Happy National Honesty Day!

I began getting a daily email of the “National Day” events a few months ago, for our friend Ellen occasionally teased me for not knowing that it was a certain “National Day” on the calendar. It has become a nightly ritual for me to read off the many national days on a nightly basis, to my girls, and we have a bit of fun over such things as National Hug-a-Plumber Day, National Shrimp Scampi Day, etc.  However, as I was reading off the National Days last night, one in particular caught my eye.  I pondered, and daughter Chris said she could smell the wheels turning (a bit of rust … the wheels need to be oiled).

National Honesty Day is celebrated on April 30 in the United States to encourage honesty and straightforward communication in politics, relationships, consumer relations and historical education. It was invented by M. Hirsh Goldberg, who chose the last day of April for two reasons. First, since the first day of that month, which is April Fools’ Day, celebrates falsehoods. Second, it is the anniversary of the First inauguration of George Washington on April 30, 1789.

Trump-pinocchioBy now, I’m sure you know where my mind is headed, yes?  Interestingly, this month, according to The Washington Post Fact Checker, Trump logged his 10,000th lie since taking office!  I debated writing a little made-up conversation with Trump in which I asked questions and he answered honestly, since it is Honesty Day, but even when I allowed my creativity to flow freely, I simply could not imagine him telling the truth.  So, instead I thought I’d feature a few ‘toons related to the subject.  But first, a bit of related trivia I came across:

  • According to Times Dispatch, a recent Gallup poll found that nurses are the most honest people. In contrast, lobbyists, salesmen, and members of Congress are supposedly the least honest people. (This was from 2012, in the ‘pre-Trump era.)

  • Book-of-LiesAccording to Goldberg’s book The Book of Lies: Fibs, Tales, Schemes, Scams, Fakes, and Frauds That Have Changed The Course of History and Affect Our Daily Lives, the average person lies about 200 times a day with lies including omission and white lies.  (Seriously???)

  • According to a poll conducted by London’s Science Museum upon 3,000 British citizens, the average British man tells three lies a day, while the average woman tells two lies a day. The average lie for a man is “I didn’t drink that much!” and for a woman it is “Nothings wrong, I’m fine”. Also according to the poll, people are more than likely to lie to their mothers.

Trump-lie-1trump-lie-2Trump-lie-3Ed Wexler / Cagle CartoonsBruce Plante Cartoon: Trump's "Best People"Donald Trump lies

Trump-lies-8

And my own personal favourite …

Trump-lie-7

What’s A Week Without Snarky Snippets?

Someday perhaps I will go an entire week without feeling a need to impart my snarky snippets, but today is not that day.


In dispute of science …

We’ve all seen and heard the climate change deniers … those who, regardless of background or education, claim that they know more than all the highly-educated scientists who have studied the environment and climate for years, some for decades.  But here’s a new one … a germ denier!

Fox News host Pete Hegseth has said on air that he has not washed his hands for 10 years because “germs are not a real thing”.

Say What???  Has this dude never caught a cold?

“My 2019 resolution is to say things on-air that I say off-air. I don’t think I’ve washed my hands for 10 years. I inoculate myself. Germs are not a real thing. I can’t see them; therefore, they’re not real.”

If you ever had doubts that Fox News does not hire the brightest in the field, here is your proof.  Hegseth later said that he meant it as a joke, but personally … I’m not so sure.

“We’re on a show and we have fun and we banter and I’m like, eh, you know, maybe I haven’t washed my hands for 10 years. My half-hearted commentary to the point is, we live in a society where people walk around with bottles of Purell in their pockets, and they sanitize 19,000 times a day as if that’s going to save their life. I take care of myself and all that, but I don’t obsess over everything all the time.”

This explains, maybe, why Hegseth works for Fox instead of CNN.


Oh yeah … alternative facts … how could I forget?

You’ll remember how Trump and his minions attempted to say that the crowd at his inauguration was “the biggest ever”?  Turned out it was a significantly smaller crowd than Obama had at his inauguration in 2008, but Trump never gave up the lie.  Well, last night he held a pep rally in El Paso, Texas, designed to stir up enthusiasm for his ridiculous border wall, and once again he inflated his crowd size.

