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Understanding Right-Wing Defenses of Trump

Understanding Right-Wing Defenses of Trump

By Dennis Loo (6/11/17)

There's good news and bad news.

First, the bad news: media and ideological segregation have never been more pronounced with what we see as ads and what we're supposedly interested in popping up on the web without our involvement or permission. Never has it been so easy to avoid that which you don't already agree with and encounter only that which the vast majority around you steadfastly agree with. You can hear only that which you already believe. You have to go out of your way to hear anything different a lot or even know that something else even exists. While this balkinization of reality applies most strongly to the Right since gullibity and insularity is central to their mission, there are some on the Left who argue fociferously that certain words and phrases are by themselves wrong and that the very act of hearing what you don't agree with should best be avoided. Fortunately, there are some programs (e.g., Media Matters) that give you unvarnished versions of the Right because they genuinely feel that you should know what those you don't necessarily agree with are saying. 

Trump voters, while eroding somewhat (how could they not?) due to numerous, almost uncountable scandals, the like of which we have never seen in any generation, remain mostly loyal to him so far basically because they are credulous and because they take their pointers from the right-wing echo chamber. Trump got elected this same way. Such a stupendously incompetant, fascist, treasonous ignoramus could never have gotten the nomination, let alone be elected, albeit with three million votes less than Hillary and because Hillary and her people didn't take Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania seriously or correctly. She was too busy raising more money to pay attention and is a core part of why the DNC deserted the white and ethnic working class when Obama took Goldman Sachs et al's side against the people during his $13 Trillion bail-out. Moreover, even though Trump is discrediting right-wing policies by his awful behavior, the Right will remain a force for the foreseeable future, no doubt continuing their characterization beyond the eventual Trump and Pence resignations as unjustified actions by the so-called "deep state," feuling resentment and stoking violence, even more than they are now doing.

Second, the good news: the majority of people and the truth are against Trump and his camp. What scenario did you or do you envision, where the two forces, especially truth and facts are so one-sided, so clear and so vital? Remember that Limbaugh and the Right started complaining about "fake news" when Limbaugh saw that the middle and the Left were about to charge the Right for exactly that, trading in fake news? Anyone with any concern about facts is appalled at the Right's tenuous relationship with it, like the ex-wives of Trump and Gingrich. 

How far will the Right get with their insistence that the Trump camp's ties to Russia, extensive and years in the making, is a "witch hunt" and "fake news?" 

Comes now RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDamiel saying this is a "fishing expedition" and that Congressional investigations should end.

Gingrich has gone further today and says the entire investigation, including Robert Muller's, should end because they are a "witch hunt." 

You decide what is true with a thorough investigation, yes? Not because POTUS or anyone else tweets a lot of insults, calls it "fake news," and fires a lot of people because they are looking into it. Not because the Monty Python Black Knight continues to say so. You take authority from facts, not an authority figure. Don't they want to know how extensive Russian cyber-attacks and influence has become?  Or they just don't care?

This is how it works. That is what the rule of law is supposed to mean. Did you not learn that in school, or is that the period you weren't paying attention to? Did you also not learn that there are THREE branches of government, designed to offset each other, not a "unitary executive?" Sure, the POTUS has a right to fire people, but WHY is he firing them? Do you not see the pattern, or do you see Mr. Carlson Tucker, beyond his sizable paycheck, trying desperately to block out the view, having lost his buddies Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilley?

Gingrich wrote Friday, the day at Fox News after Comey's Thursday testimony: "This statement [that Comey leaked his memos of his meetings with Trump - an unclassified report - to the press through his friend a Columbia law professor] is tremendously important because it completely delegitimizes Robert Mueller's so-called independent investigation and reveals it as poisoned fruit."

Gingrich makes this the linchpin of his argument. What was Comey's sin? He gave copies to the media of his memos of what he and Trump discusssed. He wrote down these memos because Trump was using the POTUS office to influence an ongoing FBI investigation. What did Trump famously say? “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” 

Newt is hoping that his readers never worked for a boss and don't know "a suggestion" when they see one. Anyone who has either been a boss or had a boss knows that bosses go out of their way to avoid direct orders and use euphemisms if at all possible. The mob famously does this. The boss usually doesn't order someone to murder someone. He barely nods. Have you heard of "plausible deniability?" It works less well with the current occupant of the White House, but still, it is there. And if you are taking to POTUS and he has just sent Sessions and Kushner out of the toom so he can speak with you privately, what do you think he's up to? Nothing good, certainly, where there will be other witnesses. Trump knows he cannot directly order the FBI Director to stop his investigation, so he just leans on him: " I hope you can let this go.”

