HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Monday, March 06, 2017

 
Thoughts on Trump's latest alternative fact

by digby



A real Trump follower at one of the sad demonstrations over the week-end























I wrote about his latest misdirection for Salon today:

According to the Washington Post and CNN, President Donald Trump was very, very angry that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from any further involvement in the ongoing investigations into Russian involvement in the presidential campaign. He was so upset that he banned chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon from Air Force One and then stormed off fuming that his big, beautiful speech on Tuesday had been overshadowed by yet another “mini-disaster.” A senior White House official told ABC News, “we should have had a good week. We should have had a good weekend. But once again, back to Russia.”

And then all hell really broke loose. CNN’s Jake Tapper confirmed that on Saturday morning Trump read conservative talk show host Mark Levin’s sensational evolving narrative on Breitbart News and let loose a volley of tweets that exploded all over the media with shocking allegations that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower in the waning days of the election to interfere with our “sacred election.” He called him a “bad (and sick) guy.”

We have all been observing Trump long enough now to recognize his game. Whenever he’s accused of something, he throws the same thing back on the accuser. Calling Hillary Clinton “crooked” and “a world-class liar” are the two most obvious examples. Saying she was “pumped up” on drugs was one of the more obscure but revealing episodes. I would imagine that the minute he read that Breitbart story it spoke to him as if he’d come up with it himself.

It’s clever. After months of being under suspicion over the Russian government’s intervention on his behalf, he can now turn the tables and accuse Obama of intervening on Clinton’s behalf. Isn’t that convenient? Where people have been starting to see this growing Russian scandal as the biggest political imbroglio since Watergate, Trump and his right-wing minions will now deflect attention to this story in the hopes that their followers will treat it as the “real scandal” and if they are lucky, make everyone else’s heads explode. It is a bold misdirection and while it’s fatuous in the extreme, don’t assume that it won’t be effective.

It is almost certainly the case that Trump read the Breitbart story and blew it up on Twitter out of sheer feral instinct, but the story didn’t just appear out of nowhere. There have been rumblings about this for a while. Conservative commentator Eli Lake of Bloomberg has been complaining about the intelligence agencies overstepping their bounds in the Russian investigation, calling the firing of Michael Flynn a “political assassination.” He has long been a critic of the intelligence community’s surveillance powers, so his views on this are consistent, which is more than we can say about the former hardline national security Republicans who suddenly sound like card-carrying members of the ACLU.

The most hypocritical of that crew is House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who has been wringing his hands for weeks over the impropriety of a “private citizen” like Michael Flynn having his phone calls with the Russian ambassador intercepted by the government. As Nunes well knows, and as Flynn, a former director of national intelligence, surely should have known, it’s routine to monitor the conversations of foreign ambassadors. The monitors would presumably have ignored Flynn’s side of it if he hadn’t been babbling about spies and sanctions on the call.


In any case, this would be the first time in history that Nunes has ever expressed even the slightest concern for such niceties. Up until now he has always been one of the intelligence community’s most ardent defenders, insisting that people were being hysterical over the Edward Snowden revelations and fighting any restrictions to the NSA’s surveillance programs.

And for all his handwringing this past weekend, Trump himself has hardly been a surveillance state critic. Among other things, he has said he’s in favor of a Muslim “registry” and spying on Black Lives Matter activists. He even called for a ban of Apple when it refused to help the government unlock the encryption on the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. One of his most famous Twitter quotes is “CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS!”

Everything we know about Trump suggests that he would be a great friend to the intelligence agencies and has already shown that he’s prepared to make the military-industrial complex richer than they ever dreamed possible. That raises the question of why in the world the “deep state” would be so hostile to Trump as to try to sabotage his presidency, as the White House and much of the right-wing press seem to believe. One would assume the deep-state apparatchiks would be thrilled to support him and help him in any way they could. If Trump wants to expand their powers and is simply being friendly with the Russians in the hopes of a new relationship — potentially opening the door to the return of Edward Snowden, so Trump can execute him as he’s promised — what’s not to like from their perspective?

The question now is whether the Republicans will be able to change the storyline from the Russian scandal to an Obama scandal. or at least sufficiently muddy the waters. According to the Washington Post, Trump was brighter Sunday morning as he read several newspapers, pleased that his allegations against Obama were the dominant story. He must have been very happy to see this:

My goodness, that sounds serious, doesn’t it?

Although the Sunday morning hosts were aggressive in questioning Trump surrogates, their equally aggressive questioning of President Obama’s spokesmen, such as the interviews by Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week,” at least partly legitimized Trump’s accusations and calls for congressional investigations, simply by the “he said/she said” nature of the format.

It seems ridiculous that Trump could actually create a counter-narrative out of this nonsense. But the Republicans managed to turn Benghazi into a major scandal without much to go on. And when they found out Hillary Clinton had a personal email server, they managed to get the media so excited they could hardly speak of anything else. That’s not likely in this case, since Trump’s administration is a dumpster fire that flares up on a daily basis. But it would be a mistake to think it’s impossible. Trumping up scandals are what Republicans do best.