Trumpworld Fake News: Iran attacks US Navy, Iraqis Massacre Bowling Green

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

So I was watching Chris Matthews’ Hardball on MSNBC Thursday evening and Matthews had Kellyanne Conway on to defend Trump’s disastrous first two weeks. For some reason, Matthews declines to challenge her when she flat-out lies, although he is quick to get in the face of most other guests. He used to turn his show over to Trump, with no commentary or fact-checking, most nights at 7:30 pm during the presidential campaign, so bears some responsibility for our president catastrophe (though to be fair no doubt his bosses instructed him to do this).

In the course of defending Trump’s 7-nation Muslim ban, Conway alleged that President Obama stopped refugees from Iraq from entering the US for 6 months in response to two Iraqi terrorists who struck in Bowling Green.

Whaaat?

Chris Matthews Pushes Kellyanne Conway On Use Of Executive Power | Hardball | MSNBC

There was no attack on Bowling Green and none was ever planned. There was an arrest of two Iraqi Sunnis there who were charged with supporting Daesh abroad. That arrest did not account for Obama’s refugee stop. Moreover, Obama did not stop visas for Iraqis, unlike Trump, who has canceled even valid visas for citizens of 7 countries. Conway’s attempt to compare Trump’s/ Bannon’s actions to those of Obama would be laughable if the dark racism of her fantasies were not so dangerous.

By the way, did actually arrest a domestic terrorist in Bowling Green, a convicted felon and white supremacist who illegally stockpiled an arsenal of guns and 40,000 rounds of ammunition and who planned to kill Jews and African-Americans. Schmidt is a German name, so I presume Ms. Conway will be announcing a German ban next? And, make note that the GOP Congress just repealed an Obama regulation requiring background checks before gun purchases. It is a little amusing that the FBI professed itself puzzled as to how Schmidt got all those guns.

Conway also alleged that the countries were chosen because their governments were known to train and dispatch terrorists.

This is not true. No one thinks the Iraqi government sends out terrorists on missions, (much less to its American ally in the fight against ISIL!) Libya has more than one government but I’m pretty sure we’re allied with at least one of them, and it is Libyans who defeated Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) at Sirte. Likewise, the Syrian government may be authoritarian and brutal but it has never targeted the US for terrorism. There haven’t been any Sudanese terrorist attacks on the US to my knowledge, and certainly not any time in the past two decades.

Here’s an interview with the elected president of Somalia in which he says, “We have made progress in our foreign relations. We have almost 30 foreign embassies working in Somalia; the United States, our biggest ally formally recognized the government of Somalia . . ..

If you wanted to ban Somalis because the al-Shabab group is based there, at least that would not be based on a falsehood, though it would be ridiculous to keep out women and children refugees (the vast majority) because there are al-Shabab in the country. We have a Ku Klux Klan, too. But banning Somalis because you think your ally President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is a terrorist is just ca-r-ra- a- zy.

Then White House public liar, I mean, chief spokesman, Sean Spicer, said that Gen. Flynn had put Iran ‘on notice’ because it had attacked an American vessel in the Red Sea.

The Houthi militia that controls northern Yemen hit a Saudi vessel with a missile earlier this weak. Saudi Arabia blames Iran, since it sees the Houthis as cat’s paws of Iran. But that view is propaganda. There is no evidence at all of significant arms flows or strategic advice going from Iran to the Houthis. Most Houthi weapons are American, delivered to them by the elements of the Yemeni army loyal to deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has allied with the Houthis. The latter movement comes out of Zaydi Shiism, which accounts for a third of Yemenis and is localized in northern Yemeni tribes. These Zaydis are angry that the Saudis tried to proselytize them into becoming Wahhabis (and who wouldn’t be). They are a nativist movement resenting foreign influence, not proxies for Iran (they have a different branch of Shiism).

So there is no reason to think that Iran was behind the shelling of the Saudi vessel. Saudi Arabia has committed numerous war crimes in Yemen with indiscriminate bombing and has targeted civilian infrastructure, so however regrettable violence might be, no one can be surprised that the scrappy Yemenis fight back.

Spicer, like Conway, just makes things up.

The evidence is, moreover, that millions of people lap up this steaming crock they serve, and no doubt most Americans will believe them rather than believing people who know what they are talking about.