Trump told the crowd gathered to watch him speak in the El Paso County Coliseum that so many people wanted to be there that the El Paso Fire Department found a way to cram 10,000 people inside the Coliseum, which typically has a capacity of only 6,500. The El Paso Fire Department, however, told Zahira Torres, an editor for the El Paso Times that the arena holds 6,500 people and that’s exactly how many were permitted to enter.

Trump also had to downplay Beto O’Rourke’s competing rally …

“A young man who’s got very little going for himself, except he’s got a great first name, he is, he has challenged us. So we have, let’s say, 35,000 people tonight — and he has 200 people, 300 people, not too good. In fact, what I would do is I would say that may be the end of his presidential bid. But he did challenge us.”

Beto-rally.jpgPolice estimated that Beto’s rally was attended by between 10,000-15,000 people.


The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree …

I don’t know why Trump’s older sons, Don, Jr. and Eric, are given a platform to speak, for neither are particularly intelligent, neither are charismatic, neither hold a position within our government, and thus they are irrelevant.  But speak they do, and like their father, neither are particularly well-spoken. Trump-jr.But that didn’t stop Trump’s eldest, Don, Jr., from speaking at the aforementioned rally in El Paso last night.

“I love seeing some young conservatives, ‘cuz I know it’s not easy.  Keep up that fight, bring it to your schools. You don’t have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth. You don’t have to do it.”

I repeat … Say WHAT???  Needless to say, Don’s comment did not go over well with teachers who, while not in the audience because they were out teaching socialism to these poor little kiddos, nonetheless heard about the comment.  If it’s possible, I think Junior is even dumber than Senior!


The master speaks … will Trump listen?

Fox News’ Sean Hannity had as much to do with causing that last shutdown that lasted 35 days as any, save perhaps radical bimbo Ann Coulter.  Today, Sean rides again!

Bipartisan negotiators in Congress have been working day and night to come up with a deal that would be acceptable to both parties, as well as Trump, and avert another shutdown starting at midnight on Friday.  A tentative agreement has been reached, but Sean is not happy …

“On this so-called compromise, I’m getting details. 1.3 billion and not even a wall or barrier… Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain.”

hannity-trumpGarbage compromise?  Sean Hannity, the lowest of low in the broadcast world, should be largely irrelevant.  Instead, the so-called president actually listens to Sean more than he listens to his experienced, educated advisors (Sean is a college drop-out with zero experience in lawmaking or government), and therein lies the danger.  Will Trump take Sean’s words to heart?  Is it possible that, rather than sign the bipartisan bill, Trump will allow the government to shut down once again on the advice of a media personality?

As of this writing, it is reported that Trump claims he is “not happy” with the deal and that if the government is shut down again, it is all the “fault of democrats”.  Yeah, right, Donnie.


And now, I return you to your regularly scheduled programming!

Facts Are Facts … Or Are They?

Fact:  A thing that is known or proven to be true.

When is a fact not a fact?  When it is uttered by virtually anyone in the U.S. Federal Government.

It all started, you may remember, two years ago … January 20, 2017, when then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that the number of people attending Trump’s inauguration was much higher than those who had attended President Obama’s inauguration four years earlier.  It wasn’t true, there are numbers from DC Metro to show that the number of attendee’s at Trump’s inauguration were the lowest of the past four presidents.  Only about 61% as many attended Trump’s inauguration as attended Obama’s.  And if that weren’t proof enough, the pictures speak no lies …

inauguration crowds.jpg

Inauguration crowds … Trump’s (left) Obamas (right)

Two days later, Kellyanne was making the rounds and made an appearance on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.  When Todd, armed with facts and pictures, asked Kellyanne why Spicer would “utter such a provable falsehood”, Kellyanne herself uttered the sentence that would re-define language as spoken by anyone in the Trump administration:

“Our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to [these claims], but the point remains that…”

And we knew right then that we would never be able to trust a single word that came from anyone in the Trump camp.

