Diversion by Aspersion: Trump’s Latest Tweet

Trump tweet
Donald Trump’s twitter image

W,J. Astore

Give the hobgoblin with the bad comb-over his due: He knows how to divide and distract, to divert attention by casting aspersions on others.

The latest Trump tweet that showcased this tactic came today at the G-20 Summit when Trump tweeted the following:

“Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”

The Washington Post analyzes why this tweet is so wrongheaded and misleading, but a factual analysis won’t matter to Trump’s legion of followers.

There’s a method to Trump’s madness.  By continuing to vilify Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and smaller fish like John Podesta, he’s distracting Americans from his own problems with the FBI.  He’s saying the real crooks, the true inept leaders, are Democrats. Somehow, he thinks this “look over there!” misdirection ploy will work.  And he may well be right.  Trump learned a lot from “reality” TV and wrestling shows, including how to entertain people even as he exploits them.

When I think about Trump, I come back to one of my father’s favorite sayings: the empty barrel makes the most noise.  Trump always makes a lot of noise, but there’s nothing there.  There’s no substance.  The noise, because it’s so loud and annoying, briefly grabs your attention, then it’s gone.

Yet the damage it does isn’t gone.  Even as we become accustomed to the thunder of Trump’s tweet storms, we’re slowly losing our hearing.  By hearing, I mean our ability to discern truth, or at least to block out the thunderous distraction of big lies.

When the president is a walking (or golf cart-riding), tweeting, fabricating, drum-beating clown, democracy can’t help but suffer.

More and more under Trump, discourse in America is being degraded. But the bigger problem may be that so few Americans seem to care.

13 thoughts on “Diversion by Aspersion: Trump’s Latest Tweet

  1. Maybe, just maybe, “el Presidente” Putin knocked some sense into his bleached blonde bouffant partner. The 30 minutes turned into 1+hours. His tweets have since stopped.
    I’d guess this ex KGB + long time leader of Russia means business – not DJT’s bourgeois bankruptcy prone nonsense; real business!
    Sanctions have hurt Europe harder than Russia!, so he’ll have some support. The horror, Victoria Nuland, who Billary appointed, overthrew Ukraine, and in her wild neocon dreams thought she’d get Crimea, historic Russian port on Black Sea! That’s how demented they are!
    The Wash Post? There’s nothing to fight about, unless Russia invades San Diego. I hope Putin put it down straight – stay out of our business & we’ll stay out of yours.
    MIC won’t like it, but to make “America Great Again” we need more than bombs & overpriced, underperforming F-35’s.
    Don’t cry ‘Agent Orange’ won the election; cry over the choice – she’s no better, maybe worse. Fortunately, we’ll never find out, but don’t give the Podesta Family a BIT of honor: they’re not “small players” but dirty gangsters.
    What we’re seeing is the last gasp of colonialism: Billary failed, Bush, Obama also. Aha! Qatar! RICH! But it ain’t Portugal’s Brasil or Spain’s S. America, England’s India, or France’s Indonesia.
    It’s over folks! Make your own countries better & use fair trade! Qatar & Iran will beat the s**t out of you McDonald’s slobs!
    Putin knows that. Will ‘Agent Orange’ listen?

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    1. Agent Orange — what a nickname!

      Yup — no fan of Hillary Clinton. Deeply compromised candidate with no compelling narrative other than “It’s my turn” and “I’m not Trump.”

      Yes. America needs to get its collective act together. Fewer Big Macs and more thinking would help. We need to super-size our brains, not our meals.

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  2. Speaking of America’s Embarrassment (who can even begin to count them all?), Margaret Kimberley at Information Clearing House makes some pretty fair observations:

    (1) “Trump is a truly repugnant human being, but he did not attack seven nations (Obama), destroy a major social welfare program (Clinton), or authorize massive new surveillance on Americans (Bush and Obama).”

    (2) “They turned the Obamas into an American version of a royal family and then used his personal popularity to make the case for war crimes and bank bailouts.”

    (3) “The list of reasons to be embarrassed about America is very long and it existed before Trump was inaugurated. He has surely added to that ledger but legitimate cause for concern shouldn’t be pushed aside in favor of phony outrage about optics. President Trump is an ill-mannered, impulsive, happily uninformed bigot. Most of his predecessors were better behaved and followed rules of public relations. But they filled the jails, ended the right to public assistance, killed millions of people abroad, kept wages low and used a variety of schemes to make the rich even richer. Despite his obvious shortcomings Donald Trump is not the worst among them. And that is the most embarrassing fact of all.”

