Friday, January 26, 2018

Trump's Big CON: The Donald is a Russian Agent, CONt. Part 6 (AKA the GOP Coverup)

Another MUST READ, the Washington Post, Republicans are desperate to protect Trump from Mueller. But will their strategy work?, which states in full:

"In their desperate attempt to protect President Trump from the Russia scandal and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, sizable portions of the Republican Party have returned to a place they know well. It’s the home of intricate conspiracy theories, where nothing is as it seems and the most mundane pieces of information are proof of sinister machinations so shocking that any tactics are justified in order to expose them.

It’s a place where only those willing to believe the most outlandish and ludicrous tales are able to grasp reality and where the truth is a hundred times worse than you think. It’s a madhouse, and they’re moving right in.

As bizarre as this all sounds, there’s a logic to it. If these Republicans can convince the public not only that Trump and those around him did nothing wrong but also that he’s the target of a malevolent conspiracy, then nothing that Mueller or any news organization reveals needs to be believed. It can all be cast aside as fruit of that poisonous tree, no matter what the facts might say.

But will that strategy work? I’d argue that it will work to save Trump from impeachment but won’t work to protect him from the political fallout this November and in 2020.

First, let’s take a quick tour around the fever swamp. The first object of Republican fascination is a memo attacking the FBI that Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has been circulating. Though Democrats describe it as an absurd collection of tendentious talking points, conservatives have begun a #ReleaseTheMemo campaign (with the help of Russian social media bots) in the hope of attracting as much attention to it as possible. They seem to believe that once it is made public, everyone will realize that the entire Russia investigation is a sham. Spoiler alert: They won’t.

Then there are the text messages sent by an FBI agent and an FBI lawyer — given to Congress by the Justice Department — that reveal that the two of them didn’t think particularly highly of Trump. This has been spun out into the preposterous idea that the FBI is the center of a liberal conspiracy to destroy the president, with the mundane words exchanged by the two employees plumbed for evidence of the dark forces at work.

In the latest twist, members of Congress found a text that made reference to a 'secret society,' which of course couldn’t have been a joke, since everyone knows secret societies all go around talking about how they’re secret societies. This one, Republicans are convinced, was organized inside the FBI to bring Trump down.

'It’s more than bias, but corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and that secret society,' said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). 'We have an informant that is talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site. There is so much smoke here, there is so much suspicion.'

Johnson did not mention whether the Illuminati or Dumbledore’s Army might have been involved, but oh boy are the conservative media eating it up. 'It may be time to declare war outright against the deep state and clear out the rot in the upper levels of the FBI and the Justice Department,' thundered Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs.

It is absolutely no surprise that Republicans, including members of Congress, have found their way to lunatic conspiracy theories on the Russia question. That’s because it’s what they always do. They insisted that Barack Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim enacting a carefully laid plan to destroy the United States. They convinced themselves that Bill Clinton ran a drug-running operation out of an Arkansas airport and had dozens of his political adversaries murdered. They decided that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running a child sex ring out of a D.C. pizza restaurant. The president they revere has gushed praise on conspiracy radio host Alex Jones, who has said that 9/11 was an inside job and the massacre at Sandy Hook was staged with child actors.

Not all Republicans tumble down these rabbit holes, but there will always be substantial numbers of the Republican electorate, Republican media figures and Republican elected officials who do. Whether they actually believe this stuff isn’t really the point. To repeat, the purpose is to convince the public that anything that comes out of the Mueller investigation can be discounted and disbelieved, no matter how incriminating it seems.

Will people believe that? Some will. Fox News viewers get it hammered into their waiting eyes every night. Rush Limbaugh’s listeners get a daily education in the sinister plans of the deep state. Breitbart readers learn from Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) that it all ties together: 'If you don’t think that Fast and Furious, if you don’t think that Benghazi, for the lack of accountability, if you don’t think the IRS and the unmasking are tied together with the weaponization of our Department of Justice and political advocates, think again.'