Alternative facts, also known as ‘lies’, have come to be what we expect when Trump, Kellyanne, or Sarah open their mouths.  For example, just one week after the lies about the size of the inaugural crowd, Kellyanne told another whopper …

“I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

Just to set the record straight, there never was a “Bowling Green Massacre”.

The lies, or ‘alternative facts’ have continued almost daily for two years, and we’ve mostly learned to ignore them, perhaps roll our eyes and shake our head, but overall we look through them and dig for whatever kernel of truth we may be able to find.  But there comes a point when the lies are so blatantly stupid that our jaws drop.

Yesterday, Trump spoke to reporters, futilely attempting to garner support for his ego-wall on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico, when this jewel slipped from between his lips …

“Everybody knows that walls work. You look at different places, they put up a wall, no problem. You look at San Antonio, you look at so many different places, they go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities, immediately, immediately.”

San Antonio?  Does he mean the San Antonio in Texas, the one that is some 150 miles north of the border?  The one where the Alamo is the major tourist attraction?  Ain’t no bloomin’ wall in San Antonio, folks.  We have a ‘man’ sitting in the Oval Office who flunked geography in high school!  Folks on Twitter had some fun with it, though …

“Is he talking about the Alamo, clearly, the only wall I know of in San Antonio? Has he forgotten how poorly that walll protected its occupants?”

“For the love of God…. can SOMEONE please get @realDonaldTrump a map? His shocking level of ignorance is absolutely frightening.”

“I believe the #BowlingGreenMassacre lead to the creation of the great #SanAntonio wall. ….i could be wrong. Im really just looking for a #SmockingGun. #hamberders”

“Geography is hard.”

And this from the mySanAntonio.com website …

“A quick search (consisting of looking out the window and then checking Texas Department of Transportation traffic cameras) found no walls barring anyone from San Antonio. In fact, the city is often known as one of the most welcoming and friendly cities in Texas.”

Proving once again that Donald Trump is a bad joke … a horrible joke … and that facts in our government have become completely meaningless.  And on that note, I must don long underwear, coat, hat and gloves and go shovel about a foot of snow from daughter Chris’ parking space so that she can park when she gets home from Kansas City late tonight.  Kansas City, by the way, has no walls either … just in case you were wondering.

By the way … Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day, so enjoy a few bites …cheese.jpg

On Re-defining Language …

Way back in the first days of Trump’s administration, Kellyanne Conway said that there can be ‘alternative facts’.  Trump and then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer made wild and visually-disputable claims that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was ‘the largest ever’, and even ‘larger than Obama’s’, neither of which were even remotely true.  When questions, Kellyanne said, “Well, you know, there can be alternative facts”.  No, Kellyanne, there cannot, for facts are proven and undisputable.  Nonetheless, alternative facts became the norm in the Trump administration, although most of us have another name for them:  lies.

Not only did Trump and his minions hold tight to the use of alternative facts, but they took it a step further and began to re-define various words.  ‘Good’, for example, when used by a trumpeter, can generally be assumed to have the opposite meaning.  When a republican lawmaker says he supports something, such as healthcare protections, it generally means he voted to gut ACA.  And the list goes on.

Last Monday, Trump took on the definitions of two more words:  globalist and nationalist.

“Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists. You know what a globalist is, right? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much. And, you know what? We can’t have that.”

“You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, ‘Really? We’re not supposed to use that word,’ You know what I am? I’m a nationalist. OK? I’m a nationalist. Use that word. Use that word.”

According to Merriam-Webster …

Definition of nationalism

1 : loyalty and devotion to a nation

especially : a sense of national consciousness (see CONSCIOUSNESS sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups

Intense nationalism was one of the causes of the war.

Throughout history, words have evolved, and while there is nothing sinister about the first part of this definition, “loyalty and devotion to a nation”, the rest of the definition brings on images of jackboots on cobblestones.  It dates back to the 17th century and rose into prominence during the uprisings in the 18th century that produced the American and French revolutions. But the word attained even more of a negative connotation during the 20th century as it become associated with the nationalism movements in Europe that helped lead to World War I and World War II. Today the word is often associated with the far-right, racist ideologies of white nationalists.