    What she said.

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    1. “President Trump is an ill-mannered, impulsive, happily uninformed bigot” — a fair description.

      But when your ignorance and bigotry extends to denying global warming and boasting about nuclear weapons supremacy while seeking maximum tax cuts for the richest by stripping health care from the poorest — well, it’s more than “ill-mannered” and “impulsive.”

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  3. Yes, President Trump walked away from the Paris Accords on Global Warming. Not good. He also walked away from Barack Obama’s attempted TPP giveaway to the Global Corporate Oligarchy. Very good. Score: 1-1.

    As for tax-cuts for the richest, every Republican goes for that, but most corporate Democrats do, too, so I’d wait and see what accually happens on the fiscal front. I doubt seriously that the Russians will have any “influence” in this area, so what the Democrats have to propose as an alternative to Reagan-style “Voodoo Economics” remains completely unknown at this time. Thanks to U.S. and European sanctions, the Russians have reduced their imports, increased their exports, become far more self-sufficient economically, and reduced their national indebtedness to a relatively low level. The massively indebted deadbeat U.S. government has gone in precisely the opposite direction. Whether President Trump understands this or even cares, I do not know, but calling him a buffoon and blaming the Russians for him does not seem to me like a viable strategy for promoting America’s economic health.

    The Democrats — if they actually had any plan to get back into power — would start screaming bloody murder about a 100% “war profits” tax on the One Percent who love America’s endless wars and bloated Pentagram budget as a means of enriching themselves while impoverishing the working class. If I could craft a talking point for the Democrats, I would advise quoting one of the characters in the movie Prizzi’s Honor who said of the Sicilian mafia: “They love their money more than their children, and they’re very fond of their children.” No need to draft the children of the One Percent. The U.S. military would just make them generals and admirals from their first day of (self) “service.” Just tax away their money. The needless, pointless, and ruinous wars will cease pretty damned quick. But the so-called “Democrats” have no plan of their own, and since you can’t beat something with nothing, I wouldn’t write off President Trump just yet. Who knows? If Russian President Vlaimir Putin can educate President Trump on the actual reality of this world and its problems — as well as its potential — then perhaps things might begin to look up for Americans. Too bad that the Democratic Party has completely checked out of the conversation. Shrieking maniacally about “The Russians” really makes them look weak, lame, and pathetic. The Democrats — at John Podesta’s earnest urging — wanted Donald Trump to run against because they felt certain even the vastly unpopular You-Know-Her could beat the rank beginner. So they got what they wished for and lost to their own cartoon creation.

    Personally, I don’t care about Donald Trump. He could pass from the scene at any time, like one of his twitter brain farts. He doesn’t seem to have much control over his own government — especially his UN freakshow, Nikki Haley — and it will prove instructive to see if he has any ability to staff the government and make it work. His appointments look pretty terrible so far, but he did get his guy on the Supreme Court in record time because President Barack Obama never gave a shit about getting his appointment through if it meant actually having to work for something. Too bad for the United States that the Democrats gave Trump two such easy targets to run against: the fence-sitting rhetorical rapper, Barack Obama, and Wall-Street bimbo, You-Know-Her (because everybody does).

    So, yes, let us vociferously criticize the dumb and destructive things that President Donald Trump says and does. But let us, as well, encourage him to do better things, like establish better relations with Russia. Again, when the Democrats insist upon a confiscatory 100% war-profits tax on the richest Americans, then I’ll believe that the Democrats have some purpose again. So far no sign of that. Even worse for them and for America, if they don’t start proposing working-class policies and programs, President Donald Trump will have nothing to worry about for the next seven years. Don’t like Donald Trump? Then blame the Democrats for not offering us a better choice.

    And one last thing. If the Russians actually had anything to do with keeping You-Know-Her and Bubba Bill out of the White House for another four-to-eight years, I can only say: “Thank You, Russia.” Better to have the Republicans doing their own dirty work out in the open than have yet another Reagan-worshipping “Democrat” doing it for them behind a phony screen of “concern” for the working class they have betrayed.

