As we come to the end of 2016, we face the willful rejection of reality so terrifying that we hope we haven’t also come to the end of American democracy.
It is not only Donald Trump’s shocking rejection of reality that is worrisome but his followers’ rejection of all the evidence of the Donald Trump who really is. So many excuses have not been heard since the Nuremberg trials.
I want to talk about this:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
Damned by his own words, but doing what he does best, accusing somebody else of doing precisely what he himself is guilty of.
Donald Trump has become the beacon for all those who think their beliefs and preconceptions should have the same truth value as objective and verifiable observations. They do not: Facts are things that have been consistently and repeatedly confirmed. Wishful thinking substitutes what people want to be true; it is a rejection of those objective and verifiable observations.
As columnist Ruth Marcus wrote at The Washington Post,
“The most disturbing thing about Russia’s interference with the U.S. election — whether or not it had the desired effect — is Russia’s interference. The second most disturbing thing — and now that he is about to be president, it is a pretty close second — is Trump’s obstinate, unyielding refusal to accept the unanimous conclusion of U.S. intelligence experts that Russia was behind the hacking.”
Reuters’ Jonathan Landay remarked on a disturbance instance of this the other day, tweeting that,
“Kelly Ann Conway tells CNN that Russian military intelligence doesn’t keep assets in the US. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
Howard Dean’s response is strikes at the heart of the problem we are addressing here:
Terrifying to have her in the WH. This is willful ignorance. https://t.co/9kfF3CGBLv
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) December 30, 2016
Russia not only has military intelligence deployed in the United States but it is hacking our power grid: the Grizzly Steppe code, a name given it by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been found in a Vermont utility, The Burlington Electric Department.
It is the same code used to hack the DNC. The FBI and DHS Joint Analysis Report traces it to Russian military intelligence body known as GRU, and APT 29. The same people Conway insists had nothing to do with it.
Vermont’s governor, Peter Shumlin said in a statement:
“Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety.”
Conway is not the only dilettante to claim to know more than the experts. We see this also in Rudy Giuliani’s assertion that, “There’s no question that the intelligence that President Obama has been getting has either been incompetent or politicized.” Cybersecurity experts don’t know what they’re talking about, but a former mayor does.
Of course, as Ruth Marcus says it is Trump who cannot look past politics, and there has probably never been a day Rudy Giuliani did not politicize every word that came out of his mouth.
If what needs to be true is suddenly more important than what actually is, we’re all in a lot of trouble. It used to be that you could sh*t in one hand and wish in the other and know with scatological certainty which would fill first, but as 2016 comes to a close, you would be profoundly wrong.
Facts like these revelations about the extent of Russian hacking upset the Trump narrative. We don’t know the reasons for Trump’s “obstinate, unyielding refusal” to accept these facts or any other.
He may simply be a chump (i.e. “Useful Idiot Trump”) or be putting his own Russia profits ahead of national security (“Conflict of Interest Trump”), or he may be Vladimir Putin’s agent provocateur (“Meat Puppet Trump”).
Any one of the three is terrifying in a president. If there are other dimensions, all three of these fellows might be inflicting themselves on innocents somewhere but what matters is which Trump will be revealed in 2017.
To get back to Trump’s tweet, it is Fox News that is being played for fools. And all of Trump’s followers, of course. And possibly Trump himself.
That depends upon the truth and not the wishful thinking of his connection to Putin, though the more Trump opens his mouth the more he damns himself as Meat Puppet Trump.
Sure he’s a big crybaby. But the smart money is on him being Vladimir Putin’s crybaby.