Nationalism has been on the rise worldwide, as evidenced by the success of nationalist political parties in Europe. And it had a double bang in 2016, as it powered Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump as US President. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former top strategist, said Trump used an “economic nationalist agenda” to win.

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘globalism’ …

A person who advocates the interpretation or planning of economic and foreign policy in relation to events and developments throughout the world.

Trade, protection, the environment … these are all issues that require global cooperation.  Remember 11 September 2001?  U.S. airspace was shut down, yet there were incoming planes filled with people with nowhere to go.  What happened?  Our friends the Canadians opened their airports, as well as their homes and their hearts, let our planes land, took stranded passengers into their homes, fed them … this is part of what globalism is about … see anything evil in that?

Trump has now declared that he is against globalism and is a nationalist, yet the majority of the people in this nation do not want to be an isolationist nation for we see the very real dangers.  We need our friends around the globe, just as they need us, and Mr. Trump has it all wrong … ALL WRONG … if he thinks that shunning other nations makes us safer, for in every sense of the word, it endangers our lives.

Further, Mr. Trump seems to be playing to the white supremacist arm of nationalists who eschew any who are not white, Christian, and of European descent.  Hence, his desire for a wall to keep Hispanics from Mexico, Central and South America out of our country.  Hence, his stepped-up deportations of even legal immigrants.  Hence, his aversion to immigrants from the Middle East.

The United States will not survive as an independent nation if we shut ourselves off from international affairs.  Technology has made the planet smaller and in today’s world, no nation can thrive without the help of others.  Trump would lead us down a path of certain destruction, given his way.  He is wrong, but sadly there are those who do not understand such things as trade, the environment, national debt, and global cooperation.  Nor do they care to take the time to educate themselves.  It is time to put the brakes on Trump’s out-of-control train, and the only way to do that is to vote the republicans out of Congress, for they have proven for the past two years that they will give him free rein.  Trump and this 115th Congress have done much damage, some that will take decades to repair, but the real nightmare comes with what could be done in another two years of an unchecked madman at that helm.

Read At Your Own Risk …

WARNING:  The following is likely to cause severe nausea, headaches and anger.

On page A20 of today’s print edition of The Washington Post, there is a letter by an anonymous source claiming to be a 90-year-old man.  There is some speculation that Trump himself may have submitted the letter. The letter is listed as an advertisement and I could not find it anywhere in the online edition but had to follow a link to Twitter and from there was able to find the complete text.  Somebody with money to burn submitted the letter, for under WaPo’s advertising rate schedule, it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to publish. While I realize and understand that the mainstream media has an obligation to give voice to all reasonable viewpoints, I consider this letter to be in poor taste and outside the bounds of ‘reasonable’, and not simply because I disagree with the premise of the letter.  The Washington Post has lowered its status in my view.  I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Dear Mr. President,

In my opinion, on September 25th, 2018, you delivered one of the finest speeches ever given at the United Nations. For students of history, it was reminiscent of Winston Churchill as he faced (and often faced alone) the then threat of Nazism, and Ronald Reagan as he confronted “The Evil Empire” at The Berlin Wall.

Today, the greatest threat facing America, (along with free world), is “The Left’s” new religion of “Radical Liberalism”. Instead of tanks, artillery and aircraft, today’s Radical Left uses fear, threats and false allegations and ideologies to undermine the liberties and spiritual beliefs the West holds so dearly.

As with Churchill and Reagan, you Mr. President, are the only world leader with the courage and insight to identify, confront, and then expose “The Left’s” failed and corrupting ideologies such as “Globalism”, “Political Correctness”, “Multi-Culturalism” and the greatest hoax of all, “Man-Made Global Warming”.

The earth is governed by God’s law, not the whims of mankind.

The Bible says it best, when in Genesis 1, it reads, “… after creating man in his own image…. God blessed them and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have domination over the fish of the sea, and over the foul in the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”.

