Thursday Reads: The Trump Psychosis

Good Morning!!

Yesterday the news broke that Tom Seaver had died, but for some reason the cause of his death wasn’t immediately emphasized. He died because he had Covid-19. He also had dementia, but the coronavirus is what killed him. Today that fact is appearing in headlines.

NBC News: Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver dies of COVID-19, dementia at 75.

Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver has died of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19, the National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement Wednesday. He was 75.

He died peacefully in his sleep Monday, the organization said.

“We are heartbroken to share that our beloved husband and father has passed away,” said a family statement from Seaver’s wife, Nancy, and daughters, Sarah and Anne. “We send our love out to his fans, as we mourn his loss with you.”

Seaver played 12 seasons with the Mets, winning the National League Cy Young Award, honoring the league’s best pitcher, three times.

Why am I calling attention to this? Because the latest conspiracy that Trump has begun pushing is that somehow people who died of Covid-19 who also had other medical conditions shouldn’t be counted in the coronvirus death totals.

The Daily Beast: CDC Deluged With ‘Insane’ Number of Calls About Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been deluged with a flood of media requests about a conspiracy theory promulgated by QAnon—an increasingly violent far-right group praised by President Donald Trump that is widely known for spreading disinformation.

As the agency attempted to manage the fallout of a controversial Health and Human Services announcement that it had revised testing guidelines to exclude individuals who do not exhibit symptoms, officials were sidetracked by a barrage of inquiries about whether the CDC had lied about the number of Americans who died as a result of the coronavirus. Over the weekend QAnon, a movement whose believers often push out falsities on a myriad of subjects, promoted a bogus theory that only 6 percent of people listed as having died from the coronavirus had “actually died” from COVID-19.

Officials at the CDC said they spent the last several days fielding questions or requests for comment from dozens of local and national outlets asking to clarify whether the agency had falsified its data. The wave of emails and calls about the conspiracy theory caught officials off-guard….

The CDC effort to combat accusations from QAnon, a relatively new, increasingly unhinged movement that’s making inroads into online health communities, shows the power that conspiracy theorists can have during the pandemic—especially when boosted by the president. It also shows just how permeable the barrier between conspiracy cranks and established media outlets can be.

“In all my time working in the government I’ve never had to deal with something this crazy. The level of disinformation spread by this group has grown in recent months and now we’re having to actively debunk it through the press.”

The “six percent” claim was embraced by conservatives, who have been eager for ways to downplay the virus’ American death toll and have claimed for months that the CDC and hospitals were overcounting COVID-19 deaths. To QAnon supporters, the claim purports to show that COVID-19 has killed only 9,000 people, with the vast majority of the roughly 183,000 COVID-19 casualties actually killed by another ailment.

The simple truth is that Tom Seaver wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t contracted the virus and neither would thousands of other Americans who also may have had high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, or some other secondary condition.

Another crazy conspiracy that Trump has been pushing for a long time is the notion that mail-in ballots cannot be trusted. Yesterday, Trump actually recommended that voters in North Carolina should try to vote twice. NBC News: Trump encourages North Carolina residents to vote twice to test mail-in system.

President Donald Trump suggested that people in North Carolina should vote twice in the November election, once by mail and once in person, escalating his attempts to cast confusion and doubt on the validity of the results.

“So let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said when asked whether he has confidence in the mail-in system in North Carolina, a battleground state.

“If it’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote. So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do,” he said.

It is illegal to vote more than once in an election.

But Bill Barr, who is supposedly the Attorney General of the United States isn’t sure that voting twice is illegal. Newsweek: Bill Barr Mocked After ‘Playing Dumb’ Over Legality of Voting Twice.

Appearing on CNN on Wednesday, Barr said the president was trying to make the point that election monitoring was not good enough to prevent people from voting at polling stations if they already cast their ballots by mail.

But when he was pressed on the fact that such an action would be illegal, he said he was unaware of what state laws said about the legality of voting twice.