All that amounts to an insurance policy against impeachment. Because in order to stave impeachment off, you don’t have to convince all Americans that Trump is innocent of whatever charges Mueller raises. All you have to do is convince enough Republican members of Congress that their constituents (i.e., Republican voters) won’t stand for it. Those members of Congress might or might not think it’s all a liberal deep state conspiracy, but if they think their constituents believe it, they won’t support impeachment no matter what gets revealed.

But there’s a critical limitation to that strategy. It might keep Trump from getting impeached, but it won’t keep Republicans from getting crushed in November’s midterm elections. In fact, it may make a wave election more likely, by making Democratic voters more angry and appalled and therefore eager to turn out to vote. And it won’t help Trump get reelected, either. The more unhinged Trump’s defenders look, the more voters in the middle who took a risk and gave Trump a shot may regret it.

But all that’s too far in the future for the Republican conspiracy theorists. They have one goal now: protect Trump from Mueller. They might not succeed, but they’re going to go to any length to do it."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Trump's Big CON: He Feeds His Supporters "the Stale Bread of Hatred and the Spoiled Meat of Racism"

Read the Legacy, MLK: Eulogy for the Martyred Children.

Read also the Washington Post, The enablers of the racist president are back at it, which begins:

"The Post reports:

    President Trump acknowledged Friday that he used 'tough' language during a meeting on efforts toward a bipartisan immigration deal but appeared to deny using the term 'shithole' to refer to some countries. . .

The most distressing part of these episodes is the so-called respectable Republicans who begin to cover for and rationalize Trump’s overt racism. Well, maybe he didn’t say it. But those countries are poor! But what he really meant was … "

The article concludes:

"[T]he constant effort to reinterpret Trump, to make sense of nonsense and to obscure his ignorance and racism is as tiresome as it is insincere. The man who called Mexicans rapists, who declared he wanted to ban Muslims, who criticized a judge because he was a Mexican American (and therefore, in Trump’s twisted mind, could not do his job), who painted African Americans as all living in crime-infested squalor, who said there were good people among the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, who praised and pardoned Joe Arpaio after he violated the rights of suspected illegal immigrants and who does not have a single nonwhite high-ranking White House staff adviser (and the smallest percentage of female and nonwhite Cabinet officials since Ronald Reagan) is a racist. We have not had a president in the memory of any living American who so unabashedly displayed such racist views and assumptions. And yet many Republicans continue to defend him. The GOP cannot claim to be the party of Lincoln, and as such it has lost its moral legitimacy to govern and is indeed deplorable."

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trump's Big CON: He is a "Very Stable Genius", and Ingrates Don’t Deserve Him

"From one very stable genius to another, I have some advice for President Trump: Resign immediately.

I feel you. Those small, petty, non-billionaire losers who attack you are not worthy of your brilliance. They don’t deserve the benefit of your intellect, your strength, your devastating good looks. Take your dazzling brain and your normal-size hands and go home. Let the ungrateful wretches suffer. Let them see how they like their precious little democracy without you.

They don’t deserve Ivanka or Jared or Junior or Eric, either. Most of the complainers don’t even have glamorous fashion-model third wives. Sad!

The whiners in the Fake News Media lack your genius for language. In their so-called stories, they never mention that you’ve taught family members and high-ranking White House aides to communicate in a new language you devised as an improvement on standard English. In Trump administration genius-speak, 'the president is a moron' clearly means 'our Dear Leader is doing a magnificent job.' But will the Failing New York Times or the Amazon Washington Post report that? Not likely.

The losers totally fail to appreciate your advanced, post-literate techniques for processing complex information. They still have to rely on primitive methods such as 'reading' and 'listening' and 'thinking.' They don’t understand — as you and I do, and as Aristotle surely would — that the best way to analyze a problem is to free-associate in an angry nonstop monologue while Fox News blares from a flat-screen on the wall.