In simplest terms, God created the earth to serve man, and then provided the earth with everything mankind would need to grow and prosper. It’s man’s responsibility to manage those resources to nourish the world.

We can also thank God for the origin of the Rights, Liberties and Freedoms, expounded upon within our Constitution, as they are based on His Ten Commandments and grounded in the “unalienable rights” granted by our Creator.

It’s that word “Creator” that so scares the Radical Liberals.

The Radical Left try to fool as many people as they can into thinking “God is Dead”, because they know people who stop believing in God, will start believing in anything! Even junk science like “Man-Made Global Warming”, or repeatedly failed political philosophies such as Socialism! Just ask the people of Venezuela.

I know this won’t surprise you, Mr. President, but it should be noted that the reasons the Radical Left went “ballistic” in their all-out effort, to not simply defeat, but to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family, was based on two key factors: the first is his belief in, and loyalty to our Constitution; the second, is that he and his family are devout Catholics who proudly acknowledge their belief in God. And then if that wasn’t enough to drive the Radical Left insane, America learns that the Kavanaugh family actually “pray together”, and in their prayers, they asked God to heal their father’s accuser.

There you have them. The two key elements that terrify the Radical Left. The first is the acknowledgement of the existence of God, and the second, is the invocation of the power of prayer!

There are many who may laugh at what I am about to say, but I don’t believe you will be one of them. Born and raised within the United States, I am a religious man of Lebanese decent. On November 1st, 2016, while visiting Lebanon, I travelled to the shrine of Saint Charbel (who has been credited with over 160,000 registered miracles attributed to his intercession) to pray for my miracle; the saving of America through your election as our President. I will always believe the Maronite Monk, canonized as Saint Charbel Makhlouf by Pope Paul VI, heard my prayers, granted my miracle, and put America back on a path to greatness.

Another gift your election has given our country is our First Lady, Melania Trump. She has brought a breath of fresh air to the nation. She’s a legal immigrant and naturalized American citizen who speaks six languages and who loves America, her history, her accomplishments and all for which she stands. On February 19th, 2017, the nation, and the world gained insight into the heart and soul of our First Lady when she was asked to speak at a campaign rally, but instead of the typical political rhetoric we’ve come to expect, she led your supporters in reciting “The Lord’s Prayer”. What a gift she is to us and the world!

Respectfully Sir, am I a fan of your “Twitter Diplomacy”? No. Am I supporter of the quickness and ferocity with which you attack your attackers? No. Have you conducted your Presidency with the same decorum as most previous Presidents? No. But then again, no President in modern history has worked so hard, for so long, to make good on so many of the promises you’ve made to America.

Even your political adversaries marvel at all you have accomplished, especially in lieu of the fact that no political personality in history has endured the impact of 90% or more, of negative news coverage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With God’s help, you have not only survived, but thrived, and your successes have helped “the forgotten people”, both here at home, and around the world. Just as you have promised.

Mr. President, you may think you “chose” to run for President, but I am one who believes, you didn’t choose, …. you were chosen … just like God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt!

May God continue to bless and protect America, as well as you, your family, and all the freedom loving people of the world.              

Signed,

A Reluctant “Anonymous”

​ARA@MyOpenLetterToPresidentTrump.org

Follow us on Twitter! @ToOurPotus

(Mr. President, I’ve lived almost 90 years on this earth in service to my God, my family and my country. Concerned for my personal safety and seeing the confrontations and violence the Radical Left unleash against those who speak out against them, my family pleaded with me not to disclose my identity for fear of such reprisals against them and/or myself. What a sickening, political reality in 21st Century America. However, hopefully Sir, one day we will meet, and I will proudly tell you my name while shaking your hand.)

barf bag

From Hero To Laughingstock …

I am quite certain that I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  I once had tremendous respect for New York’s former mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  Nothing can or should take away from the fact that he, more than any other single person in the U.S., brought calm in a stormy sea, brought reason into chaos, and earned the respect of New Yorkers in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  His was the voice of reason, he was the one who said, “Calm down … BREATHE … we can do this … we can get through this.  Yes, we have been hurt, but … we are NEW YORKERS and we will be okay.” Nothing can take that away.  However, at some point between September 11th 2001 and August 19th 2018, the man lost his bloody marbles!!!

