To defeat bullies, punch them in the nose with facts

With the proliferation of social media, it has never been easier to lie, misinform and disinform. To autocrats like Vladimir Putin, who was trained as a KGB agent on disinformation, it is like shooting fish in a barrel. People might say Putin is not such, as he stands for election, but jailing your opponents and controlling the airwaves, does not lend itself to a fair election. This is disinformation in its own right.

The only way to beat bullies who lie, misinform and disinform, is to not believe them and do our homework. Folks like Trump, Kim, Xi, Cuomo, Morrison, Johnson, Nunes, Gosar, Taylor-Greene, Cawthorn, Gohmert, DeSantis, Abbott, et al, do not want to be questioned on facts. They do not handle it very well.

I have many favorite stories about the last former US president not being aware of details, but when one reporter questioned him after the umpteenth time he had said he passed a bill, she pointed out the bill had been passed in 2014 and he was not president until 2017. He was clueless that he did not sign the bill. It is harder to argue when you just don’t know.

If you read Kim’s bio, he is God-like with super-human powers. Really? I expect people like Xi, Putin, and Kim to control the narrative. That is what they do. The uptick in right wing extremism is correlated to Putin’s hackers and trolls controlling the narrative in other countries. He has succeeded in making the west more unruly, due to his shenanigans. My guess is even Putin is amazed at how easy it has been. Common sense is not all that common, Mark Twain is alleged to have said.

What frustrates me is how gullible Americans, Brits, and Australians have been to elect people who overtly lie and bully people to submission. The fact they do this is not newsworthy. The fact that people elected these folks is. Here in the states, we could very well reelect a person who is trying his best to mask evidence that he betrayed his country on top of trying to “burn it all down” as his niece put it, because his shallow ego cannot take losing.

Johnson, who would daily thank his lucky stars for Trump, as he looked better in comparison to the US president, is ironically Prime Minister during the sluggardly Brexit execution as his selected blindness to facts helped precipitate the leave vote. Of course, seeing Johnson get elected was stunning to me, but pales in comparison that we Americans elected a person who has a measurable track record of being untruthful and cheating people as did Trump.

So, what do we do? Read and watch several credible sources of information. What is credible? First, they are not opinion shows. Second, the decibel level is lower with less screaming and yelling and more civil debate. This is a reason I like NPR as one of my sources – thoughtful people sharing news and their opinions whether you fully agree with them or not. Third, the amount of namecalling and labeling is less. Fourth, they will disclose conflicts of interest and provide errata when they get something wrong.

People used to be upset when they found out they were fooled. Now, when fooled by misinformation, they just go back to the source to confirm the facts are not real. The last former US president will have many legacies which will go down in infamy, but the one which may be the worst legacy is calling criticism “fake news.” This term is now used worldwide.

Here is a person who has lost about 64 out of 65 court cases (I lost count above sixty), saying the election was stolen from him and lost every audit and review of election results, and his fans still believe him. That is an unfathomable track record of losing, yet it is fake news according to the former president. Those followers may want to ask why his attorneys are forking out $175,000 in court costs for frivolous cases in Michigan, announced last week. And, one attorney of his has been suspended in two locations (DC and New York) and another is facing disbarment.

Facts. Details. Questions. An untruthful and bullying person’s worst fears.

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26 thoughts on “To defeat bullies, punch them in the nose with facts

  1. Note to Readers: As an important aside the Republican caucus and overall US House improved its standing with the announced resignation of Rep. Devin Nunes. Sadly, Nunes tends to act in a polarizing manner, which actually rubbed even some Republicans the wrong way. Senator Richard Burr went out of his way as Chair of the Senate Intelligence committee to tell Speaker Paul Ryan his committee disagreed with Nunes’ sub-Republican House Intelligence committee’s findings. This is after Nunes was forced to step down as Chair for leaking to President Trump what they were investigating him for. Nunes is now in a better place for his skills where he need not hide his polarizing bent.