The pathetic non-geniuses don’t grasp your anti-management theory of management. To them, it probably looks like chaos — just as Shakespeare must sound like gibberish to an audience of chimpanzees. Even the brainiacs at the Ivy League school you attended find it hard to imagine running something as complicated as the executive branch without crutches like organization charts and defined areas of responsibility. For you, it’s a snap. You intuitively knew it would be more efficient to install a bunch of relatives and cronies in West Wing offices, then let them spend most of their time kneecapping one another.

The snowflakes’ heads explode whenever you cite 'alternative facts.' They claim no such things exist — which shows the limits of their understanding. They probably are not even familiar with the 'many worlds' theory of cosmology, which holds that aside from the universe we live in, there are countless other universes and that anything that can happen actually does happen in one of those alternate realities.

In some universe, you did win the popular vote. In some universe, the crowd for your inauguration dwarfed Barack Obama’s. In some universe, there was no collusion between your campaign and the Russians. You’re telling the truth; it’s just that only a few physicists at MIT are able to understand.

The philistines don’t appreciate your subtle approach to foreign affairs. They believe that taunting the paranoid and ruthless dictator of an unpredictable nuclear-armed state is somehow unwise. They see international relations as akin to a chess match — failing to realize that you’re playing the game in four-dimensional space-time as described by Einstein, another very stable genius. You know for a fact that Einstein would applaud your crazy-tweet diplomacy because you time-traveled and asked him.

The haters go on about 'the rule of law' as if it’s something sacred, but you’re smart enough to know that somebody once said — it must have been another genius — that rules are made to be broken. By extension, laws are made to be broken, too. So when you fired James B. Comey and took all those other steps to impede the Russia probe, you weren’t committing a felony; you were merely being a bold rule-breaker who naturally acts in genius mode.

You must have had a lonely year. A few almost-geniuses appreciate your extraordinary mind — Sean Hannity, the hosts of 'Fox & Friends,' some Internet trolls and paid Russian hackers. Most other people, however, think far less of your mind and fear that, in any event, you have lost it.

When you consider the ingratitude, the phrase 'sharper than a serpent’s tooth' must come to mind. Or would, if you weren’t post-literate.

You deserve better. You shouldn’t have to spend another night in that 'dump' of a White House. You should be able to go back to your gold-plated triplex in Trump Tower and spend your days wallowing in ugly conspiracy theories, screaming at aides and planning a busy schedule of golf outings — the same stuff you’re doing now, but in classier surroundings.

Don’t worry about depriving us of your very stable genius. Somehow we’ll cope."

Read the Washington Post, Dear Very Stable Genius: The ingrates don’t deserve you. So quit.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Trump's Big CON: It's 'Liars Lying to a Liar Who Believes the Lie'

UPDATE:  "For the second straight day Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fought back against Michael Wolff's Trump tell-all. And in doing do, she may have finally killed off what's left of irony in the White House briefing room.

'The president,' Sanders told reporters, 'believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact, when it certainly and clearly is not.'

Yes, we all know what a stickler Trump is for making sure what he says is accurate before he says it. It may be his defining trait.

In all seriousness, it's not just the nearly 2,000 false and misleading things Trump has said as president. It's that the White House and Trump himself have acknowledged that Sanders's standard doesn't really apply to them."

[W]hatever you think about Wolff's book — and there's plenty to be skeptical of — the White House long ago forfeited the moral high ground when it comes to pre-fact-checking.  [Link in original.]

Read the Washington Post, Sarah Huckabee Sanders kills irony dead, once and for all.

And speaking of feverish efforts to hide the truth, "[t]he president and the presidency are unraveling. Trump is unloved in his own house. A figure of ridicule, a theatrical creation, he is almost sympathetic. He was told by the greedy and the outright stupid that he would make a swell president. The Liar’s Paradox has spun out of control, with liars lying to a liar who believed the lie. What would that be called?