“I don’t know what the law in the particular state says, and when that vote becomes final,” Barr told CNN.

The network host Wolf Blitzer then asked: “Is there any state in which you can vote twice?”

“Maybe you can change your vote up to a particular time, I don’t know what the law is,” the attorney general replied.

Barr might as well come out and say that he’s the chairman of Trump’s reelection campaign. In the CNN interview, he also claimed that “voting by mail is ‘playing with fire'”

“This is playing with fire. We’re a very closely divided country here,” Barr said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” of changes this year where states are allowing more voting by mail because of the pandemic.

“People trying to change the rules to this, to this methodology — which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion — is reckless and dangerous and people are playing with fire,” Barr added.

Barr provided no evidence for his claims.

These comments contradict the views of bipartisan election officials and a wide array of voting experts who say voting-by-mail is a safe option with protections in place to prevent systematic fraud. There is no widespread fraud in US elections, even in states with a history of heavy mail-in voting, running directly counter to Barr’s assertions.

Barr’s comments seem to play into Trump’s attempts to stoke fear and add chaos to the coming election. Several states have expanded their mail-in voting options this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Trump campaign and Republican Party are fighting more widespread options for voters.

And then there’s Trump bizarre story about thugs, looters, and anarchists on planes flying around to cause “big trouble.” Salon: Thugs on a plane? Trump’s bizarre yarn echoes viral Facebook rumor — and Rudy Giuliani’s rants.

President Trump pushed a baseless and bizarre conspiracy theory on Monday that a plane “almost completely loaded with thugs” was sent to disrupt the Republican National Convention, a claim that appears almost identical to a rumor that traveled across Facebook three months ago.

Trump made the claim in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, alleging without evidence that “we had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.”

While the president would not divulge more details, he assured Ingraham that the incident is “under investigation right now.”

There is no evidence of such a flight. When Ingraham asked Trump to say more, the president replied, “I’ll tell you sometime.” The unidentified black-clad “thugs,” the president said, were headed to Washington D.C., to disrupt the RNC….

NBC News’ Ben Collins later reported that the rumor lines up with a viral Facebook post from June 1, which falsely claimed to have observed a similar sinister contingent on board a flight from Seattle to Boise, Idaho: “At least a dozen males got off the plane in Boise from Seattle, dressed head to toe in black.”

Seriously, Trump is beginning to sound truly delusional. I’m not sure he’s in touch with reality much of the time. The White House doctor might need to prescribe and antipsychotic drug.

From Justin Baragona at The Daily Beast: Devin Nunes May Be Trump’s ‘Person’ Who Witnessed the Antifa Plane ‘Firsthand.’

President Donald Trump’s latest outlandish conspiracy about a “person” he refuses to name having “firsthand” witnessed a commercial flight full of “thugs” and “looters” clad in “black uniforms with gear” may seem ripped directly from an unhinged relative’s Facebook page. But before this bizarre theory was being pushed by the president, another GOP lawmaker was spouting a nearly identical story….

“So, these people that descended on Washington, D.C., most of them were not local,” Nunes declared. “In fact, I flew in with a bunch of them where I got on a plane in Salt Lake City where I had to commute through and I saw maybe two dozen BLM people.”

Nunes continued: “The irony is they were all white people, they weren’t even Black, but somebody was paying for those people to go there—they were coordinated, paying for that, and then what they did was they were not protesting. This is not protesting when you block the exits of the White House.”

Neither Nunes’ office nor the White House returned a request for comment. But the congressman’s interview with Breitbart represents a type of missing puzzle piece to the mystery of just where Trump got the idea of an antifa plane packed with geared-up looters.

Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke hilariously satirizes the “thugs on a plane” narrative: Column: Trump’s ‘Air Antifa’ plane story is true (maybe). I know because I was there (maybe). A brief excerpt:

Which plane traveling to Washington, D.C., was this, and who were these black-clad thugs and who relayed this information?