This detachment from reality and extreme violence to the facts will eventually come back around to bite America on the ass. There is every reason to think, moreover, that President Bannon will use the very violence he provoked to steal our rights from us.

Me, I’m going to go watch the recording I made of The Expanse on Syfy. The tale of an Earth-Martian conflict in which the colonists of the asteroid belt get caught up, it is much more plausible than Trump’s spokespeople.

46 Responses

  1. Now that we have a president the Duck Dynasty/ Sarah Palin “Might is Right” warmongers can rally behind, because Commissar Trump is ordained by God, bring on the wall to wall coverage of American missiles illuminating the night sky over Tehran. You can almost hear Hannity saying….”America is great again!”

    For eight years the Trumpketeers have suffered under, in their view, a weak president who put health care ahead of a Syrian intervention. A president who made peace with Iran rather than bombing them. Adding insult to injury he was black.

    Sidelined by Obama, the neocons have gleefully watched Trump pump up the adrenaline of that segment of the American population, mostly angry whites, to the point even members of the Iranian navy giving our sailors the finger is excuse enough to blow Iranian boats of the water.

    Trump is too stubborn and insecure to make peace with enemies, he has to destroy them. That might work in real estate and on reality shows but I think he will find Iran is not as easy to humiliate as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  2. It’s tempting to admire, or at least marvel at, Conway’s fluent psychopathy. She fits the tale right in with the American idea that ubiquitous terrorists are likely to bomb a mailbox down the street at any moment — even as the cosmopolitan schemers of media hide the heinous act from public view.

    There must be some way out of here: but what is it?

    • “There must be some way out of here: but what is it?”

      No., there isn’t.

      Unfortunately, the Republicans are quite happy to shelve their morals and duty to the country in the interests of keeping their power and position, both collective and individual. So they will continue to support Trump cos’ there’s money to be made.. lots of it.

      The people don’t see beyond the immediate 15-minutes of broadcast news and can’t think beyond it either.

      Sadly, this means this is but the beginning of a long decline that cannot be arrested

      • M.Miris
        Whoa there buddy “The people don’t see beyond the immediate 15 minutes of broadcast news and can’t think beyond it either ” Miris have you not seen the thousands of progressives on the streets in the airports rallying against MAGA bulls–t agenda.
        The courts are the first stop in stopping Trump & his proto Fascist ,( the Muslim Ban was overturned last night) the next stop will be the midterm elections . There is a very good opportunity here for democrats &progressives , to defeat the Reactionaries . We only need take back three Senate Seats from the Reactionary Republicans in 2018 , then the battle against the proto Fascist will really be on then..

        • alba etie

          I hope you are right.

          However, I respectfully disagree with you. There may be a “very good opportunity for democrats and progressives” but I seriously doubt whether anything will happen, even in 2018 – Republicans are not going to give up the gravy train they have so easily.

          Trump lost the “popular vote”., but what difference did that make ? In terms of the US Political System, he won, fair and square.

          Thousands may protest (for now) but it will die down when everyone wearies of it all and goes back home to live their lives under this new norm

          The Muslim Ban was not strictly overturned but merely postponed. It will live on, perhaps in a different form and under a different name.

          Belief in American Exceptionalism assures it. And everyone is a believer

      • It is quite true that the Republicans are “quite happy to shelve their morals and duty to the country in the interests of keeping their power and position, both collective and individual. So they will continue to support Trump cos’ there’s money to be made.. lots of it. ” But Republicans have no monopoly on this behavior. The same could be equally said about most Democrats (Bernie Sanders a a few others, excepted). Book deals, “speaking fees”, free favors, “jobs ” for relatives; these are all simply legalized bribes for services rendered or to be rendered. The Clintons went from “dead broke” when they left the White House where Bill deregulated the banks for the 15, to over $200,000,000 net worth in 8 years when their only legitimate source of income was Hillary’s sometime government jobs.

        • Jack

          For sure. No one has a monopoly on Gravy ! There has ALWAYS been a lot of money to be made in US Politics. If not, Lobbyists would not exist.

          In the present context however, I think the opportunities the Republicans are creating for themselves are unprecedented. It remains to be seen whether it can be checked or not.

          I am from a “third-world” country. I am often amused at the similarities between third-world tinpots and first-world “incorruptibles”. The only difference I notice is that the former does not have the finesse of the latter when it comes to helping oneself to the Gravy.