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    1. I agree with everything you say about the Democrats, Mike. They’re not so much a party as they are a fundraising operation. They only know what they’re against — mainly Trump — and not what they’re for (other than raising more money).

      Hillary’s most revealing comment, because it was unscripted and came before ardent supporters, was the “basket of deplorables” one. Showing contempt for voters is never a wise path to victory. People talk about Russian hacking and so on, but how many “deplorable” voters chose that very moment never to consider voting for her? Especially fence-straddlers in key rural states like PA?

      Hillary was supposed to be the smart and experienced candidate, but she ran dumb. Her own mistakes did her in, a fact she’s still loath to admit, turning to the Russians and FBI instead as the ones who did her wrong.

      How easy it is to be blinded by one’s own ego.

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  4. “Style prevails over substance only when there is no substance.” Honestly, it seems like the political system is a bunch of posturing and blowing of hot air. Russians know this too: Nikita Khrushchëv supposedly once said “politicians are the same all over – they promise to build a bridge even when there’s no river.” Trump is a showman, there’s no doubt. However, the use of misdirection is not something that only he does; in fact, he probably learned it from the people he claims to be victimised by, such as the main stream media. When last I checked, America’s trust in the MSM was a mere 6% (although that has now dropped to ZERO for CNN in the wake of their hissy-fit over one of Trump’s tweets), and I imagine that the overall trust in politicians isn’t much higher. The various parties’ spheres of interest have shrunk to the point where they no longer care about anyone but themselves; even their cronies are on their own. I think the real question is “how much longer can they keep up the shell game before the whole system falls apart?”

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    1. Yes. And the fact that the institution Americans profess to trust the most — the military — has bungled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan says much about the American moment. It’s hard to run a democracy when citizens (now there’s a quaint word) have little trust in foundational institutions like the press, justice, the churches, Congress, etc.

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  5. I just heard a great line from Dmitry Babich of Sputnik News on the RT “Crosstalk” program. He wondered:

    “How did Trump’s detractrors view the ideal conversation with Putin about the [alleged Russian] interference in the U.S. elections? Would Trump say something like “Why did you make me the President of the United States? Next time don’t do it, OK? It’s absurd that he should be tough on Putin about his own victory in the election.”

    Someone should point out to America’s UN freak-person Nikki Haley that she wouldn’t have her present position if not for the nefarious Russians, at least according to her own rabid excoriations of them for defeating You-Know-Her so Donald Trump and the Republicans wouldn’t have to do that for themselves. What a doubleplusgood duckspeaker!

    These rabid neocons trashing their own [supposed] political benefactors in the Kremlin remind me of something Thomas Frank said about the Republican electorate in Kansas:

    “For decades Americans have experienced a populist uprising that only benefits the people it is supposed to be targeting. … The angry workers, mighty in their numbers, are marching irresistibly against the arrogant. They are shaking their fists at the sons of privilege. They are laughing at the dainty affectations of the Leawood toffs. They are massing at the gates of Mission Hills, hoisting the black flag, and while the millionaires tremble in their mansions, they are bellowing out their terrifying demands. “We are here,” they scream, “to cut your taxes.”

    There you have what passes for “populism” on the far right of the American political spectrum. Even worse, though, the corporate Democrats — who despise anything even remotely associated with anything called a “Left” — thought that they could run even further to the right than the Republicans whose candidate, Donald Trump, actually campaigned somewhat to the left of You-Know-Her and closer to the true center of the country. So now it seems that the elected Republican officials should hate the Russians for putting them in power as much as the Democrats hate the Russians for keeping them out of power. Kind of a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation for the Russians, which perfectly suits the ruling corporate oligarchy that owns both of America’s right-wing parties. Republicans calling Democrats “the Left” sounds to me like Attila the Hun calling Genghis Kahn “the lesser barbarian.” I just think of the Democrats as the Republican Party’s junior varsity. They’ll get in the game once the score gets so out of reach with one minute to go on the clock that it really won’t matter who gets to play.

    I think that the Russians and their President understand all this. But do the American people?

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  6. Call me an anti-semite and mysoginist if you like, but I voted for the Jewish Lady Dr Jill Stein of the Green Party for President last year. I had many good reasons for doing this, but as a lifelong dirty-fucking-hippy anti-war Vietnam veteran, I did so primarily because she advocated slashing the bloated and inept U.S. military by 50%. This sounded like just the thing to me, at least for the first year of her administration. I just couldn’t stomach the thought of “choosing” between a Wall-Street war-witch and a cable-tv billionaire warlock for “leader” of my country. Personally, I would have put a padlock on the front door of the White House along with a posted sign reading: “Closed for Cleaning and Disinfecting. Come back in four years with someone worthy of living and working here.”

    That said: I like the terms “diversion” and “aspersion” in the title of this article, although it seems a bit ironic to me that the corporate Democrats have decided — in their usual myopic, self-castrating manner — to provide the Mother Of All Diversions (MOAD) for Donald Trump by casting hysterical, monomaniacal, ludicrous “Russia did something to us and someday we’ll find out just what” aspersions at him 24/7, and to do so free of charge. So, if I get this right, we have Trump’s pathetic little twitter account against six thoroughly discredited mega-media corporations, the entire Democratic Party apparatus, the Pentagram, the “Intelligence Community,” the worst half of the Republican Party (Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio, et al) — and Trump somehow manages to distract and divert them all from … what exactly? It seems to me like they’ve collectively decided to do the diverting and aspersion-casting for him.

    I suspect “collusion” all right. Just not with the Russians.

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    1. While I basically agree with MS Kimberley’s citicism of Donald Dumb’s critics, I’d add that she may be exonerating him a bit too early, as he’s hardly had time yet to inflict the same damage as his predecessors. Unless some of his wiser ‘advisors’ manages to stop him, I bet he will eventually create a mess. His disconcertingly unabashed frankness could have been refreshing, if it were backed by solid knowledge and values. I think we all agree that that is not the case.
      As a non-American watching US politics pretty closely since the latest presidentials, I am amazed at the amount of time the whole country it would seem – politicians, press and even individual citizens-are devoting to ‘the Russians’. Who cares? Of course they tried to get into the elections, just like the US government has been doing for decades in elections in other countries and often in much more agressive ways by actually overthrowing foreign governments for the sake of ‘regime change’, and countless other countries are doing it too, with different levels of professionality and success. Is there really nothing more important to worry about? Putin must be having a great time observing this reality show, as he quietly goes about his own business.
      I’m not suggesting that such suspicions should not be investigated, but discreetly, by the proper channels, while the rest of the government and society get on with their normal business.
      So now the latest episode of ‘The Continuing Story of Putin Place’ has it, that Donald Jr was offered discrediting info about Ms C. An awful lot of conjecture but not a word about the only thing that would interest me : what exactly was there to find out about Ms C’s backdoor dealings?
      The Trump-bashing is so pervasive, that his main rival can be settling ever more comfortably in her role of the victim manoevered out of what was rightly hers and feel increasingly vindicated as such.

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      1. Thanks for the comments, Pamela. Responding to your final paragraph would take something of an essay for which I have not the time at the moment — like, why do you use the present tense when speaking about You-Know-Her as President Trump’s “main rival”? — but about your penultimate paragraph and its question about You-Know-Her’s own “backdoor dealings” I’ll let Robert Parry of Consortium News provide the relevant facts. See:

        Forgetting the ‘Dirty Dossier’ on Trump

        I can think of many criticisms to level at President Trump, but paying a defrocked British spy to solicit dubious Russian “sources” (yes, they have some anonymous “sources,” too) into peddling a story about Donald Trump letting some Russian whores piss all over him in a Moscow hotel — the same hotel where President Obama and other U.S. officials have stayed — seems a bit over the top to me, even for the debased and slanderous environment that passes for “a national conversation” in America.

        Personally, I’d pay more attention to the Pentagon and “Intelligence Community” than President Donald Trump. He will do what they trap him into doing. They blew up President Obama’s and Secretary Kerry’s agreement with the Russians in Syria and they will have no compunctions about doing the same to President Trump and Secretary Tillerson. Just listen to America’s loudmouth neocon freak, Nikki Haley, if you want to know who really calls the shots in U.S. foreign policy. When President Trump fires her after the Democrats start screaming for her hide, then I’ll pay the Republicans and Democras a compliment on getting at least one thing right. Not before.

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