Newt from 1995-1999 was Speaker of the House. He never "leaked" reports to the press, then and now? Trump's people leak classified and unclassified reports and other data to the media all of the time. Trump set it up so they would. I have never seen so much leaking in my life. Everyday there are multiple leaks. Chief of White House Staff Preibus tried unsuccessfully to get the press to leak - "on background" - denying that the FBI was investigating Trump and Russia ties, even as he complained at the same time about leaks.1  But the media didn't because it wasn't true. Newt makes leaks the heart of his GOP argument?! Huh?

Another line the GOP defenders of Trump are taking is to play coy, saying that Trump said I "hope you can let this go" rather than directly ordered Comey to stop the Russian-Trump team investigation. His son, Donald Jr., with the blood of an African tiger as if fresh on his hands, tweeted 

Hoping and telling are two very different things, you would think that a guy like Comey would know that. #givemeabreak

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 8, 2017

I guess Donald Jr. is writing for people who have never been the boss or never been under a boss. Even if we arguendo accept his statement on its face and agree that Trump Sr. wasn't doing what the whole world knows he has been doing, isn't the POTUS supposed to distance himself from the FBI? Or are you continue to argue, as people like Alan Dershowitz is currently saying, that POTUS has a right to fire him, and not ask yourself "why?" Because it's obvious why. If POTUS almost always can fire someone at will and it's justifiable, I am reminded of Lewis Carroll's Red Queen who declared "Off with her head!" and "First the verdict, and then the trial!"

Just how far and how long can they get with these excuses? On the one hand, they have been doing this for sometime and they did win the presidency and the majority in Congress with their show, althougb gerrymandering and a distorted Elecotral College, a legacy of slavery, helped. If you only go back a few years, though, you see that Obama has much to do with this when he sided with the big banks and perpetuated the disconnect between reality and rhetoric. The Right isn't going to position itself to the Left of Obama, so when he moved towards them, they in turn had to embrace increasingly strident and extreme positions to distinguish themselves. See here too and note when this was written. Obama, as good as he might look compared to Trump, helped Trump get elected, not on purpose of course, but nevetheless he and Hillary and the DNC bear a huge responsibility. Try as she struggles to claim she lost because of factors out of her control, the DNC and she lost to Trump. Chew on that for a while and while we are at it, consider how solid of a foundation lies constitute to live by and the thin nature of these elites Right and not-quite-as-far-Right (e.g., Obama). Many millions rebelled against the neoliberals with the means they knew: by voting. Maybe some of them are finding out now that this system's to blame and voting doesn't answer that for them.

______

1As I wrote on 2/23/17: As you know, Trump and his people have been saying lately that mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Time et al are “fake news” and have gone so far as to say that they are “enemies” of the American people.

In particular, Chief of Staff Reince Preibus made the rounds of the weekend talk shows to repeat his boss’ claims that the widespread reports that there have been frequent contacts between the Trump camp and Russia are totally false. Preibus also said that the (common and necessary practice of) news media of citing anonymous sources was wrong and that people should always be named if they're in news accounts.

This is what Preibus said to Fox News Sunday last weekend:

"The New York Times put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically, you know, some treasonous type of accusations. We have now all kinds of people looking into this. I can assure you and I have been approved to say this -- that the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but it's grossly overstated and it was wrong. And there's nothing to it," Preibus said on "Fox News Sunday" last weekend.

There are so many errors in that statement but I will just pick up a few. First of all, it wasn't just the New York Times reporting contacts frequently between the Trump campaign and Russia. It was in the Washington Post, CNN, and numerous other sources. Secondly, Preibus is also using the same practice that he and others in the Trump camp has previously criticized – citing unattributed and unnamed sources. He's doing it in the very same passage. Thirdly, it's either grossly overstated or wrong, not both. An overstatement is a statement that exaggerates the significance of something that's real. A wrong statement is just plain wrong. Finally, he continues to deny any contacts with Russia.

But the FBI has transcripts of the conversation between former NSA head Mike Flynn and the Russian Ambassador to the US, which is exactly why Flynn was forced to resign finally. There is no other explanation for why he was fired than that. The story that Trump and his spokesperson Sean Spicer put out that it was “eroding trust” in the Flynn that led to his resignation, three weeks after Trump being notified that Flynn was lying by the Justice Department, is just BS.

According to today’s CNN report, after initially failing to convince the FBI to deny those stories, “The same White House official said that Priebus later reached out again to [FBI’s Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe and to FBI Director James Comey asking for the FBI to at least talk to reporters on background to dispute the stories.”

In other words, after failing to convince the FBI to lie about what they already what they already said on of the contacts between the Russian camp and the Trump Camp, by saying that they had overstated the contacts, Preibus tries to convince them to be anonymous sources saying the same thing. He was, in other words, advocating another version of anonymous sourcing which he was criticizing in the first place.

As this CNN report states, the attempt to apply White House pressure that Preibus was engaged in, is illegal since the FBI is supposed to remain untainted by pressure from the White House on the basis that we are supposedly a country where everyone, including the president, is subject to the law, not just some of us.

 

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