Trump wouldn’t say. But I will: It was me. I was on that black-clad thug plane. I am President Trump’s source for this harrowing tale of rioters flying commercial….

I’ll explain the whole thing. And like the president, I’ll do it in a way that lacks specific details, sounds wildly unhinged and makes you wonder if you should start slowly walking away, careful not to make any sudden movements.

It was August-whatever, and I was catching the Air Leftist “looters & anarchists” flight out of O’Hare at a time I will not reveal. I try to avoid that airline — they try to turn you socialist by evenly redistributing peanuts among the passengers — but it was the cheapest fare I could find.

Just before I got on board, someone in a dark shadow of the terminal started talking to me about the coronavirus and how Trump had mishandled the pandemic and made America a global laughingstock. I shouted, “LAW AND ORDER!” at the guy, and that made him go away.

Next we boarded the plane in order from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

I sat down and took out some meat I had killed with my gun earlier in the day, and that’s when I noticed it: black-clad thugs, everywhere. I felt very uncomfortable, particularly when two of them sat down in my row.

I asked the first one what he does, and he said: “I’m a looter. I just bought this $300 plane ticket so I could travel to wherever and steal $100 worth of clothes, which is something that definitely happens because it makes sense.”

The other guy nodded and said, “I’m an anarchist. And I’m hoping to destroy America while also collecting valuable mileage points for future travel.”

I kept silent for a moment, afraid they would beat me up or destroy my suburb. Then I asked: “So what are you all looking for?”

They both said: “Trouble.”

Read the whole thing at the link.

I also recommend reading two general articles on Trumpist conspiracy theories:

Daniel Dale at CNN: Fact check: A guide to 9 conspiracy theories Trump is currently pushing.

BBC News: How Covid-19 myths are merging with the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Just two more months until the election. I only hope we can rid ourselves of the lunatic in the White House, but will sanity be restored to the country as a whole if he loses? We can only hope.

Take care Sky Dancers! Stay safe and sane and check in if you can.


25 Comments on “Thursday Reads: The Trump Psychosis”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. quixote says:

    Christ. Not that “other causes of death” BS again. That was circulating a while ago too. They’re going to have to revise death stats from top to bottom: Got hit by a truck? While you had a headache? Obviously! Killed by the headache! It was probably a brain tumor!

    Reminds me of when NASA actually had to take real time out of its real day to say that, no, contra Breitbart, there were no pedophile slave factories on Mars.

    And as for the Droogs in Drab, the Dump doesn’t need a source for any of this stuff, does he? He strikes me as quite capable of inventing paranoid fantasies all by himself. Just about the only thing he can do all by himself.

    Interesting, though, that Nunes had a slightly more adult version. I wonder if there’s any chance he’ll get voted out in his loony district in California?

    • lililam says:

      It is very unlikely- he is leading by a large margin in a very republican district. I am hoping that the large Hispanic voter contingent in the district will make a good showing, though. Unfortunately, many of them have been affected by Covid. It is hitting agricultural workers heavily.

      • Beata says:

        I am quite concerned about Latinx turnout across the country come November. Covid, various forms of voter suppression, and what I see as a lack of outreach by the the Democratic party establishment all seem to work against guaranteeing a significant Latinx vote in the general election. The Democratic convention largely ignored Latinx voters and I’m not sure the Biden/Harris ticket does much to energize them. Perhaps the Democratic strategy is to focus on getting out the Black vote and the White suburban vote in key Midwestern states while hoping Latinx voters will just fall in line because of fear of another Trump term. I think that is a mistake and a major missed opportunity, particularly in states like Florida and Texas which could be in play for Democrats. I hope I am wrong about this and that the DNC is concentrating on Latinx turnout in ways that I am not seeing.

  4. quixote says:

    The thing about voting twice, I just laughed out loud in an empty room. Then I remembered that there are people out there drinking bleach on this orange gumball’s say-so. So this is going to cause (another) major stuff-up.

