Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump's Big CON: 'God Stopped the Rain for My Speech'

UPDATE:  "I don’t believe that President Trump was lying when, the day after he swore the oath of office, he told a roomful of CIA employees that the crowd at his inauguration 'looked like a million, a million and a half people' and 'went all the way back to the Washington Monument.' I don’t believe he was lying when he recounted that the rain 'stopped immediately' when he began delivering his inaugural address and that 'it poured right after I left.' And I don’t believe he was lying when, on Monday, he repeated in front of lawmakers his post-election falsehood that 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote.

Instead, Trump was doing something far worse.

Lying, as defined by philosopher Harry Frankfurt, is an act undertaken intentionally to obscure the truth . Liars look at the truth and go in the other direction; but in doing so, they recognize implicitly that there is such a thing as the truth and such a thing as its opposite.

Trump, however, often operates without any connection to the truth. For him, truth is not an enemy so much as an irrelevance. As a real estate developer and cultural figure, his routine spouting of falsehoods could be comparatively harmless, even entertaining. As president, however, his disregard for the truth could easily become disregard for democratic norms and the rule of law. . .

Trump’s habitual disregard for the truth raises serious questions about his presidency: How will it affect his ability to carry out the duties of his office? And what is the relationship between disregard for truth and disregard for law? . .

Both truth and law provide constraints on human action, binding us to the facts of the world and to certain agreed-upon norms of behavior. In that way, they limit our freedom, yet they also create the shared space within which we interact with one another. . .

In a sense, Trump and his post-truth team have embraced the same post-structuralist critique of the notion of stable truth that the American right has railed against for the past 30 years. Shortly after the election, Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes defended his false claims about illegal voting by asserting that “there’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.” She was arguing, however incoherently, that Trump supporters and opponents are each entitled to their own versions of what is true.

But this comparatively democratic vision of a world without truth is not quite what Trump seems to have in mind. He wants to make up the “alternative facts” and impose them on the rest of us, as well. And so, for example, Spicer not only berated the press for accurately reporting attendance at Trump’s inauguration, he also provided the administration’s version of reality and angrily demanded that reporters adhere to that reality. . .

In the simplest terms, a conception of truth outside what the government tells us to be so is foundational to democracy because it allows us to stand up against power. It’s also necessary to lay the groundwork for any kind of democratic deliberation among citizens. After all, if we cannot persuade one another to agree with reference to some shared system of meaning, the only thing left is to compel agreement through force — which is to say that there’s a potentially dangerous relationship between sustained disregard for truth in political leaders and authoritarian coercion."

Read the Washington Post, Can a president who disregards the truth uphold his oath of office?

Read also the Washington Post, In China, torture is real, and the rule of law is a sham.

Trump is a psycho-narcissistic delusional con man.

"The most worrisome moment for me in a very ominous week was not President Trump’s bizarre rant about crowd size, his bogus claims about election fraud or his moves toward bringing back torture, blocking refugees and provoking a trade war with Mexico.

The most troubling moment was when he spoke about the weather.

'It was almost raining,' the new president told CIA workers in Langley, recounting his inaugural address, 'but God looked down and he said, we’re not going to let it rain on your speech. In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops. And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we’ll go right through it. But the truth is that it stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny. And then I walked off and it poured right after I left. It poured.'

Really sunny? I was there for the inaugural address, in the sixth row, about 40 feet from Trump, and I remembered the exact opposite: It began to rain when he started and tapered off toward the end. There wasn’t a single ray of sunshine, before, during or after the speech. . .

I rehash this weather history because it’s not subject to debate. This is tantamount to Trump declaring black is white or day is night. It was overcast, and he declared that it was “really sunny.”

This disconnect from reality is my biggest fear about Trump, more than any one policy he has proposed. My worry is the president of the United States is barking mad.

Last summer, observing a series of Trump falsehoods that were easily disproved, I wrote that these may not be deliberate 'lies,' that Trump 'may not be able to tell fact from fiction.' He didn’t just spout conspiracy theories about Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11, or about a U.S. general who executed Muslim prisoners with bullets dipped in pig blood. He often claimed he never said or did things contradicted by his own previous words and actions: that he didn’t 'know anything about David Duke,' that he 'never mocked' a disabled reporter, that he opposed the Iraq invasion 'loud and strong' from the start, and so forth.

'More than anyone else I have ever met,' Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter for 'The Art of the Deal,' told the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer at the time, 'Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.'

