Fragging the Commander in Chief

by Frank Yacenda


If you're old enough to remember the Vietnam War, or if you've done some research on it, you probably know the term "fragging" While the practice predates the Vietnam War, it became an all-too-common practice during that conflict, and the word ‶fragging″ came into the vernacular during the Vietnam War years.

The term comes from the fragmentary grenades that often were used by American soldiers to kill their own platoon and company commanders who were deemed (rightly or wrongly) to be incompetent or abusive, or who ordered their commands (often acting on orders from above) into situations considered especially dangerous. Estimates of successful and attempted fraggings during the war run from 800 to more than 1,000.

If you've been watching or listening to what much of the national media has had to say about Donald Trump during the ongoing coronavirus drama, things amplified by the rank-and-file never-Trumpers in the country and so-called ‶leaders″ of the Democratic Party, you might agree that it is not an exaggeration to call what is going on ‶fragging.″ The President could leave the Rose Garden and walk across the surface of the Potomac River, or declare a cure for cancer, and the media would still pillory him. And it's not just the President who is being hit by the virtual fragmentary grenades being hurled (and who, to his credit, has generally shrugged them off), but the general U.S. populace and, of graver concern, our very democracy.

At the more mundane level, as a former journalist I am embarrassed by the moronic nature of some of the questions members of the media ask at the daily White House coronavirus news conferences. Many of these alleged reporters are simply uninformed and unprepared, while others are clearly out to pose ‶got'cha″ questions that neither illuminate nor add to public knowledge. These questions clearly are part of a larger campaign to discredit the President who, again to his credit, is quick to bat them back and call out their not-so-hidden agenda.

No accident

With the 2020 elections approaching, this campaign is no accident. It's the last-ditch attempt by the Democratic Party and its supporters in the anti-Trump media (which, in all fairness, is most of the media) to block the reelection of Donald Trump. To them, this is less a health crisis then a political opportunity, as dodgy as it might be. In the aftermath of one failed attempt after another at undoing the results of the 2016 election, this is their last shot.

As I've recounted on this blog, they watched their Russia hoax and the Mueller investigation, the Ukraine non-event, and their crown jewel, the impeachment fiasco, blow up in their faces. Along the way there were the Kavanagh confirmation and border stonewalling sideshows. The closest they've come to stymieing the President's program, if not actually unseating him, was tipping the House of Representatives blue in 2018. But without gaining the Senate, it wasn't enough for them to accomplish their goals, which was to unseat a duly elected President – just one they didn't like.

Now picture their dilemma. Faced with the unnerving prospect of nominating a Socialist as their party's candidate to stand off against Trump – architect of the best economy in anyone's memory – in November, the party nomenclature huddled, called in every chit in sight and some that hadn't yet materialized, threatened, cajoled, and bought off every other candidate in the race, threw their compliant media machinery into high gear, and voila!, engineered the primary victories of the only logical choice they had left: A doddering soon-to-be-78-year-old (17 days after election day, to be precise) former vice president who thinks kids still listen to record players and who has a hard time remembering what state he's in or what day of the week it is. Or, for that matter, even what office he's running for.

Jill Biden jumps to defend husband Joe Biden from animal rights activist at Biden campaign rally in Los Angeles, March 3


In pushing Joe Biden to the forefront of the race, the party poobahs were counting on the power of reminiscence for a guy who, despite his paucity of any real accomplishments and being tinged with corruption throughout his career, was enough of a milquetoast that he could provide contrast with the brash Trump. What they probably weren't counting on was how quickly Biden's mental acuity was fading and how the man was virtually evaporating right before our eyes. Or that their chosen
pro woman″ candidate would be accused of rape.

Meanwhile, as the coronavirus drama accelerated, putting Trump front and center before the nation on a daily basis, Biden has retreated to his basement in Wilmington, issuing intermittent, sputtering, semi-coherent blasts, generating doubts (including by this writer) that he will make it to the convention, much less the election.