    • palhart says:

      Karen Brinson Bell, the North Carolina executive director of the State Board of Elections, put out a press release today about state law making it a Class I felony for anyone voting twice in an election and anyone soliciting someone to do so is a violation of state law as well. North Carolina has dedicated investigators to check on allegations of double voting.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Hoax! Hoax! It only gets old sick people!

      SMH.

    • quixote says:

      There have been indications for a while now that this thing is a cardiovascular / neurological virus and in which organ system it manifests depends partly on which had the earliest and heaviest viral load (eg lungs) or the weakest link in a particular patient (eg reports of sudden onset Type 1 diabetes).

      Particularly striking to see heart involvement in athletes with very healthy hearts!

  6. Beata says:

    I wonder if the unidentified black-clad men on the plane included Johnny Cash and Barnabas Collins, both of whom are dead ( or undead in the case of Collins ). The mind boggles.

  7. “NBC News’ Ben Collins later reported that the rumor lines up with a viral Facebook post from June 1, which falsely claimed to have observed a similar sinister contingent on board a flight from Seattle to Boise, Idaho: “At least a dozen males got off the plane in Boise from Seattle, dressed head to toe in black.”

    Priests, maybe?

    • Beata says:

      I once took a long trip on a Greyhound bus whose passengers included 3 nuns ( in black ), 2 Tibetan monks ( in dark red ), and a large group of Amish ( in mostly black ). True story. That’s the Midwest for you.

    • quixote says:

      Y’know… Steve Jobs used to dress all in black…. And he was thought to be ahead of his time…. zomg. Don’t let QAnon get a hold of this. Conspiracy from beyond the grave.

  8. Beata says:

    BB asks if sanity will be restored to the country as a whole if Trump loses? Sadly, I think not. The crazy is out there ( waaaay out there) and not going away soon. Intensive long-term therapy will be required.

  9. Beata says:

    BB, thank you for calling attention to the fact that Tom Seaver died of Covid 19. Yes, he did have another very serious medical condition ( Lewy body is a particularly horrific form of dementia ) but the real cause of death was Covid. That must be recognized. I am at high risk of dying if I get Covid because of my medical condition but if I do get Covid, it will be Covid that kills me, not my existing brain tumor.

  10. NW Luna says:

    • quixote says:

      /*gobsmacked*/

      I’m the one who’s always lecturing people to stop boggling that he’s a monster. He just is. Act on that basis and stop boggling.

      And here I am. Boggling.

      Boggle.

      • Enheduanna says:

        My father’s only sibling and brother died on D-Day in France and is buried in Metz, France. He was very young. I never met him.

        One of my mother’s brothers survived Iwo Jima only to die with his wife years later falling asleep smoking cigarettes. He battled alcohol most likely as a result of undiagnosed PTSD.

        I can’t even get through reading this article. I didn’t know contempt could be so profound. I hate him for making me feel this way,

        • Beata says:

          Don’t read the article. It will just cause you more pain. Trump would like that. He enjoys inflicting pain on others. The man is pure evil, a real sadist.

          Your family members were true heroes. Always remember that.

          Trump’s legacy? Worst president in US history, and if there is any justice, a convicted criminal.

  11. NW Luna says:

  12. Beata says:

    I am thinking this morning of what Jewish philosopher and Holocaust survivor Emil Fackenheim called the 614th commandment. He said Hitler must not be given any posthumous victories. In essence, then, we must continually fight against evil and embrace justice.

    The 615th commandment should be to vote Trump out of office.

    • quixote says:

      The effective punishment for committing evil seems to be damning the criminal to oblivion. Put them in prison, of course, but also wipe their name and legacy and everything about them from ever being mentioned. Distribute any wealth they have to other people. (Yes, that affects their families, but I’m assuming an ideal world and a social system that doesn’t let them starve.)

      But on the other hand, it’s essential to remember how the awfulness happened to stop it ever growing big enough to be that bad again.

      Somehow, we have to do both. (Right now, we pretty much do the opposite of each one!)

      615th: definitely!