Monday, July 23, 2018


Charlie Savage of The New York Times seems baffled by the outcome of the FISA document release:
When President Trump declassified a memo by House Republicans in February that portrayed the surveillance of a former campaign adviser as scandalous, his motivation was clear: to give congressional allies and conservative commentators another avenue to paint the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election interference as tainted from the start.

But this past weekend, Mr. Trump’s unprecedented decision, which he made over the objections of law enforcement and intelligence officials, had a consequence that revealed his gambit’s shaky foundation. The government released the court documents in which the F.B.I. made its case for conducting the surveillance — records that plainly demonstrated that key elements of Republicans’ claims about the bureau’s actions were misleading or false.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump nevertheless sought to declare victory. In a series of early-morning tweets, he claimed without evidence that the newly disclosed files “confirm with little doubt that the Department of ‘Justice’ and FBI misled the courts” to win approval to start wiretapping the former adviser, Carter Page, shortly after he had left the campaign amid criticism of his ties to Russia.
To Savage, what happened is obvious: We learned over the weekend that assertions made by Trump and his backers the Carter Page FISA application were incontrovertibly wrong -- and yet the president is claiming vindication. Why is he doing that? Doesn't he know that the evidence contradicts him?

Trump and his backers know that their target audience won't read the hundreds of pages' worth of material that was released. It's easy to control public opinion under those circumstances. But surely that's the only reason the Trumpers think they can get away with contradicting plain facts -- right?

But on the right, it's easy to get away with distorting facts that are in plain sight, even if getting to the truth doesn't involve hours of dull reading. Here's an example:

Jim Hoft's Gateway Pundit has a story right now about an incident that took place outside a campaign rally for Elizabeth Warren's Senate campaign. While Warren supporters waited to get into the rally, an opponent of hers, Trumpist independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai, denounced the crowd through a bullhorn. After he'd repeatedly called them racists (Ayyadurai was born in India), a man emerged from the crowd and challenged Ayyadurai. Finally, he reached out an open palm and shoved the bullhorn into Ayyadurai's face.

Not a nice thing to do, and the man was taken into custody for it. But the headline of the Gateway Pundit post reads as follows:
Unhinged Elizabeth Warren Supporter Tackled, Arrested After Punching Her Opponent Dr. Shiva in Face (VIDEO)
The story repeatedly says it was a punch -- and includes video from the candidate's Twitter feed (the candidate also says it was a punch):
The liberal Warren supporter couldn’t control himself after Dr. Shiva was accusing the liberals of being the true racists and ended up punching the Dr. in the face.

The violent liberal was promptly tackled by a Shiva supporter then arrested by police.

Dr. Shiva said of the incident, “I will take a punch in the face ANY DAY for America & Free Speech.”

VIDEO of liberal getting tackled and arrested after punching Dr. Shiva: (language warning)

Watch the clip. It's not a punch. There's no closed fist. And yet GP readers and Ayyadurai fans now think Ayyadurai was punched.

That's how easy it is to tell conservatives that what they want to believe is the truth.

I've written about Ayyadurai and his troll candidacy before. He's a piece of work: He sues people who question his claim that he invented email (his most recent suit was tossed by a judge last year). He's running as a "real Indian" against (in his words) the "#FakeIndian."

If you watch a longer version of the clip above, it's clear that he's essentially a comments-section troll running for office in real life. There's no pretense of high-mindedness. He just chants "racist" repeatedly at the crowd, then, after the shove, chants "Lock him up" and "Wake the fuck up."

And even though it's highly unlikely that his injuries were significant, he's milking the incident for sympathy.

Fortunately, he's polling in the single digits. But he's what conservatism is now.

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