TRUMPLAND #1: Of factoids and factets
Last week Trump pumped up his meme that Islamic terrorists are destroying Western civilization by citing carnage in Sweden. “Who would believe it?” he asked, and the answer is, dopes like him, because he’d swallowed the line of a TV documentary that blamed immigrants for a rise in rape cases mostly caused by Sweden’s recent expansion of the legal definition of rape.
A few days prior to that, the Dingbat-in-chief’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway cited the “Bowling Green massacre” to justify banning Muslim immigrants. (Bowling Green’s a town in Kentucky.) Like Trump, Conway got this fantasy from watching Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News: in the real world, no massacres in Sweden or Bowling Green.
Fox commentators, Trump and his staff, and alt-rightists on breitbart.com and its ilk emit a stream of these factoids, and then rail against the media for lying, and call them America’s public enemy number one.
“Factoid” was a useful word coined by Norman Mailer in his book on Marilyn Munroe in 1973. He meant it to describe nonsense or lies spread to mislead us, but the word has been neutered to mean a small fact, which could better be called “factets” (like owlet, islet etc).
Here are some true factets Trump and Co. might consider:
* In 2015, American toddlers shot and killed 21 Americans, while Islamic terrorist immigrants killed none. Even the right-wing Cato Institute calculated that the annual likelihood that an American will be killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion.
* Trump keeps saying millions of Americans – by his implication, mostly blacks, Latinos, and non-citizens – voted illegally for Democratic candidates last November. The Federal Electoral Commission asked Trump for his evidence but he hasn't submitted any. Meanwhile, investigators continue to amass evidence of large-scale voter de-registration, malfunctioning voting machines, and votes miscounted and lost – mostly by local Republican officials.
* Trump also keeps boasting about how big his mandate is. Actually, only one in four Americans eligible to vote cast a ballot for the guy. Hillary got nearly three million more votes, while half the potential voters were prevented from voting, of chose not to. Of all votes cast across the USA last November -- for President, Congress, and state government -- millions more were for Democrats than for Republicans.
A factet for Australians to consider:
* Malcolm Turnbull was the single largest donor to the Liberal Party’s 2016 election campaign, spending $1.7 million. The American oil moguls David and Charles Koch spent $250 million just to elect Republicans to Congress and state governments. OK, so the US has 13 times as many people, but our super-rich are well behind their brethren across the Pacific in terms of buying power…but they're learning new tricks by the day.
TRUMPLAND will feature periodic short reports on the corporate takeover of American governance. While I'm calling this series Trumpland, I views Trump as a sideshow, distracting us suckers while his henchmen dole out every asset and function of government to themselves and their buddies, for profit.