          Other than that, I would say that what is happening today is simply the result of no one objecting to the steady erosion of the freedoms that Americans had in the past. This is a situation that has been about 20+ years in the making, possibly more.

          There’s a long way to go.

    • The lies matter because they herald the direction the movement’s priests intend to direct society. Hitler told everyone his plans way back in 1923. Then he put on an act, switching stories to juggle his old followers with new ones to build an electoral party. But once he was in power, he was compelled to return to his true nature, his death list and the myths he truly believed. He had to fight another war with France, he had to eliminate the Jews, he had to invade Russia. He could not operate outside of his mental universe.

      So which of Trump’s bewildering flurry of bullshit are his core beliefs? His hatred of Iran, his need to lump all ordinary Moslems together as a single behemoth that cannot co-exist with Christians, his need to cripple China just because it’s so big, his view of Mexicans as having no existence but to plot against White America, his dismissal of Blacks as fit only to be criminals and servants, and most of all his contempt for women. He comes back to these things again and again. We can be more sure about those than about his beliefs on economics and the role of government.

      • One of the more optimistic conservative voices, who is nevertheless bothered in the manner of traditional republicans, is David Frumm, over at The Atlantic. His take on what to expect is quite pertinent in that he is well informed and writes from a perspective this website tends (with all due respect) to lack:

        link to theatlantic.com

        Following the same pattern of past behavior approach you use, which is pretty good in predicting future behavior, Frumm dismisses all the stuff you mention. I rather agree with you, but his perspective remains important.

        Frumm’s observation, based on past behavior, is of the danger from looting (in the billions?) we can expect from Trump, his family and new found cronies from around the world. This would lead to a sort of benign post-modern authoritarianism, such as we now see in Hungary. Governmental integrity would be further corroded (not to say it wasn’t already heading in this direction), leading us to something more typical in the developing world.

        This is as good a place as any to suggest a new website to combat the absolute deluge of BS, to clearly and completely document the gap between Trump statements and actions, and their realities. Set this thing up in a very simple two-column format, with his tweets or actions chronologically documented in the left column. Immediately next to each of these points have The Truth or how matters are actually unfolding on the right, with extensive links to primary source documentation (e.g., photos from the Washington Mall). It’d be like a spreadsheet, where the right column could keep expanding downward to reflect the unfolding realities and consequences of his actions.

        Dissenting voices, especially on the internet since the streets have become anachronistic, otherwise stand to be shouted down by the army of trolls Frumm himself anticipates. Also, any number of websites like this one may offer pertinent rebuttals, but they’re too widely scattered, are too inconsistent in their quality, and their coverage is otherwise entirely too ad hoc.

        What is needed is something to consistently, coherently, and succinctly provide ENDURING and ONGOING documentation of the realities that are now unfolding on a daily basis.

        The great danger here is that people will otherwise forget or miss the pattern of his actions and their impact, as Trump continues to distract people and change the subject with ever more outrageous 3 AM tweets. How many of his initiatives stand to be forgotten or minimized when he starts a war with Iran (and, of course, it’ll be all their fault)? The sheer volume of what he has promised and is poised to do will otherwise become overwhelming, and the impact of all this stuff is too easily diluted in its presence by more ‘breaking news’.

        Anyway one looks at it, resisting in the manner in which it has been done in the past is not going to cut it. To steal someone else’s observation from back before the election, there has to this point been a collective failure of imagination, particularly on the part of the media, of what this new regime portends. Only by waking-up and responding in new and more appropriate ways can a largely unimaginable disaster yet be mitigated.

        • With Frum, I can’t get past his invention of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ his role in drumming up a war on Iraq, and his defense of Dan Senor’s lies (for which both of them have been richly rewarded, while Iraq critics and whistleblowers had to resign or were fired and lost their mortgages). I predict as long as I am editor in chief you won’t see that perspective here.

        • OK. But recognizing the devil as such makes it that much easier to keep him in a proper and useful perspective.

          The point here being that even a guy like this, with such a pernicious history, also sees a crying need for some genuinely effective checks that at the moment don’t exist.

  3. “This detachment from reality and extreme violence to the facts will eventually come back around to bite America on the ass.”
    It is biting them in the ass. The US sheeple have been detached from reality for a long, long time. Look at who they just elected president. How much more proof do you need?

