Tracking Trump, Week 6: Feb 26-Mar 4 2017

In the old movie Excalibur, King Arthur asks his Round Table, “What is the greatest quality of knighthood?”
Merlin answers. “Truth. When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.”

This week, Donald J. Trump proved he may be President of the United States of America but has a long way to go before he becomes King Arthur’s knight.

Monday, Feb. 27

A round of bomb threats struck Jewish community centers and schools across the country on Monday, the latest in anti-Semitic incidents that battered the country since the election.

News reports so far noted bomb threats in Miami, Florida; Rockville, Maryland; and Fairfax, Virginia. Jewish community centers in Asheville, North Carolina; York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Staten Island and Tarrytown, New York; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Birmingham, Alabama; and Talleyville, Delaware reportedly also received bomb threats. In NYC alone, police documented 68 hate crimes since the year began, more than half of which targeted Jews.

So far, ProPublica has documented more than 100 bomb threats directed towards various Jewish organizations, schools, and community centers in more than 90 different locations since January 1.

According to the Anti Defamation League (ADL), there are far more anti-Semites in the United States than there are Jews in the world and that anti-semitic incidents have tripled under America’s 45th President. Trump on Tuesday (see next day) would imply the Jews toppled their own cemeteries and threatened their own centers and schools.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

During a meeting with state attorneys general on Tuesday, President Trump reportedly suggested the repeated bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools around the country in recent weeks could be false flags.

“He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad,’ and he used the word ‘reverse’ I would say two or three times in his comments,” Shapiro said, according to BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner. “He did say at the top that it was reprehensible.”

Trump’s comments to the attorneys general echoes the false flag conspiracy theory Duke has been pushing on Twitter:

  • “President Trump, do you think it might be the Jews themselves making these calls to get sympathy to push their ethnic agenda?” (21 Feb 2017)
  • “New bomb threats hit at least 10 US Jewish centers today. Why can’t the government trace where these threats are coming from – Tel Aviv?” (27 Feb 2017)
  • “I’ve never been into conspiracy theories – so maybe these recent bomb threats on Jewish centers are just COHENcidences (perfect timing)?” (28 Feb 2017)

Congress calumnies

The President gave an unexpectedly impressive speech.

Top Pinocchios:

1. Foreigners committed the “vast majority” of terrorism-related offenses in the United States since the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

“According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” Trump claimed in his speech. “We have seen the attacks at home – from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.”

Fact check:

(a) In a 2015 New York Times article, University of North Carolina Professor Charles Kurzman and Duke Professor David Schanzer found that Islamic-inspired terror attacks accounted for 50 deaths since 9/11, but that “right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities.”

(b)  A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security indicates Trump is overstating the threat of foreign-born individuals. Just over half of the people convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 are foreign born. The rest were born in the United States, including some of the perpetrators of the attacks Trump cited, such as San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook and the shooter in the Orlando nightclub attack, Omar Mateen, who was born in Queens.

2. Trump falsely attributed American terrorist attacks to countries he wrapped in his Muslim ban. The Boston Marathon brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Alberto Casillas of the San Bernardino shooting was born in Illinois, while his wife was born in Pakistan. And 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt – none of which are Trump’s banned countries.

3. “Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, SoftBank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart, and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” Trump boasted.

The problem is that none of these jobs had anything to do with Trump. All of these plans were in the works long before the President strode the escalator to announce his presidency.

Thursday, March 2

Trump’s game of Russian Roulette spins both ways:

  • He told a Washington press conference, “I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we’ve stayed away”. Meanwhile, the Mirror that traveled to Moscow to investigate discovered that: “Far from “staying away” Trump has formed associations with some of Moscow’s most powerful and influential players, has sold his Miss Universe contest there, has a Hollywood Boulevard-style signed star in a shopping mall and even had plans to build a Trump Tower in the capital.”
  • Trump says he did not know Putin, but the Mirror was told by some of Trump’s highly ranked Russian business associates that he was very close to some of the most powerful men in Russia. (“One of those he met was Herman Gref, the boss of Sberbank Russia’s biggest bank. Mr Gref is very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin”). And in November 2013, Trump told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts: “I do have a relationship [with Putin].”
  • There was “no communication” between Trump’s team and Russia during the campaign – except for communication with Russia by Trump’s future national security adviser, his future attorney general, his son-in-law, and two others.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions “did not have communications with the Russians,” –  except for the two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak he neglected to mention under oath.
  • Reports of the Trump team’s ties to Russia are “fake news,” yet those who leaked the information for those articles need to be found and punished.
  • The incendiary dossier on Trump’s adventures in Russia are “completely unverified” – but FBI were prepared to pay the man who wrote it.

And so on and so forth. Russian Roulette is a game where one spins the cylinder, and then pulls the trigger while pointing the gun at one’s own head. Watch Trump in action…

Friday, March 3

A new Department of Homeland Security report, obtained by the Rachel Maddow Show found that “most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists are likely not radicalized when they come to the U.S., but rather become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years.” The document tracked 88 violent, foreign-born extremists in the United States. More than half of them had been in the U.S. more than 10 years before they were indicted or killed. More so, the report suggested that government activity that might be perceived as Islamophobic actually fuels radicalization in both native-born and foreign-born violent extremists and that providing more support for refugees and asylees will help prevent radicalization.

The White House did not respond.

Confirmation that Islamophobia fuels radicalization:

White House chief strategist in the Trump administration, Steve Bannon, recently appeared on the front page of Al Masra, a newspaper connected to Al Qaeda in the context that Trump’s administration targets Muslim people.

According to Thinkprogress: “Experts say Bannon’s policies actually empower the ISIS message.

Saturday, March 4

In tweets Saturday morning, Trump asserted that President Obama last year personally ordered Trump Tower wiretaps. Citing no source, Trump wrote that he “just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” calling the former President a “bad (or sick) guy.”

Taping calls seems to hold a spot in Mr. Trump’s consciousness. He spent many years taping his own phone calls as a businessman. During the campaign, Mr. Trump’s staff members told reporters they feared that their offices were being bugged.

“You make up something and then you have the press write about it, and then you say, ‘everybody’s writing about this charge,'” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It’s a tool of an authoritarian, to just have you always be talking about what you want to be talking about.”