My Post colleague Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger, picked up on this theme in an important post this week, recalling Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) description of Trump as somebody who 'doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies' and 'his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.'

Rubin raised the prospect that Trump might eventually need to be declared unfit to serve under the 25th Amendment if he can’t 'separate what he wants to believe and what exists.'

That’s why his assertion that it was 'really sunny' during his inaugural address is so terrifying. . .

When Trump caused international havoc with tweets about China, North Korea and others, there was speculation that he was pursuing the “madman theory” to unsettle adversaries by making them think he’s crazy.

He’s doing such a convincing job of it that I worry being a madman isn’t Trump’s theory but his reality."

Read the Washington Post, In Trump’s mind, it’s always ‘really sunny.’ And that’s terrifying.

I'm starting to think Trump doesn't last four years. The question is whether he leave office voluntarily, or has to be removed. 

Trump's Big CON: 'Only I Can Protect Us From Terrorism'

UPDATE IV:  "I am not surprised by President Donald Trump’s antics this week. Not by the big splashy pronouncements such as announcing a wall that he would force Mexico to pay for, even as the Mexican foreign minister held talks with American officials in Washington. Not by the quiet, but no less dangerous bureaucratic orders, such as kicking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff out of meetings of the Principals’ Committee, the senior foreign-policy decision-making group below the president, while inserting his chief ideologist, Steve Bannon, into them. Many conservative foreign-policy and national-security experts saw the dangers last spring and summer, which is why we signed letters denouncing not Trump’s policies but his temperament; not his program but his character.

We were right. . .

[In the end Trump]will fail most of all because at the end of the day most Americans, including most of those who voted for him, are decent people who have no desire to live in an American version of Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, or Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia. . .

There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him."

Read The Atlantic, A Clarifying Moment in American History.

UPDATE III:  "The more you look at [Trump’s executive order on immigration], the more clearly un-serious it is in addressing any real problem. It's Breitbart-like boob bait for the bubbas."

UPDATE II:  "Trump came to power promising that masterful leadership would replace the 'stupid' kind. This action was malicious, counterproductive and inept — the half-baked work of amateurs who know little about security, little about immigration law and nothing about compassion. . .

When Ronald Reagan spoke on foreign policy, tyrants sat uneasy on their thrones and dissidents and refugees took heart. When Donald Trump speaks on foreign policy, tyrants rest easier and dissidents and refugees lose hope."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s half-baked travel ban is a picture of American shame.

UPDATE:  "The seven nations targeted for new visitation restrictions by President Trump on Friday all have something in common: They are places he does not appear to have any business interests.

The executive order he signed Friday bars all entry for the next 90 days by travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. Excluded from the lists are several majority-Muslim nations where the Trump Organization is active and which in some cases have also faced troublesome issues with terrorism."

Read the Washington Post, Countries where Trump does business are not hit by new travel restrictions.

"President Trump first pitched a ban on Muslims more than a year ago, proposing it in the wake of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015. He revived the idea after the Orlando club massacre last summer. And when Trump announced Friday that he was suspending travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, his order mentioned the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks three times.

No one involved in those attacks was born in the countries Trump’s order included. . .

The list of countries the ban affects also did not include countries where people behind several other attacks in recent years — along with high-profile plots that were not carried out — were born. . .

Yet the list of countries included in the ban — Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya — leaves out countries tied to extremist attackers or plots."

Read the Washington Post, Trump and his aides keep justifying the entry ban by citing attacks it couldn’t have prevented, which includes this graph:

Trump's Big CON: Voter Fraud

UPDATE II:  Does this surprise anyone?

Read the Daily Mail, President Trump's voter fraud expert who he cites for his claim that 'millions of people voted illegally' is registered in THREE states.

UPDATE:  "Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and one of his closest White House advisers, is registered to vote in both New Jersey and New York, while White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is on the rolls both in Virginia and his home state of Rhode Island, according to elections officials and voting registration records."

Read also the Washington Post, It turns out Jared Kushner and Sean Spicer are also registered to vote in two states.


"President Trump says he will launch an investigation into his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. But one of the potential areas he highlighted for probing — voters who are registered in two different states — appears as though it would snag his own top adviser.

Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that his 'major investigation into VOTER FRAUD' would be 'including those registered to vote in two states.'"

Among those registered to vote in two states:

  • Trump's daughter, Tiffany Trump, 
  • Trump's Treasury secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin, and 
  • Trump's chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s definition of ‘voter fraud’ appears to include his own daughter and top adviser.

All I can say is LOCK THEM UP!