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Friday, October 20, 2017

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

The tweeter-in-chief managed to keep the attention largely focused on himself this week with inane, reality-defying statements about hacking, television ratings and being a really “big fan” of intelligence.

If Trump wasn’t so scary, he’d be ridiculous, but he is ridiculous as well as being really really scary. Those are the two realities we all need to hold simultaneously in our heads. And it hurts.

A discussion on CNN about Trump’s cavalier tweets goading North Korea about nuclear missiles provided the perfect illustration of just how terrifyingly low expectations have sunk for his presidency. After commentator Bakari Sellers called Trump’s tweeting habit a dangerously provocative and ill-considered way to conduct foreign policy, Trump mouthpiece Kayleigh McEnany stunned her co-panelists. “We’re still here,” she said. “There hasn’t been a nuclear war yet.”

Yikes.

Here are five instances of deranged thinking emanating from the right-wing Trump-o-verse this week.

1. Trump displayed one of the sicker parts of his mentality.

Trump said all manner of nutty and troubling things about the burgeoning Russian hacking scandal this week—threatening to overhaul the intelligence community until it gives him the answers he wants, calling the whole matter a “political witch hunt,” and calling for an investigation of NBC rather than the Russians, among others. But he also pursued a story line that is of a piece with his general blame-the-victim mentality, saying the Democrats were at fault for being hacked in the first place.

“Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place,” he tweeted, “The Republican National Committee had strong defense!”

This, of course, is nonsense. All indications are that the hacking and leaks of information were to benefit Trump, and that the Democrats were targeted deliberately. The Republicans were also hacked, but the material was not leaked. But the tweet is also of a piece in the sick, sordid, empathy-bereft stew sloshing around in Trump’s mind. Trump, after all, blames losers for losing, prisoners of war for being captured, taxpayers for paying taxes, and for all we know agrees with his pal and cabinet appointee Ben Carson that shooting victims are to blame for just sitting there and letting themselves get shot.

We are all in deep, deep trouble, but you knew this already.

2. Kellyanne Conway has a bizarre misunderstanding of her own style.

In a contentious interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo this week, Kellyanne Conway did all the dodging, bobbing and weaving she could muster to avoid answering the direct question Cuomo had posed about hacking. The topic was Trump’s false assertion that no one brought up the hacking story until after the election.

“Third time: Did Clapper come out in early October and say we know Russia is behind the hacks, period, full stop?” Cuomo said, growing obviously impatient. Conway, who had evaded the question thus far, tried to change the subject.

Cuomo would not let her. “Why won’t the president-elect acknowledge what is so clear to the intelligence community that Russia was involved in the hacks?” he asked.

Finally, Conway, whom Rachel Maddow aptly dubbed a “puppet without a hand,” advanced her counter-offensive, which was to accuse those who are so concerned about Russian interference in the election on behalf of Trump as trying to “delegitimize his presidency.”

That would be a dirty trick, one which would certainly appall the birther-in-chief and his spokes-pods. Only the lowest pond scum would try to delegitimize a president selected by an overwhelming minority of the American electorate.

Cuomo said he was “just trying to put the facts out there” and accused Conway of “ducking the obvious.”

To which she took great umbrage. “Hey, Chris, I’m not ducking a thing. Not my style.”

Then she collapsed in a heap from all the ducking, dodging and weaving she had performed.

3. Mitch McConnell turns out to have hilarious sense of humor.

When Senator Chuck Schumer intimated that at least some Democrats might have some backbone in fighting what are sure to be Trump’s extremist Supreme Court nominees, Republicans were outraged. How dare Democrats tear a page from the Republican obstructionist playbook. No fair!