Fox News, I think."

Read the Washington Post, Trump and the liar’s paradox.

Don't forget, there is a database of the lies, updated regularly.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Trump's Big CON: The Donald is a Russian Agent, CONt. Part 5

For years “Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering.”

Then he and his family had treasonous, unpatriotic meetings with a hostile foreign government inside Trump Tower, which were never reported, and which Trump and his family tried to coverup by lying, obstructing justice, and trying to stop a FBI investigation.

Read the Washington Post, What did Trump know about Russia, and when did he know it?

And the Republi-CON Party and enablers are working feverishly to stop you from knowing more.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Trump's Big CON: There is a Database of the Lies

UPDATE IV:  "With just 18 days before President Trump completes his first year as president, he is now on track to exceed 2,000 false or misleading claims, according to our database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.

As of Monday, the total stood at 1,950 claims in 347 days, or an average of 5.6 claims a day. (Our full interactive graphic can be found here.)

As regular readers know, the president has a tendency to repeat himself — often. There are now more than 60 claims that he has repeated three or more times. The president’s impromptu 30-minute interview with the New York Times over the holidays, in which he made at least 24 false or misleading claims, included many statements that we have previously fact-checked."  [Links in original.]

Read the Washington Post, President Trump has made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days.

UPDATE III:  "In a period of less than 26 hours — from 6:31 p.m. on July 24 to 8:09 p.m. on July 25 — President Trump made two fired-up speeches, held a news conference and tweeted with abandon, leaving a trail of misinformation in his wake."

Read the Washington Post, 26 hours, 29 Trumpian false or misleading claims.

UPDATE II:  The Donald is "the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered. As part of our coverage of the president’s first 100 days, The Fact Checker team (along with Leslie Shapiro and Kaeti Hinck of the Post graphics department) produced an interactive graphic that displayed a running list of every false or misleading statement made by the president. He averaged 4.9 false or misleading claims a day.

Readers encouraged us to keep the list going for the president’s first year. So at the six-month mark, the president’s tally stands at 836 false or misleading claims. That’s an average of 4.6 claims a day, not far off his first 100-day pace. . .

When the president was a real estate developer, there was little consequence for repeated exaggeration or hyperbole because few people kept track. But now that he’s president, Trump may find that the “art of the deal” often requires close attention to the facts, especially if he wants to persuade lawmakers to take tough votes.

As president, Trump has already earned 20 Four-Pinocchio ratings — and a total of 152 Pinocchios. If he doesn’t like his Pinocchios, there’s a relatively simple solution: Stick to the facts.

Read the Washington Post, President Trump’s first six months: The fact-check tally.

UPDATE: "So here are the numbers for the president’s first 100 days.

    492: The number of false or misleading claims made by the president. That’s an average of 4.9 claims a day.
    10: Number of days without a single false claim. (On six of those days, the president golfed at a Trump property.)
    5: Number of days with 20 or more false claims. (Feb. 16, Feb. 28, March 20, April 21 and April 29, his 100th day in office.)

While the president is known to make outrageous claims on Twitter — and that was certainly a major source of his falsehoods — he made most of his false statements in unscripted remarks before reporters. (Interviews were another major source of false claims.) That’s because the president would rely on talking points or assertions that he had made in the past — and continued to make, even though they had been fact-checked as wrong.

This makes Trump somewhat unique among politicians. Many will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the same claim over and over."

Read the Washington Post, President Trump’s first 100 days: The fact check tally.

This article was originally posted at Trump's Big CON: 100 Days, 499 False or Misleading Claims, but the numbers had to be revised upward.

Search the "Fact Checker’s ongoing database of President Trump’s [many] false and misleading claims since January 20th."

Read the Washington Post  365 days of Trump’s claims.

Read also Trump's Big CON: The Score Card of False or Misleading Claims & Promises Kept.