    • Economist, you are so right. We Americans have been lied to for a very long time, Nixon sending in military into Cambodia, Kuwaiti babies being thrown out of incubators by Iraqi soldiers, WMD in Iraq, and these are but a few lies we Americans were told leading up to battle. Even the FBI never charged Osama bin Laden for 911 due to the lack of evidence. Now that we have Trump and Spicer along with Kellyann, we Americans have now officially become Conspiracy Nuts….welcome to the club.

  4. Identifying Trump’s lies and distortions or those of his entourage will prove like counting sand in a desert. In fact they don’t really qualify as lies ; the word ‘lie’ carries the implication of being a calculated deception whereas these are more like the high octane verbal output of a bully in full flood. Although a veil is drawn over the calls, he seems to have humiliated the Mexican president by telling him at the top of his voice, “I do not need the Mexicans. I do not need Mexico. We will build this wall, and you will pay it, whether you like it or not “.* He had also apparently a similar conversation with the Australian PM about refugees during which, according to the Washington Post, he badgered, bragged and abruptly ended phone call. link to washingtonpost.com

    Some time back I suggested he was cast in the Vito Corleone mould and the last two weeks appear to support this. Everyone must do exactly what he says or they’ll find dead ponies in their beds. Do his appointments, and expansive military intentions, and his manner to other nations, begin to disclose his game plan for the rest of the world?

    * blockquote>Selon Dolia Estevez, qui a taxé l’échange de « très agressif, Trump a humilié Peña Nieto ». « Je n’ai pas besoin des Mexicains. Je n’ai pas besoin de Mexico. Nous allons construire ce mur, et vous allez le payer, que ça vous plaise ou non », aurait déclaré le président américain, selon des sources confidentielles des deux côtés consultées par la reporter. Trump aurait même suggéré l’envoi de troupes américaines au sud du Rio Bravo si les Mexicains étaient incapables de combattre les cartels de la drogue.

    • I normally enjoy your comments but I am a bit taken aback by your comparison of the Orange Menace to Don Corleone. Brando’s (and De Niro’s) depiction of the Don was one of a cool, restrained, thoughtful, methodical, calculating individual – above all cool; and the Don, say what you will, was a good family man who would frown on the Orange Menace’s libertinism. The only time The Don looses it is when he godson cries about not getting a part in a Hollywood movie.

      Please show a little respect for a great performance of a great movie. If you want cinematic analogies for the Orange Menace there are many from which to choose – Jabba the Hut (gross), Joe Pesci in Goodfellas (unhinged, violent psychopathic nut), or Fred Flintstone (caveman so temperamentally identical) would be good places to start.

    • Nicholas I see the resemblance of Trump to Vito Corleone, but I also see Henry VIII somewhere with in his empty narrow soul. I saw a picture of Trump flying up the steps of the White House to be greeted by the Obamas, and down at the bottom of the steps was Melania with gift in hand walking around the rear of the big limo while President Husband went twenty feet in front of her…with this I’m sure he will be a big hit with Saudi’s.

      My mother always told me how one lie always leads to another lie…boy was my mother so right.

  5. I was at the Massacre of Bowling Green. There was a new cat on the block who took down two squirrels in one hour. There was blood and fur everywhere.

  6. And so, this is how new realities are created. It’s a lot easier when agendas leverage themselves off, you know, reality. When there is a determined vision involved all bets are off.

    • Karl Rove once told a reporter that “we create our own reality.” And, as Conway has said, they fill it with “alternative facts.” And their uninformed base falls for it.

      • For anyone that interesting in the details of Rovian metaphysics, it was Ron Susskind, a highly credible journalist at The New Yorker, who reported this exchange, but he didn’t attribute it directly to Rove.

        In a psychological sense it’s actually an important tactic in the toolbox of petty salesmen and practitioners of the long-con. The trouble is when you apply ‘positive thinking’ (alternative thinking?) to objective realities. Even then you can sometimes get away with it by redefining words, as we now see with Trump.

        Ultimately, however, when objective reality is rejected, Hubris as a relentless guided missile is launched. The bigger the lie and the more one ducks and weaves with more lies, the more powerful the comeuppance when that missile inevitably connects, and it will.