Giuliani frequently appears on the Sunday morning news shows to lie for defend Donald Trump, and yesterday was no exception.  Appearing on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, Giuliani proved once again that “Yes, I am an idiot”. After a question from Todd regarding the Mueller investigation …

“No, it isn’t truth! Truth isn’t truth!”

Say … huh???  Truth isn’t truth?  Kellyanne warned us some 19 months ago that there would be alternative facts, and later she even proved there is an alternative history, when she spoke of the “Bowling Green Massacre” that never happened.  So, it follows that if there are alternative facts, and alternative history, there must also be an alternative language, right?  Up is down.  Black is white.  Left is right.  Candy is healthy, and broccoli will cause your teeth to rot.  Truth is lies and lies are truth.  Donald Trump is wonderful, and Barack Obama was a lying, dirty scoundrel who was born in Kenya.  Applause, applause, applause …

They had fun with this on Twitter, of course …Tweettweet-2

tweet-3

And then, naturally, Andy Borowitz writing for the New Yorker got in on the act …

Putin Reportedly Close to Firing Giuliani

MOSCOW (The Borowitz Report)—Vladimir Putin is reportedly “very close” to firing Rudolph Giuliani as Donald J. Trump’s attorney, a source close to the Russian President confirmed on Monday.

According to the source, Putin allowed Trump to hire Giuliani in the first place because “it’s important to let Trump think that he has some autonomy from time to time,” but now the Russian President has apparently determined that “enough is enough.”

Over the next few days, the source indicated, Putin is likely to replace Giuliani with a handpicked successor, Arkady Lubetkin, a criminal-defense attorney who has represented several prominent Russian Mob figures.

After hearing anecdotal reports of Giuliani’s appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Putin initially theorized that the nonsensical nature of Giuliani’s utterances had to be chalked up to “an error in translation,” the source said.

After reading an official transcript of Giuliani’s statements, however, the Russian President was apparently “flabbergasted.”

“Pravda is not pravda?” Putin reportedly said. “What is this bullshit?”

Today, Giuliani attempted to extricate himself from his own words …

“My statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology but one referring to the situation where two people make precisely contradictory statements, the classic “he said,she said” puzzle. Sometimes further inquiry can reveal the truth other times it doesn’t.”

Sometimes it is best just to learn when to keep one’s mouth shut, Rudy.

It is rather a sad statement on our present situation that 99.5% of our humour comes from our own government.  Equally sad when a man who was once a hero is now a laughingstock.

From ‘Alternative Facts’ to Rewriting History in Trump’s White House

Just two days ago, I wrote a post about ‘alternative facts’, aka lies.  I didn’t plan to revisit the topic this soon, but I came across an excellent editorial written by Jon Sopel, the North American editor for BBC, that confirms my take on the subject and provides some additional food for thought.  I share with you his words …

jonsopelIt is time we sit and talk about truth and transparency.

Every now and then a few disparate things collide, and suddenly you see a pattern. And I don’t want this blog to come across as faux naïve. I’ve covered politics for long enough to know that politicians will try to shape and mould truth to best suit their purposes, to allow them to weaponise the facts that will give them greatest advantage.

And I know that politicians love transparency when it best suits them. But in the past two weeks, a line has been crossed.

Let me start with something seemingly minor. I was listening to the president and Theresa May at their news conference in the Chequers garden when Donald Trump, talking about Brexit, suddenly made the statement that he had predicted the result when he was at his golf course in Turnberry for the opening of his wonderful golf course the day before the EU referendum in June 2016.

I sat up with a jolt. I had been there with him on that trip.

We didn’t arrive until the day after the referendum. He wasn’t there on June 22nd. He was there on June 24th. I pointed this out on Twitter, saying it was a bit bizarre.

Now I can see as a bit of storytelling it works better to claim to have been the visionary who saw what was coming; I can also see that when you’re 72-years-old you might misremember dates and times. Who doesn’t do that occasionally? – although maybe not on something as fundamental as that.

