Monday, October 29, 2018

BTRTN: Cesar Sayoc... "I am Donald Trump and I Approve This Message"

Is Trump responsible for Sayoc? Steve is tired of all the tippy-toeing around this issue. The answer is yes. It says so right on the would-be assassin’s van. 

Only hours after authorities reported that bombs had been targeted at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh was on his radio show hypothesizing that the reason prominent Democrats had been sent bombs that did not go off was because it was all a left wing conspiracy.

The idea, Rush mused, was to make it look like it was the work of a right wing extremist bent of violence, but those crafty lefties intentionally made sure that the bombs could not detonate so that no one was hurt. Rush knew their insidious goal: to sway the mid-terms by making it seem like the Republicans – and Donald Trump specifically – were fomenting violence with their incendiary talk. And those fake bombs were causing havoc... uh, not for those targeted or their families, not for the investigative agencies scrambling to stop the bomber, but for Republicans! Those fake bombs were stealing the headlines away from that deadly caravan of Middle Eastern MS13 rapist gang members that Donald Trump wanted the media to focus on. Lou Dobbs of the Fox Business Network weighed in with all the journalistic integrity you expect from Pravda, tweeting his concurrence with Limbaugh: “Fake news--Fake bombs.” 

On Friday, in those private early morning hours when Trump retreats to his re-tweets, the President himself seemed to have bought into the idea that the bombs were nothing more than a phony gimmick to steal his campaign mojo: “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”

This “bomb” stuff. Air quotes, baby. How faux can you go?

Sorry, Rush, Lou, and Big Orange Stupid. Real bombs, real news. 

No, it was not a massive hoax perpetrated by the left wing.  It was exactly what we would have guessed: an angry, underachieving, over-testosteroned fifty-ish white-man-as-victim in a conversion van plastered with worship for the Maga-nificent Donald. The collage of hate include superimposed gun targets over the images of Hillary Clinton, African-American CNN commentator Van Jones, and filmmaker Michael Moore.  There was a sticker that said “Dishonest Media CNN sucks.”  Of course there were also images of Trump and Pence, with one particularly pathetically photo-shopped image that puts Trump in an heroic military stance astride a tank. Sad!

But of all the images, slogans, and angry rhetoric visible on that truck, the most revealing is a simple line of type at the bottom of the middle window. 

There, you see a sticker that reads “I am Donald Trump and I approve this message.”

You recognize the phrase: it’s the legal copy candidates are required to recite in their political ads. Appearing on the would-be murderer’s window, it seemed intended to strike a tone of legal authority for Sayoc's mobile ad billboard for hate and violence. It was as if Cesar Sayoc wanted to display an official presidential endorsement for his messianic mission to rid the world of the horrible, vile sinners that Trump has fingered as evil. Those rifle targets I have superimposed over Clinton, Jones, and Moore are justified -- Donald Trump approves of my message!

Once it was clear that the bomb spree was not a left wing plot, but the work of precisely the type of mentally suspect right-wing wing-nut who would be easily influenced by a demagogue, the right retreated and recalibrated. We were forced to endure another round of false equivalences from Sarah Sanders and her army of truth-deflectors. We were sanctimoniously lectured about how Congressman Steve Scalise was shot by a deranged leftist, and how Hillary Clinton said that we can be civil “after the election,” as if a call to be every bit as aggressive in political debate as Republicans is somehow to be equated with a dozen pipe bombs in the mail system. 

A quick sidebar to those on the right who appeared confused on this point: we were as outraged and disgusted by the shooting of Scalise as you were. In this column, I am not even bothering to litigate the issue of whether lefties or righties are more inclined to be violent, although their respective positions on the second amendment is a helpful hint. No, I oppose violence as a solution to just about any problem, short of seeing an army of goose-stepping swastikas marching into town. 

But that is not the point

Please push all your pathetic prevarications to the side, Republicans, and have the guts to focus on my one very narrow and very specific question: Is the President of the United States inciting violence against his political opponents, and is he therefore responsible for those pipe bombs?

The answer is right there in plain view on the collage of hate that adorns Sayoc’s van. There, you will find the images of prominent Democrats framed in the bullseye of a rifle target. That was the message that Sayoc was taking from Donald Trump. Literally.

 “I am Donald Trump and I approve this message.”
Think about that.

Cesar Sayoc is nothing more nor less than an empty vessel of intellect who has abdicated his thought processes to Donald Trump, and is therefore merely arms, torso, and legs implementing what he understands to be the wishes of his master. He is taking his orders from Donald Trump. He views his role in life to be the incarnate force of Trump’s wishes, the soldier whose sacred obligation is to take the innuendo, musings, and direct suggestions of his President and turns those exhortations into flesh and blood actions. He becomes one with Donald Trump, and he claims that he is authorized to act at Donald Trump’s behest.

“I am Donald Trump and I approve this message.”

Hey Republicans: don’t patronize us with the elementary school recess logic that sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can never hurt us. In a 21st century twitter fusillade to forty million followers, your man’s angry, deceitful words serve to motivate lonely, alienated crackpots to hurl those sticks, stones, bullets, and bombs. 

Violence is not merely implicit in Donald Trump’s rhetoric. It is an overt instruction, and Sayoc listened closely.

Sayoc heard the list of enemies, and he was able to pick out pretty much the exact fourteen progressives who most anger Donald Trump. He has heard Trump label some as treasonous, say that others belong in jail, and that some are “enemies of the people.” He has said that he would “lock up Hillary Clinton,” and he speculated that she would be dealt with by the “Second Amendment people” (If you have any doubt, here is the exact quote: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know...”). 

He called Barack Obama “the founder of ISIS,” and the “most ignorant president in U.S. history.” Does he overtly encourage violence against his enemies? How is this choice quote from the campaign: "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise." It's just one of a number of instances in which Trump encouraged physical violence against dissidents at his political events.

Who knows how many other conversion vans are parked at a suburban mall, serving as bomb factories for the parishioners in the Maga-Church of our Televangelist-in-Chief?

Cesar Sayoc – and the imitators, wannabees, and lost souls who will follow in his mission – are Donald Trump’s weapons of mass destruction. We would be foolish to assume that the next psychopath receiving his remote programming from this president will be as incompetent as Cesar Sayoc. Next time we can expect blood. We can expect Sarah Huckabee Sanders will disavow responsibility for that, too, and that Rush Limbaugh will find some way to label that, also, as a left wing hoax.

The message that Donald Trump sends is that his political opponents and the media are malevolent forces that seek to destroy Trump and change America into a country that no longer places fifty-ish white males at the top of the food chain. Physical violence against our enemies is justified. Knock the crap out of them. I will pay the legal bills.

And his congregation responds: “I am Donald Trump and I approve this message.”

Cesar Sayoc is just another lost soul searching for the purpose of his sorry life, and he found it as an acolyte in the church of Trump. 

Perhaps one of the other Cesar Sayocs out there is being compelled into action at this very moment, because he knows that one of the investigative agencies that brought Sayoc to justice is the FBI. Yes, the same FBI that Trump has repeatedly condemned as politically biased and as part of the “Deep State” bent on destroying Trump’s presidency. Let’s hope a clerk sorting incoming mail at the FBI does not pay the price for this President’s reckless and irresponsible provocations.

Is Donald Trump responsible for the message that Cesar Sayoc heard and acted on?

Let's ask Cesar. 

Ask him where he got that list of targets.

Ask him who wanted him to send those bombs.

Look at his van. 

You bet that Trump is responsible for these pipe bombs. 

After all, he is Donald Trump, and he is responsible for his message.