Fear and Loathing in Trump’s America: A Tweetstorm of Lies and Desperation

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for another episode of Donald Trump’s Sunday Morning Tweetstorm. The rest of America is enduring the hardships of a deadly pandemic made worse by Trump’s negligence and incompetence. They are suffering through the Trump Recession, replete with record bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, and unemployment. And they are watching scenes of civil unrest incited by Trump’s craving for violence to justify his neo-fascist aspirations.

Donald Trump, Twitter

This Sunday’s Tweetstorm is jam-packed with Trumpian assholery. Beginning before sunrise at 5:49 AM, and for two hours and fifteen minutes after, Trump unleashed an avalanche of triggered tweets. There were 89 by 8:04 AM, when he had to quit in order to make his tee time (Really! He went from this to his golf resort). That’s one tweet every 1.5 minutes. Many of those 89 tweets were retweets (69) of sycophants and random Twitter trolls. [UPDATE: By day’s end Trump had tweeted a grand total of 110 times. Most of the later tweets were about Portland/violence or infantile attacks on Biden]

The most prominent subject for this morning’s Twitter tantrum was violence in the streets, particularly in Portland, Oregon. These tweets accounted for 41% (37) of the total tweets. Trump’s thinly disguised message to his cult disciples was that violence is good for his campaign so feel free to go out and stir some up. His Senior White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, literally said just that this week on Fox News. Trump himself praised the actual instigators, who came armed for confrontation with peaceful protesters, as…

Coming in second in Trump’s Tweet tirade (at 30%) was a parade of polling posts that purported to place Trump in the lead against Joe Biden. However, the 27 retweets were all from “PollWatch2020,” an unverified Twitter account and right-wing propaganda mill. The only polls they cited as sources for their data were the Trafalgar Group and the Democracy Institute. Both are rabidly partisan servants of conservative candidates and issues. Trafalgar has a C- rating by the analysts at FiveThirtyEight. And Democracy Institute isn’t even rated because they are considered to be a “fake” pollster. This blast of bullpucky is refuted by virtually every other poll available from credible survey organizations.

In addition to these putrid postings, Trump also retweeted an article from the Babylon Bee headlined “Biden: ‘If You Thought The Republican Convention Was Good, Just Wait ‘Til We Have Our Convention!” The purpose of this posting was to ridicule Biden for allegedly not knowing that the Democratic convention was held the previous week. However, the Babylon Bee is a wholly fictional, satirical website. It isn’t known if Trump was aware of that or not. However, it’s clear that many of his cult followers didn’t know. They replied to his tweet with laughter at what an idiot Biden must be. Who wants to tell them they are the idiots?

Trump also posted three tweets that falsely reported fatalities due to the coronavirus. All three tweets cited the conspiracy crackpot website, Gateway Pundit, run by Jim Hoft, the “stupidest man on the Internet” (seriously, Google the phrase). They made the claim that there have only been about 9,000 deaths. That number is drawn from the website of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) where it says that only 6% of the reported fatalities were due “solely” to COVID-19. Most of the deaths had comorbidity factors like pneumonia.

Of course, the presence of contributing factors doesn’t mean that COVID-19 wasn’t the cause of death. But that’s the asinine assertion by Hoft. And now Trump has joined in that idiocy with these retweets, one of which was by Jenna Ellis, the Senior Legal Adviser to the Trump campaign and personal attorney to Trump. [UPDATE: The original tweet making this false claim was removed by Twitter for having violated the rules regarding spreading misinformation. But the Ellis retweet by Trump is still live]

The upshot of this cavalcade of dishonesty and hostility on Trump’s Twitter feed is that Trump is determined to inflame tensions and encourage hateful and hurtful confrontations. He has cheered on violent agitators as “great patriots.” He has maligned Democratic leaders as supportive of atrocities. And he is affirming the position that Conway made with regard to such violence as being beneficial to his reelection campaign. It’s despicable and dangerous and it needs to stop.