Even the usual useful idiots in the media have shown, through their facial expressions, their doubts about Biden as he babbles his way through on-air interviews. Don't believe me. Listen yourself to the clip on that page. Be sure not to miss the part that begins at minute 1:00. It's hard to decide whether it's more amusing or frightening. If nothing else, it might make you feel sorry for this guy and question why his handlers are pushing him (often under the protective shield of his wife, Jill Biden) to make these appearances. Listening to these rambles, can you picture him leading a Scout outing, much less a national response to the coronavirus? The phrase that comes to my mind is, "We're all g

Setting the record straight and even experienced first hand, the hatred being stoked by the cold-blooded propagation of deliberate misinformation bodes frighteningly ill for the country. It is this hatred and its long-term implications, more than any virus, that poses the biggest threat we're facing.

It would be an impossible task to address every lie and every distortion put out daily by the media, but let's look at just some of the biggies.

Myth: Trump didn't listen to his medical advisers early on which allowed the virus to spread.

Truth: Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has led the country's medical response to every viral epidemic since the early 1980s, said on multiple occasions in January and February that no one needed to be concerned about this virus. On at least two occasions, on Jan. 21 and Jan. 26, he told media interviewers that the risk to the U.S. was low.

On Jan. 21 Fauci told Newsmax interviewer Greg Kelly, ‶"Obviously, you need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But, this not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about." Then on Jan. 26 he told radio show host John Catsimatidis, "It's a very, very low risk to the United States,″ adding, "It isn't something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China].″

 Further, CDC Director Robert Redfield has said he agreed with Fauci's statements at the time.

Fauci continued to make similar statements all the way until late February, including saying on Feb. 29 that Americans didn't have to make any lifestyle changes due to the virus. Meanwhile, Trump announced the travel ban from China on Jan. 31 and it went into effect on Feb. 2, credited with avoiding many cases and attendant deaths being brought into the country from China. The kudos the media gave him for that? They called the travel ban "racist″ and "xenophobic.″ and Biden, without specifically referring to the travel ban, also called the President "xenophobic.″ On March 11 Trump announced a ban on travel from Europe, and on March 20 the EU, Canada, and other countries finally got around to announcing their own travel bans. By then Italy and Spain were on countrywide lockdowns as deaths already were piling up in those countries.

Myth: Trump was in denial about the danger the virus posed.

Truth: On Feb. 24, Nancy Pelosi, one of the President's biggest critics, was urging people to attend Chinese New Year festivities in San Francisco's China Town. "It's exciting to be here, especially at this time to be able to be unified with our community," Pelosi gushed at the time. "We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people 'Come to Chinatown. Here we are, careful, safe, and come join us.'" On the other coast, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, another Trump critic, and New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot were urging city residents to go about their normal lives. Now who, exactly, was more in denial?

Myth: Trump has gutted the CDC and NIH and eliminated the pandemic task force that was attached to the National Security Council.

Truth: There is so much to be said about all his and the truth is so convoluted I'm not even going to try to detail it, except to say that funding for both CDC and NIH actually increased in recent years, mostly because Congress increased their funding against Administration requests to cut unnecessary positions. There has been no gutting. Read the details here.

Myth: Trump has muzzled Fauci and the other medical people on the coronavirus task force.

Truth: You'd have to be totally gullible and listening only to the media distortions rather than watching the actual daily White House news conferences (which the major networks and some cable networks have stopped carrying, either in full or in part) to believe this one. As in any major crisis-control environment, there is an attempt to coordinate public statements, which is just good management, but Fauci has made it clear that he has never been muzzled. In response to New York Times claims that he had been, Fauci responded,
"I've never been muzzled and I've been doing this since Reagan.

"That was a real misrepresentation of what happened."

Myth: The Democrats in Congress want to help working people and small business and it's the Republicans who don't care about them.

Nancy "Let Them Eat Ice Cream" Pelosi fat and happy while America suffers. What passes for "leadership" in today's Democratic Party.


Truth: With Democrats claiming, under media cover, that it was Republican desire to turn the multi-trillion dollar stimulus package into a corporate slush fund, the main reason why Congress couldn't quickly agree to get aid to millions of laid off American workers and closing small businesses was very different. It was because House Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy "Let Them Eat Ice Cream″ Pelosi drew up a competing 1,119-page bill stuffed with a Democrat wish-list that had nothing to do with the coronavirus or assistance to people, businesses, or hospitals. On the list were provisions to mandate "diversity″ on the boards of companies receiving stumulus funds, same-day voter registration and early voting requirements, collective bargaining for federal employees, carbon-offset requirements for airlines receiving assistance, a bail out of the U.S. Postal Service, paying off student debt, resurrecting the Obamaphone program and, of course, funding for the Kennedy Center in Washington. As House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (the same Jim Clyburn who was single-handedly responsible for putting Joe Biden back on the political map) put it in a conference call with his Dem colleagues, "This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision." Never mind that people across the country were unable to pay their rent or feed their families. This was politics at its abysmal worse (which is really saying something).

