groups committed to the defeat of Trumpism and Teabaggery and the restoration of the principle of Equal Justice Under Law.” – sigh…)

    I give it six months before they start suing each other and we read a whole bunch of stories about Ferraris, race horses and maybe even a couple of trump condos. Maybe even a membership at Mar-A-Lago

  34. hovercraft says:

    So I just looked at the front page of the front page of the Wa. Post.com and the McMaster headline is bigger than the one about his speech, SAD!

    McMaster does not deny that Trump discussed Comey with Russian officials

    In an interview on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” the national security adviser would not directly address details of the Oval Office meeting. But he did not deny reports that President Trump revealed classified information to the Russian diplomats and told them that FBI Director James Comey’s firing eased “great pressure” on the White House.
    By Kelsey Snell

    Trump summons Muslim nations to confront ‘Islamic terror of all kinds’

    Speaking in Saudi Arabia, President Trump implored the leaders of about 50 Muslim nations to take their own destinies in hand and, together with the United States, stop the killing of innocent people in the name of religion. Trump implicitly rejected the aspirational goals and call for democracy and human rights of former president Barack Obama, who delivered a major speech to the Islamic world in 2009.

    By Karen DeYoung and Philip Rucker

    So much for his “well received speech” knocking his problems at home off of the front pages.

  35. gene108 says:

    @D58826:

    Der Fuhrer on the other hand issued a virtual declaration of war against Iran.

    Standard Republican position. I don’t think any of them have gotten over the hostage crisis, inlduing people like Stephen Miller, who were not born yet.

    Iran tried making diplomatic overtures to Bush & Co, after 9/11, because Iran hated the Taliban and nearly went to war against them a few years earlier. Bush & Co told them to fuck off. A reformer got replaced with a hardliner, as a result.

    The worst thing for Republican foreign policy is for Iran, Cuba, etc. to approach Western standards of government and rights. They need an enemy for the rubes to fear and be angry against.

  36. SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Yesterday I had a comment that kept getting eaten, so I’ll try it again here.

    I agree that “Walter’s Greatest Hits” would be a refreshing and welcome occasional feature here. What I was thinking is that there are several compelling and/or funny and/or inspiring dog stories here: How John got Lily and subsequently Rosie and subsequently Thurston. How geg6 got Lovey. Obviously, Debit and Walter! and Raven and his two knuckleheads. And I know there are many others. I think, properly handled in an age-appropriate way, they’d make a really nice series of illustrated children’s books. Simple narratives, lots of nice illustrations of cute dogs, and any proceeds could go to animal rescue organisations.

    (And then I attempted to link to an Amazon page about one of my own favourite childhood books about a dog and kept getting thrown into moderation. It was really just to give an example of the type of book and illustration I had in mind.)

  37. Chyron HR says:

    @gene108:

    The worst thing for Republican foreign policy is for Iran, Cuba, etc. to approach Western standards of government and rights.

    Oh, I don’t think those countries could degrade THAT badly.

  38. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @hovercraft: I thought I heard a segment on MSNBC saying that it was not well received outside of Gulf royal families and their hangers-on (shocker!) but I was multi-tasking and not paying close attention.

    @gene108: Iran tried making diplomatic overtures to Bush & Co, after 9/11, because Iran hated the Taliban and nearly went to war against them a few years earlier

    Also, there was a spontaneous candlelight vigil in the streets of Tehran after 9/11. They got “Axis of Evil” in return.

  39. jerri says:

    Please tell me how this is not a right wing do over? Did not Liz Cheney do the exact same thing with tax dollars in 2003?

  40. Another Scott says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sorry, no. I don’t buy the parallel.

    Foreign trips by the President and SoS are a big deal. They’re representing the country and our national government to leaders and people of the world. They have a responsibility to give the US press, and indirectly all of the American people, access whenever they give any other press groups access (unless it’s a one-on-one interview and the like). Trump’s people talked about evicting the press from the White House. Donnie locking out the US press in favor of the Russian press is another example. This is yet another reflection of that – Donnie ideally wants to run all comms through his personal Twitter account. It’s not acceptable and we need to push back against it every single time they try to limit press access while they’re doing their official duties in front of any press group.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  41. Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:

    I don’t think any of them have gotten over the hostage crisis

    Remember, this is the party that conspired with the Iranian revolutionaries to delay releasing the hostages in order to help Reagan’s election chances and then conspired with them again during Iran/Contra. I think they feel obligated to be as obstreperous about Iran as possible to distract people from that stuff.

