Saturday, March 04, 2017

Civilization Warp

The Los Angeles Times began its story with the apprentice dictator in the White House: "agitated by mounting pressure for an independent investigation into his ties to Russia, unleashed a startling and unsupported attack on his predecessor Saturday, accusing Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones during the 2016 election.

Trump’s tweet storm, which was backed by no evidence, was bizarre even for a White House with a history of broadsides against political opponents. Throughout the day, administration officials refused to offer any explanation for the president’s missive or any evidence to back it up."

Every legitimate news story had essentially the same headline as the Washington Post:  Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of Nixon/Watergate plot to wiretap Trump Tower. 

This comes, by the way, days after Homegrown Hitler accused President Obama of organizing all the protests against his regime.  The stories however have a function for the regime, in shaking out all known information about possible Justice Department and FBI activity, and further publicizing the alt.right story that was likely the source of the accusation.  These stories also include a categorical denial from President Obama's spokesperson.

As David Remnick and Evan Osnos note in the New Yorker, one of Trump's "most consistent rhetorical maneuvers is a fairly basic but often highly effective one—the diversionary reverse accusation...He fogs the language and clouds the issue."

So now fewer voices are talking about Jeff Sessions and the Russian connections, because they're repeating this baseless charge, even as they say it is baseless.

The Post also quotes:

Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement chastising Trump for leveling a "spectacularly reckless allegation" against Obama without evidence.

Referencing Trump's description of Obama as a "bad (or sick) guy," Schiff said, "If there is something bad or sick going on, it is the willingness of the nation's chief executive to make the most outlandish and destructive claims without providing a scintilla of evidence to support them. "

The New York Times added:

Ben Rhodes, a former top national security aide to Mr. Obama, said in a Twitter message directed at Mr. Trump on Saturday that “no president can order a wiretap” and added, “Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”

The New York Times also quotes:

"Even some Republican lawmakers questioned Mr. Trump’s accusations. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement demanding that the president reveal everything he knows about any wiretaps or warrants.

“The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information,” Mr. Sasse said, adding that “we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.”

The Atlantic story details procedures and safeguards concerning wiretaps.

If any further evidence were necessary that this country has a seriously unhinged chief executive in the White House, this was it.

Meanwhile, President Obama was in New York recently, attending a new production of Arthur Miller's play The Price, with his daughter Malia.  At every stop he made during the day, cheering crowds gathered.

No comments: