Fake News, Useful Idiots, and Banana Republicans

Trump lies happen at such an astonishing pace, that it is difficult to keep track of them. There is substantial evidence for this from the tally kept by the Washington Post (18,000 as of April 2020) to Forbes noting an increase in the rate of lies (23.3/day up to 23.8/day during corona) to the Trump Lies Project sponsored by the New York Times.

The lies are part of a larger story. While he’s great at producing lies from his own mind, extemporaneously, like a great jazz improvisor, he also adopts and promotes destructive Russian created conspiracy theories.

Russia has a long history of exporting chaos and disharmony, with the goal of undermine the idea of democracy. A dramatic example is Pizza-gate, where Hilary Clinton was accused of running a child sex ring from the basement of a pizzeria. This caused deranged Trump supporter to shoot the place up with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

The above video, The Seven Commandments of Fake News, explains how the Soviets created and spread fake news (the retro term is disinformation). It breaks the method down into seven key steps. A key step entails finding a ‘useful idiot’; someone who spreads the news unwittingly. Trump is Useful Idiot Number One. To compound the damage, he’s taught his base to believe only him and to distrust legitimate news sources. Many followers of his cult genuinely do not know any better.

Who does know better? The Republicans in Congress. Self-serving cowards like McConnell, Graham, Cruz, Rubio, Collins, Johnson, McCarthy, and the rest of the rotten lot. Our history is filled with principled men and women who risked their lives to defend our principles. The threat not of death, but of being given a nickname by the Dear Leader, was enough for them to drop their principles like a hot rock. They are beholden to an irrational and angry base they helped create by staying silent when convenient lies were told, like the birther conspiracy.

There are consequences to this cowardice. After voting not to impeach Trump, Senator Susan Collins said she thought he learned his lesson. Her expectations were not fulfilled. Trump went on to label Covid-19 a hoax, jeopardizing the lives of many who could have been saved by early intervention, and to order armed officials to use rubber bullets and toxic gasses on peaceful protestors for the sake of a photo op.

The Vichy Republicans have shown that they are incapable of protecting their constituents, defending the Constitution, or speaking out against injustices. This is banana republic stuff. They are an embarrassment and, like him, must be removed.

A quick disclaimer: Before anyone says this has nothing to do with Hitchens, it has everything to do with him. He defined the fight of his life as being against totalitarianism, which includes protecting free speech and truth. See previous post, “Taking on “What Would Hitchens Have Thought?”.

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