Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Trump/Pence: Merchant Of Fear

Here we go again. NPR reports

President Trump, in another broadside against the news media, on Monday accused "the dishonest press" of failing to report terrorist attacks.

Speaking to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command, Trump cited a series of recent attacks and then added, "It's gotten to a point where it's not even reported, and in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn't even want to report it."

Trump told the troops that the media "have their reasons, and you understand that."

The White House later released a list of 78 attacks, including those in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Istanbul, San Bernardino, and 73 others, all of which it claimed were largely ignored. Politico reports

Others don't meet customary definitions of terrorism. An instance in Algeria in September 2014 would seem to refer to the beheading of a French tourist, Herve Gourdel, who had been held hostage — a gruesome murder but not something that would traditionally fit the definition of terrorism.

Oddly, the list includes no attacks in Israel, despite a spate of knife attacks in 2015-16 that were meant to terrorize the population. It also doesn’t include the mass shooting of African American churchgoers by Dylann Roof, an avowed white supremacist, at a Charleston church in June 2015, or a mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in November 2015.

At the time of the latter crime, The New York Times reported

A number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent. Ms. Micheau, 60, said in a brief interview Tuesday that late in her marriage to Mr. Dear, he told her that he had put glue in the locks of a Planned Parenthood location in Charleston.

“He was very proud of himself that he’d gone over and jammed up their locks with glue so that they couldn’t get in,” she said.

But another ex-wife, Pamela Ross, said that he did not obsess on the subject of abortion. After his arrest, Mr. Dear said “no more baby parts” to investigators, a law enforcement official said.

The White House saw fit also to ignore the gunning down of six men on January 29 at a Quebec City mosque by an admirer of Donald Trump in what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau termed "a terrorist attack on Muslims."

That might have been excluded because of a December, 2016 cut-off date- or perhaps there was a 12/16 cut-off date because of this incident.

Or maybe the primary motivation is neither right-wing nor religious bias, but something even worse. The Washington Post's Morning Mix reveals 

What the data show, according to the Global Terrorism Database reported by Voice of America, is that a vast majority of terrorist attacks — about 98 percent between 2001 and 2015 — occurred outside the U.S. and Western Europe, even if the White House’s list and rhetoric may suggest otherwise.

A Washington Post analysis of all terrorist attacks from the beginning of 2015 through the summer of 2016 found that the Middle East, Africa and Asia have seen “nearly 50 times more deaths from terrorism than Europe and the Americas.”

But emphasizing attacks in the Third World wouldn't scare people.  As the USA came out of the Great Recession, private sector employment and even manufacturing employment increased, and crime has declined dramatically in the last two decades. Still, when he delivered his inaugural address, the President spoke of "rusted out factories," tombstones, "and the crime and the gangs and the drugs," concluding "the American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

William Saletan found that Vice President Pence, defending the President's refugee order, used the phrase "safety and security"

10 times to defend the ban, ignoring reminders that none of the terrorists who struck America on or after 9/11 came from the banned countries. The point of repeating the mantra, rather than addressing such facts, is to elevate fear and bury other considerations.

The dominant aim of this Administration is to instill fear, whether in ethnic minorities, the courts, the press, leftist advocates, whomever or whatever serves the purpose of the strongman. This comes not from principled commitment or whim, and what results a few years down the road should come as a shock, but not as a surprise.

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