Unfortunately, we cannot rely on Trump to abandon these abhorrent tactics. Se we need to be cognizant of his nefarious scheme and resist giving in to his cynicism and purposeful destruction of civil society. If we are to prevail, we need to keep justice in our heads, peace in our hearts, and our eyes on the prize. The only blood will be on the hands of Trump and his racist, hate mongering Republican accomplices.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump Whines That The Media Isn’t Reporting The Lies He Tweets From Fox News

It must be terribly frustrating being Donald Trump. Day after day, having to see the “fake news” ignore the critical issues he’s trying to resolve. How many people attended his inauguration? How much he would have won the popular vote by if not for all the illegal voters? His skyrocketing approval ratings the polls would show if they weren’t rigged? How unfunny Saturday Night Live is? You know, all the things that matter most to the American people.

Fox News Donald Trump

In addition to those presidential priorities, Trump frequently consults with his most trusted advisor – his television set – to shape his nascent agenda. Firmly planted in front of the Fox News channel’s blue glow, Trump obediently regurgitates what they broadcast into his mostly vacant cranial cavity. He has been caught repeatedly tweeting things that were on Fox News minutes prior to his tweet.

The latest example of this came in tweet on Saturday where Trump boasted about his awesome stewardship of the nation’s economy:

The reason the media hasn’t reported that might have something to do with the fact that it isn’t true. PolitiFact’s analysis of the claim concluded that it is “a gross misrepresentation of the state of the debt and the role the new president had in shaping the figure.” PolitiFact sought the opinions of experts who said:

“‘Considering that Trump hasn’t enacted any fiscal legislation, it’s a bit of a stretch for him to take credit for any changes in debt levels,’ Dan Mitchell, a libertarian economist and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told us.” […and…]

“‘I wonder what he thinks he did to bring this about,’ said Harvard University government professor Jeffrey Frankel. ‘This one-month number is trivial in the long-run trend. The national debt will rise this year, and in future years. It will rise at a sharply accelerated rate if Trump carries out even half of his campaign promises for specific tax cuts (and specific spending increases).'”

What’s more, Trump’s misrepresentation of President Obama’s debt management is equally gross. Early in the Obama administration the debt increased because of a stimulus package that Congress had approved before he had even been sworn in. And the nation was still recovering from the worst recession in nearly a century. Subsequent to that, Obama’s economic policies produced a historic period of growth while cutting the deficit by two-thirds.

Which brings us back to where Trump got the notion expressed in his tweet. PolitiFact covered this as well, noting that:

“The tweet mirrors an article posted on the Gateway Pundit website a few days earlier. It was repeated by conservative pundit Herman Cain on Fox News shortly before Trump’s tweet.”

In fact, Herman Cain made the exact same claim on Fox & Friends less than an hour before Trump’s tweet:

So the Gateway Pundit (aka Jim Hoft, a notoriously unreliable source) was wrong. Consequently, Herman Cain on Fox News was wrong. And not surprisingly, Donald Trump was wrong again. Hopefully his relentless dishonesty, and unsavory connections to Russia, will seep through to his followers. To be sure, there’s gonna be demand for a lot of Kool-Aide antidote, but the effort must be made if America is going to survive the Era of Trump.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Hostile Intent: Right-Wing Media Doth Protest Too Much

Rarely have I seen such a desperate attempt to evade reality as has occurred since the shooting rampage in Tuscon. It would seem to be a fairly non-controversial notion that when a politician is targeted for assassination, the language that contributes to hostile discord ought to be carefully considered and avoided. The last thing anyone should want is another Jared Loughner. However, just raising that issue has caused politicians and pundits on the right to stiffen their backs and go on offense. They are taking such talk very personally. Could it be because they are harboring a latent guilt?