Now that the funds earmarked for small business have already been depleted, Pelosi is again holed up in her San Francisco mansion gloating about her chocolates and $13 a pint ice cream stashed in her $24,000 refrigerator, holding up adding more funds to the program while Americans suffer through the biggest financial crisis to strike the country in 90 years. If there was ever more proof of her true priorities, this is it.

The misinformation spills over to hatred
Have no doubt: This campaign of misinformation by the media and the Dems is spilling over to generate further division and outright hatred among what is already a polarized country. You don't have to look far to see it. To illustrate this consequence, intended or not, here is a random sampling of just a few of the hateful postings I've seen online in the past few days (never mind the factual lapses, these quotes weren't selected for their credibility):

"Trump is a mass murderer, period, and any person even considering voting for him should lose their voting rights forever.″

  "Trump’s response to the pandemic has been an unmitigated disaster, his press briefings are all about him telling lies about how great he is. His approval ratings have dropped. He will only help states get vital supplies if they suck up to him, while they compete against each other for protective clothing, ventilators, etc. He knew from the 20th of January about the risks, yet he did nothing until near the end of March in terms of social distancing. Even his own party wish he would STFU.″‶The only political turds in this country are WR0NGIST G0P/C0NS. And only WR0NGIST G0P/C0N turds refuse to see it. You know almost nothing about politics, bro.″‶the choice is between evil and the Devil Incarnate. the choice is between a lousy crook who has NO vision whatsoever and a racist criminal who is set on destroying our entire way of government, our entire way of economy and our entire planetary environment. I will vote for Biden because not voting or voting for a 3rd party candidate is to give a vote to the Rump in the White House…″

Nice stuff, huh?

Finally, on a personal note, I myself, your not-so-humble correspondent, have been the target of some of this hate in the past two weeks, in what might be the unlikeliest (but isn’t) of places. We have this neighborhood online thing, part of the nationwide NextDoor network, ostensibly to promote neighborliness among, well, neighbors. Along with the usual lost-dog postings and pictures of Bambi in peoples’ yards, some in the neighborhood have had the temerity to post things about the coronavirus, understandingly being a subject for conversation, and within a short time the Trump haters have jumped on and do their best to take over the threads and shut down everyone else. Not to exclusively defend the other side, since both sides put up their fair share of misinformation, but in a couple of cases, when I couldn’t stand the verbal fisticuffs any more, I’ve posted something intended to stop the politicization of what should, I think, be considered a national crisis and suggesting that people consider pulling together instead of apartSome positive comments were posted in response to my postings, and then the anti-Trump haters jumped back on to spew their venom. They just can’t let anyone who disagrees with them or even has another view of things have the last word. In one case the whole thread shortly thereafter disappeared. But in another case one of my efforts was rewarded by having my post, intended to be conciliatory, deleted and my account disabled. Questioning NextDoor why this occurred garnered the fairly predictable blather about ‶neighborliness,″ blah, blah, blah (and, while it wasn’t applicable to my posting, there was boilerplate blather about not referring to the virus as a "Chinese virus″ even though we all know where it originated).While I was being lectured about ‶neighborliness,″ what about its lack in those who got me blocked? I have little doubt but that the haters are probably still there. I haven’t bothered to go back even though my NextDoor-imposed exile has lapsed. I lived perfectly well before discovering NextDoor and I imagine I can live perfectly well without it going forward. And I don’t need more hatred and venom in my life.I can survive without NextDoor, but can the country and our democracy survive this continual wave of hatred and misinformation? That remains to be seen.

Photo credits: Featured image: Peter Linford/Pixabay, used with permission; Jill defends Joe, Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images, used under Fair Use; Nancy tells the people to eat ice cream, CBS, used under Fair Use



by Frank Yacenda    for GCN