  42. lgerard says:

    @gene108:

    Iran tried making diplomatic overtures to Bush & Co, after 9/11, because Iran hated the Taliban and nearly went to war against them a few years earlier

    Iran also wanted to wipe out opium production in Afghanistan (as did the British) as they have one of the worst addiction problems in the world. Cheney preferred to “work through” local criminals because he wanted to marshal our resources to invade Iraq instead.

  43. Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Scott:

    I think you missed my point — the WHPC cried wolf about every little thing Obama did, so now that Trump is actually and literally locking them out, they’re going to have a hard time getting their message across that this is bad, because people who don’t pay that much attention will be thinking, Well, you guys told me that Obama did the same thing, so this must not be a big deal while us political junkies know that this is a big deal.

    But this is what happens when the press corps cries “wolf!” one too many times. Nobody believes them when the actual wolf shows up.

  44. Smiling Mortician says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Most of the talk about how well SNL has done with Trump has been about Alec Baldwin and the amazing Melissa McCarthy and of course the ridiculously skilled Kate MacKinnon. But those two guys who play Uday and Qusay — whose names I don’t know but will google cause they deserve it — have absolutely nailed their characters.

    Adding: Alex Moffat and Mikey Day.

  45. Aleta says:

    @Corner Stone: @<a

    They trumpeted out that Jared personally got LHM to cut a sweeter deal on the $110B arms deal

    A portion of which had been blocked by the Obama administration because that type of missiles causes too many civilian deaths, and can be especially inaccurate if training is not high level. So the Saudis are very pleased with Trump for agreeing to their (and Ratheon’s) requests; and Middle Eastern activists and writers are upset, and concerned for civilians in Yemen where they’re expected to be used.

    ETA Highly nauseating to read the NYT headline which attributed the deal to Kushner’s “personal touch.” (How is this spin hard news?)

  46. Aleta says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I read that as “one of my own favourite childhood books about a dog that kept getting thrown into moderation.” (But finally one day he is rescued by a blog host who gives him his very own clean spacious comment box to live in happily ever after.)

  47. schrodingers_cat says:

    How does the foreign policy establishment pick “friends” or “allies” outside of Western Europe and Anglophone countries. SA instead of Iran, Pakistan instead of India? Why? The more despotic the regime, diplomats at Foggy bottom (or whoever makes these policies) seem to favor it, all the hypocritical talk of being bringers of democracy and the leader of the free world (whatever that means) aside.

  48. hovercraft says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    Since he said he was not interested in lecturing and moralizing, but about maintaining order and fighting terrorism, this was seen as an endorsement of their crackdowns on challenges to their rule. Sissi has been jailing and killing the opposition in the name of fighting terrorism, which is a slap in the face of the Arab Spring. So yes the rulers got a blank check to do as they please, the people out on the street got a fuck you.

  49. Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Most of it is hangover from the Cold War. Iran rejected the US and our puppet, the Shah, so they are our permanent enemy and SA is our bestie. India decided to try and stay neutral (with a small lean towards China/USSR), so US diplomats befriended Pakistan just to spite them.

    A lot of our foreign policy messes right now are due to long-standing decisions from the Cold War where the enemy of the USSR was automatically our friend, no matter how distasteful they were.

  50. schrodingers_cat says:

    @Mnemosyne: There was no lean towards China since the 1962 border war but yes definite lean towards Moscow during the Cold War, on India’s part. I have always found the self congratulatory ” Leader of the Free World” business a tad hypocritical. The Indian foreign policy establishment’s myopia on the other hand was to see the US stances as a continuation of the British Legacy post-WWII.

    They are not completely wrong, for the United States followed where Britain and to a lesser extent France left off after WWII, whether it be in Asia or the Middle East.

  51. the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @hovercraft:

    The instant they all get back, Kushner will be questioned as the ‘person of interest’ He’s the first domino.

  52. No One You Know says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: So poised, it was as if she knew she was going to do it more than an hour beforehand.

    Although, with a Juilliard education (If that’s what she had), you learn to expect to command attention when you walk on stage. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

    @Dr. Ronnie James, D.O.: That’s how I read it, too. Although I do wonder how they failed it. Unfortunate remarks back in 2008, maybe?

  53. Lurking Canadian says:

    @Mnemosyne: Except, oddly, the successor state to the actual USSR, which seems to be AOK with the modern Republican Party.

  54. No One You Know says:

    @gene108: $10 says she wouldn’t even blink, just relaunch her message with a cute shrug at the end to show how little it matters.

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