While the left has been responding to an horrific act of violence with calls to tone down the rhetoric, many on the right have assumed an attack posture. Keith Olbermann delivered a commentary yesterday wherein he included himself amongst those who have crossed the line. He apologized. There has been scarce reciprocation on the right. In fact, they have dug in their heels to assert that they will continue as if nothing has happened. Sarah Palin’s camp even contends that their notorious “Hit List” didn’t represent a gunsight’s crosshairs, but those on map. That might have been a little more plausible if Palin herself hadn’t referred to it as a bullseye.

So it should come as no surprise that Fox News would employ their propaganda web site, Fox Nation, to muddy the waters and absolve the right of any wrongdoing while tarnishing the left for observing the obvious. The Fox Nation presently has eleven articles that place the left in a bad light and/or polish the right’s reputation. Methinks they doth protest too much.

The Headlines:

  • Durbin Using Tragic Shooting to Silence Conservative Speech
  • A Colossal Failure of Journalism: Jared Loughner is crazy
  • Tucson Shooter and the Violent Rhetoric in the “Communist Manifesto”
  • AZ Dem Blames “Afghan Vet” for Shooting
  • DESPICABLE: NYT’s Krugman Blames Republicans For Giffords Shooting
  • NOW Blames Shooting on ‘Extreme’ Conservatives Opposing ‘Progressive Solutions’
  • PATHETIC: James Clyburn Blames Sharon Angle for Giffords Shooting
  • Tuscon Sheriff Politicizes Press Conference, Blames Talk Radio
  • Journalists Urged Caution After Ft. Hood, Now Race to Blame Palin After Arizona Shootings
  • Kurtz: Don’t Drag Palin Into this Horrific Mess
  • Dems Urge Obama to Pin Shooting on Tea Partiers

And it doesn’t stop there. On Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment, Jim Hoft, one of the most ignorant writers on a web site heralded for its ignorance, makes the ludicrous claim that “Democrats Plotted to Blame Tea Party for Slaughter.” Hoft’s justification for this “breaking” news flash was this paragraph from an article on Politico:

“One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did. ‘They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers.'”

Did I mention that Hoft was ignorant? He is inferring from a single, anonymous source that a “plot” was in progress. And his inference is based on an opinion, not a plan. The source is suggesting what he thinks Obama ought to do, not what Obama, or any other Democrat, is actually doing. So there is no plot, just one guy with an opinion. And if this “operative” actually had access to the White House, or any group that could carry out this alleged plot, he would have given this advice to the President instead of a reporter from Politico.

What Hoft left out was the part where Politico reported this analysis from a senior Republican senator:

“There is a need for some reflection here – what is too far now?” said the senator. “What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”

The vast majority of tea party activists, this senator said, ought not be impugned.

“They’re talking about things most mainstream Americans are talking about, like spending and debt,” the Republican said, before adding that politicians of all stripes need to emphasize in the coming days that “tone matters.”

“And the Republican Party in particular needs to reinforce that,” the senator said.

I wonder why Hoft didn’t accuse this GOP senator of engaging in a plot to tone down the rhetoric as advised by most of the left. However, he did make the flat assertion that Loughner was “hardly a tea partier.” Apparently Hoft was unfamiliar with Loughner’s anti-government views, his opposition to immigrants and immigration reform, his advocacy of guns, and his opposition to the “2nd Constitution,” a rightist theme that regards the 14th Amendment’s securing of equality and birthright citizenship as unconstitutional. These are all views consistent with the Tea Party.

The truth is that the right is the only side that could plausibly be characterized as plotting anything. Hoft’s own column for Breitbart is evidence of that. And did the Fox Nationalists really need eleven articles to push their narrative? Then there is Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation, who explicitly urged his followers blame liberals for the attack on Rep. Giffords. He wrote to his followers that…

“The hard left is going to try and silence the Tea Party movement by blaming us for this. […] The left is coming and will hit us hard on this. We need to push back harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic. Emphasis on both words.”