  7. News flash, Juan: Word has it that Frederick Douglass was seen in the environs of Bowling Green. Let Kelly know ASAP.

    • If Fred Douglass were alive today he’d support All Lives Matter and denounced Black Lives Matter, the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King (commie-pinko), Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman. I know because Kelly-Anne Con-away (not a typo!) said it on teevee. Either that or the Dead-Eyed Granny Starver from the Koch Brother’s subsidiary, once known as Wisconsin, would rework MLK’s message of economic justice and equality to explain how if he were alive today he’d be a Republican.

  8. So they yell “bring it on” projecting more arms sales, and jobs, jobs, jobs to keep his America great again. Yes we will see where all the lies will get them, that bite in the ass more than likely

  9. An excellent pick to highlight. But in a way even more worrisome was the material at the front end, which showed this Administration has no understanding of the role of the civil service in our democracy.

  10. Roy Griffin

    I believe Matthews is a covert Trumpite on his own account. Or perhaps more accurately, a careerist who always checks the wind to see where the power is blowing…HIs rapid fire delivery is designed to give the impression of being hard-nosed confrontational journalism but in fact allows him to glide past important substance as it suits his agenda…

  11. 45 loves defectives. Obviously, there is something seriously wrong with this woman. She is not the only one. If a knowing madman surrounds himself with defectives, he doesn’t appear so dangerously defective himself.

  12. “And, make note that the GOP Congress just repealed an Obama regulation requiring background checks before gun purchases.”

    Sorry, but that’s fake news combined with an alternative fact. Trump is bad enough that one doesn’t need lies.

    Rest assured that all dealer sales still require a background check just like before. What congress did was remove the requirement that the social security administration forward to the NICS database the names of beneficiaries who, because of a mental disability, are not deemed competent to manage their own affairs, which would presumably make them prohibited persons if they tried to purchase a firearm. Note that some advocates for the disabled have criticized that policy of Obama’s.

    No doubt if Trump had instituted such a rule instead of Obama, and it had nothing to do with scary-bad guns, we’d be reading hysterical denunciations of “Neo-fascist Trump administration strips rights from the disabled just like the NAZIs!!”

    Let’s all take a deep breath and not get ahead of the facts here.

  13. There WAS a massacre not long ago in Bowling Green, when a sinkhole inside the Corvette museum swallowed six or eight gorgeous sports cars. Tragic.

  14. By magisterial decree, when necessary all future Trump administration decisions and decrees will be based on alternative facts.

  15. We have been down this path before. The corporately owned media do not and will not call out the lies and misrepresentations about Iran.

    We have been down this path before with the corporately owned media being handmaidens for beating the drums of war. And now the New York Times is adding their voice in support of the tRump administration lies about the Saudi ship that was attacked.

  16. We are living in an “alternate” reality, where paid mouthpieces for a well known lying President, makes it up as she goes along, and the rest of the country is not supposed to question it. Think about it, Trump has blatantly lied about thousands of Muslims cheering on 9/11, Obama’s birth certificate, Cruz’s father being involved in the killing of JFK, and that he was going to release his tax returns in December. None of that turned out to be true, so Kellyanne is simply going with Trumps make up BS policies. Matthews should be ashamed of himself.

  17. Chris Matthews loved Ann Coulter too…

    And after actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died, Matthews said: “I didn’t know white people used heroin.”

    Matthews is just one of the many, many TV hosts “playing journalist” that are so ignorant of reality it boggles the mind.

  18. Howard Stern who has known 45 for decades as fellow “pussy grabbers” and woman debaser link to buzzfeed.com said that he believes the presidency will be “detrimental” to the mental health of his old friend Donald Trump — because he just wants to be loved. link to nbcnews.com

    Stern firmly believes that Trump’s whole presidential bid just started as a lark so that he could get more money out of NBC when he renegotiated his contract for the Apprentice television show.

    “I think it started as kind of a cool, fun thing to do to get a couple more bucks out of NBC for the Apprentice. I actually do believe that.”

    “And that’s why Donald is calling for voter fraud investigation. He’s pi–ed he won!” said Stern. “He’s hoping he can find some voter fraud and hand it over to Hillary!”

    The best “fake news” of this weekend, hands-down.

  19. Chris Matthews (Chuck Todd) never met a question that begged to be asked nor a followup that demanded to be made. Useless is the word. All Matthews brings to the table are old anecdotes about Tip O’Neill.

  20. Bowling Green KENTUCKY. Please correct.
    We can’t really laugh at Trump’s fake news/alternative facts when we don’t get the most basic fact correct ourselves, can we?

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