  2. On your ‘Note to Readers’ Keith- do I detect a glimmer of light?
    Regarding this ‘Fake News’ and the response as if it were something just invented. This is as old as Communities arguing over resources and amongst themselves. Amongst the true professionals ‘Propaganda’ used to be the word.
    Even ‘media’ is not new. From the time of printing presses there were ‘pamphlets’ which could be as toxic and baseless as anything you could encounter on the internet. Prior to printing there were ballads bawling out all manner of romanticised tosh or invective.
    Putin had the opportunity and he took it. From the grim suspicion which has been the Russian perspective for many a century he would have been a fool not to have.
    To plagiarise a comment on the battle of Cannae:
    ‘To win a victory like this, you need a trained manipulator like Putin and idiots like Trump and Johnson’
    And of course a whole slew of The Willing with no sense of history.

    • Polly, you sound like you handled a bully in your younger days. One of the things that tickles me about the last former president, he was scared to show up at a GOP debate if Fox’ Meghan Kelly attended as she asked him tough questions (which turned out to be, she asked him questions he had not been fed beforehand by Fox). Keith

  3. I stopped understanding why he is doing this, why he doesn’t understand that he only makes things worse, that he only appears ridiculous and pityful. But an ignorant and narcissistic egomaniac will never act and react rationally and logically. He will always behave in this regard like a small child who has not yet learned that losing can be a part of winning…. and that wanting to win at any cost in the world makes one an eternal loser.

  4. Well said, my friend. Sadly, our education system seems to be failing for people who no longer concern themselves with truth and facts, but prefer to believe what the loudest voices are saying. I like your idea … punch ’em in the nose with facts, though I might well agree with SilverAppleQueen about punching them in the nose with a fist! Yeah, I did my share of fighting in my younger days 😉

  5. Note to Readers II: Former chief of staff Mark Meadows has reneged on a deal to speak with the January 6 commission. This is likely due to the former president saying he will endoese his candidacy for Congress. Meadows has defied a subpoena again with this action. I hope he is found in contempt as was Steve Bannon. Not that this is unimportant, but out of several hundreds of phone calls to Congress, only three staff of representatives or senators have been caustic to me as a caller -two worked for Meadows and one for his replacement Madison Cawthorn. Other people’s staff have been professional and ranged from pleasant to reasonable, not belligerent.

  6. Unfortunately, Keith, the former guy and his cult followers, who seem to be growing in numbers, are impervious to the truth, facts, science, etc—and have no embarrassment or willingness to admit they’re wrong.

    We’ll have to work harder than ever before to awaken people to the dangers they pose to our democracy. And facts and truth won’t be sufficient. We’ll have to reach their hearts and hopes, and assuage their fears.

    • Annie, it is a cult-like following. I do think the bloom is off his rose and has been for awhile as more Republican elected officials are open with criticism and defiance of what he wants. With that said, the cult is what we bothers you and me. My suggestion is we follow the Daryl Davis model he used with talking people out of the KKK. He asked them questions and their answers gave him his path forward to discussion. But, it is and will be hard, since people like Carlson, Hannity, Jones, et al have viewers who listen to their strident opinions and disinformation. Keith

  7. After spending much time ‘back home’, I was privy to robust political party supporters. One side loudly proclaims, “Trump will be back and he’ll fix this country”. The other side claiming far-left leanings will soon be leading. They fight so hard to get “Their Political Party” elected, instead of fighting to get honorable, purposeful, fact-based, heart-focused, solution-driven people elected. I look at my husband and think. “Here sits the most honorable, caring man I have ever met. Why can’t we search for and find people like this to lead?” He’s not interested in politics, but can’t we find people like this who are, people who’ll actually put their heart and soul into doing the best job they can for everyone? This is why I’m an Independent No-Party Affiliated voter, I can’t vote for the lesser of two evils. Choosing a political party is like choosing which outhouse to take a bath in, and then defending why the $hithole you took a bath in is better than the other one. Apologies for my language.

    • Rose, well said. You noted why I am an independent as well. Leadership is not a common trait, but the better leaders choose not to run. I feel the 80/20 rule applies to all leaders – only about 20% are worth what we pay them. The success of the other 80% rise and fall on the winds of the economy and other factors. Keith

    • Linda, I read today that Rep. Matt Gaetz and Steve Bannon have advocated a readiness to seize the capitol if Trump wins in 2024. Really? Is that not sedition in and of itself? And, we have Tucker Carlson siding with Putin on invading Ukraine as he supports the false flag operation story on January 6. To me, the latter is clearly sedition, while the former is just extremely poor form. So, yes it is mind-boggling that people buy into their BS. Keith

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