The right is on a mission to wash their hands of any accountability for violence that is all too predictable. It would be much easier if they were to take the position of the GOP senator above who understands that this is the time to be thoughtful about what we say and the impact it may have on the mentally wobbly. Unfortunately, that is not the path the right is headed down.

It has been over 32 hours since the shooting in Tuscon and Glenn Beck, arguably the worst offender at being offensive, has not made a single public statement. There is nothing on his web site – no tweets – not even an expression of condolences. And you can rest assured that he will return to the air Monday with a delusional conspiracy theory for what he thinks happened in that Safeway parking lot. I can hear it now…..

Beck: Over the weekend there was a horrible crime committed against a United States Congresswoman. She is still clinging to life, but a judge, a young girl, and several others were killed.

Now, if you were watching the liberal media you may have come away thinking that this was the work of a conservative or a Tea Party member. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s the truth. Here’s what only I have been able to uncover through dogged research. Here’s what the media is afraid to tell you. Rep. Giffords was killed in order to silence me and other conservative broadcasters. That’s right. This was a liberal plot to create an environment where people would be calling for harsh rhetoric to be stopped.

Top down, bottom up, and inside out. The progressives are thinking all the time about how to stifle our message, and they know that by making a martyr of Rep. Giffords they can demand that we shut our mouths and crawl off into a corner. They can accuse us of inciting people to violence. And they think that will cause us to keep quiet about their plans to destroy America and demolish our moral culture. That’s why they sent their mole, Loughner, to the supermarket on Saturday. Some of my voices…I mean sources…are telling me that Loughner was seen with Van Jones and Cass Sunstein going over plans to take over the media.

But we aren’t going to let that happen, are we? We will remain strong because we know that only by eliminating our enemies can we live in peace.

Now, remember, I don’t want anyone to engage in violence. Even though the progressives are determined to see your future, and that of your children, blown apart and ruined for all eternity, you must not react violently. That’s what they want you to do. So even though they are going to put an end to the American Dream and cause our society and our economy to break down so badly that we will be praying for death rather than live in the socialist hell they want to create, do not become violent. Got it. Just get ready to suffer and prepare your kids for suffering like they have never known. Watching the whole world sink into depression and slavery is certainly no reason to resort to violence, is it? Well, is it? If you believe, like I do, that America is exceptional and worth preserving, then you know what to do.

And by the way, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book, “Reading Between the Lies.”

You read it here first.

[Update] Beck lived up to my speculation. On his Monday Fox News program he said:

“The solution, in this case, is to silence the opposition […] shut down the right […] How do you shut them down? You say it’s hate speech.”

As I suspected, Beck exploited the massacre to whine about the tragedy as a conspiracy to silence him and his rightist comrades.

[Update II] The right is now openly defending hate speech. Jack Shafer, editor at large of Slate.com, posted an article titled: In Defense of Inflamed Rhetoric
The awesome stupidity of the calls to tamp down political speech in the wake of the Giffords shooting.

Shafer’s article is really a demonstration of his own awesome stupidity. He argues that there haven’t been enough episodes of violence to justify the criticism of incendiary language. He is ignoring the numerous examples – from Dr. Tiller to Byron Williams to the Holocaust Museum to the Marine recruiting station to the gas line tampering at a congressman’s home. How many examples does Shafer need before he becomes concerned? But the real stupidity in his column is this passage:

“Any call to cool “inflammatory” speech is a call to police all speech, and I can’t think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power.”

Nobody – repeat NOBODY – has suggested that inflammatory speech be criminalized. This is an invention of Shafer’s twitchy imagination. The matter is in the hands of the speakers, politicians and pundits, to be responsible and/or accountable. Free speech is not a shield from criticism of what is said. It extends to the critics as well. And when Shafer says that “violent imagery is a good thing” he illustrates just how idiotic and counterproductive right-wing hate mongers (like himself) can be.

[Acclaim for News Corpse] Keith Olbermann tweeted: “Deft and accurate summary of Right Wing Media in full-fledged panic and utter denial.” Thanks Keith.