Trump’s reaction was to oh-so-presidentially tweet that Schumer, with whom the PEOTUS had previously had cordial relations, was the Democrats’ “head clown” in an otherwise typo-filled tweet. Moments later, having suffered something resembling a brain aneurysm, he tweeted that Democrats and Republicans need to work together to gut Obamacare and deprive millions of life-saving health insurance. A real kumbaya moment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to have a case of amnesia that unfolds over a longer time frame than the nine minutes that passed between Trump’s contradictory tweets. McConnell’s response to Schumer’s laying down of the gauntlet was: “Apparently there’s yet a new standard now, which is to not confirm a Supreme Court candidate at all. I think that’s something the American people simply will not tolerate.”

Oh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, Mitch! It’s not as if you spear-headed the blockade against even considering President Obama’s middle-of-the-road nominee to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, Merrick Garland in an unprecedented act of craven obstructionism.

Good one, “American people will not tolerate . . . ” stop, our sides are hurting.

4. Tomi Lahren gave us the perfect reminder that she is an unconscionable monster.

Finally, the right wing got the fodder it needed to rail about black people committing crimes again. That’s been a lot harder lately with crime rates plunging in general, black on white crime practically non-existent, and the trial of white racist mass church murderer Dylann Roof grabbing the whole spotlight.

No person with the decency level of a toenail would politicize the horrendously cruel, days-long attack on a mentally disabled man in Chicago this week, video of which appeared on Facebook, and in many major media outlets until it was taken down.

Enter right-wing YouTube star Tomi Lahren, who quickly displayed her uncanny ability to take hatefulness to new unprecedented heights by mashing together this apparent hate-crime with Dylann Roof’s black church massacre. Other right-wing commentators, like the not-at-all reformed Glenn Beck, hastened to blame the peaceful Black Lives Matter movement for the attack, without a shred of evidence other than the fact that the assailants appeared to be black. Lahren derided the media, the police and Obama for not immediately calling the assault a hate crime. Which they actually did.

“Chicago police aren’t sure if it was politically motivated,” Lahren said. “Are you freaking kidding me? This is the definition of a hate crime, and these four sick individuals deserve a seat on death row right next to Dylann Roof.”

Hmmm. Really? Nine slaughtered, one assaulted. Same.

Her tirade continued as she very originally blamed the decline of black families, inner cities, and hip-hop culture for the assault, and demanded Black Lives Matter disavow the attackers. (They did, of course, with DeRay McKesson describing the attackers as “thugs.”) Try as we might, we cannot remember similar hand-wringing over the decline of the white family, rural lifestyles and country music when Roof was arrested. Did we miss when white nationalists like Steve Bannon and Lahren herself disavowed Roof? Or when anyone described remorseless, lilywhite Roof as a thug?

Most of the right-wing commentators made hay out of the racial and political aspects of the crime—the attackers insulted their victim for supporting Trump, whether or not it’s true. The sickening frequency of attacks on the disabled barely seemed to register and was not politically useful.

5. Newt Gingrich crawls out from under a rock to say something stupid.

In a shocking development (not), Trump fanboy Newt Gingrich blamed President Obama for the fact that four black Chicagoans committed a horrific crime.

This makes perfect sense to Newt. It is also why he is always welcome to appear on Fox & Friends where he can make these nonsensical statements to his heart’s content.

Gingrich’s reasoning appears to be this: Obama is black, and sometimes black people do bad things, therefore he is to blame.

“I think a lot of their language, a lot of their approach heightened that sense of racial tension,” Gingrich said of the Obama administration. “And I think we have to oppose white racism, we also have to oppose black racism.”

Clearly, the Newtster managed to miss Obama’s statement immediately calling the livestreamed attack a “despicable hate crime?” And we must have miss the part where Obama juiced up racial tension. Apparently, he did this by being black and occupying the White House and by producing a birth certificate that said he was not born in Kenya.

More of Newt’s false narrative went like this: “And I think if this had been done to an African-American by four whites, every liberal in the country would be outraged and there would be no question that it’s a hate crime,” Newt continued.

Earth to Moonrocket Newt. Liberals too were outraged by the wanton cruelty shown to this disabled man.

IMAGE: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes his way through the crowd after addressing a Tea Party rally against the Iran nuclear deal at the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

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