Anyway back to my tweet saying the president was factually incorrect. Straight back shot Stephanie Grisham, who is the first lady’s director of communications, but more importantly at the time was Donald Trump’s press person for the trip to Turnberry.

She told me on Twitter the president was right to say what he had said – and she had the photos to prove it.tweet-1So we produced the tweet from the president on the 24th saying “Just arrived in Scotland…” and from her saying that she had just arrived in Scotland.

Someone else found the flight manifest, confirming that the Trump private jet had arrived on the 24th. I fully agree a storm in a teacup. This is not the sort of thing on which world peace hinges.

But I struggle to fathom Steph’s motives. Why did she go wading in to defend a lie? And why when the proof was provided that she was incorrect did she not just say “fair enough – my mistake”.tweet-2.pngPsychology has a rather good word for this – “gaslighting”.

This is the Wikipedia definition of it: Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the victim and delegitimise the victim’s belief.

From Chequers we now go to Helsinki, and another extraordinary news conference this time with Vladimir Putin. The whole thing was slightly surreal, made more so by the guy sitting next to me being yanked out by the Secret Service after it became clear to them he was planning some kind of protest during the news conference.

During the course of the Q and A, Jeff Mason from Reuters was called to ask a question. He wanted to know whether Putin had wanted Donald Trump to win the 2016 presidential election and had directed any of his officials to help him do that?

Vladimir Putin didn’t hesitate: “Yes, I wanted him to win because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal.”

It was quite a moment. But then I saw a tweet that Donald Trump put out yesterday to protest about how tough he was with Russia, which read:

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

So I referred back to what Putin had said in Helsinki a week earlier. But here’s where it gets super murky. All reference to that exchange between Mr Mason and the Russian leader has been omitted from the official White House transcript. In the official record it doesn’t exist.

Just a clerical transcription error? Well maybe – there is some confusion over the translation, but maybe it would be good to correct the record.

Now for another random event which happened yesterday. The White House has said that it will no longer provide information about when the president holds conversations with foreign leaders, as it has always done hitherto.

The accounts of the chats may have been anodyne and terse, but they were a useful tool to keep track of foreign policy priorities. And it was always useful to compare and contrast what, say, the Kremlin would have to say about the conversation compared to the White House. Now we will no longer be able to do that.

And so to the final thing. Donald Trump was speaking at a rally in Kansas City. And he came out with a memorable phrase that sounded as though it had been lifted straight from George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. He said: “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

Or it is. There is just a concerted – and sometimes it would seem – systematic effort to make you think otherwise.

Forget alternative facts. This is rewriting history.

If anything … anything at all … that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth is true, then I am the Queen of England.  ‘Nuff said.

The Spin …

Yesterday it was widely reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not particularly excited to have received an invitation to visit the White House.  Top Kremlin aide, Yuri Ushakov, speaking on behalf of Putin, said …

“After the summit, you know what kind of atmosphere there is around its outcome. I think it would be wise to let the dust settle and then we can discuss all these questions in a business-like way. But not now.”

I was pleased by this, mainly because I am deeply disturbed by the relationship between Trump and Putin and Trump’s seeming adoration of our chief antagonist, Russia.  But also, I must admit to a bit of childish glee when I considered how Trump would take the news that his new buddy is likely going to reject his invitation.  I was waiting to hear how Trump would respond to this news.  And I didn’t have long to wait.  I should have seen it coming, should have known he wouldn’t allow the public to see his hurt feelings over being rejected.  Instead, he spun it as only Trump can do:

White House Says Trump Won’t Meet Putin Until Next Year

President Donald Trump will not host Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington until 2019, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday, because it is Trump’s preference not to do so until “the Russia witch hunt is over.” – Politico, 07/25/2018 02:42 PM EDT

Who could have seen that one coming, eh?  More alternative facts.  More lies.  Trump cannot ever be wrong, cannot abide rejection, will not tolerate dissent or criticism.  But We the People know the truth.  Donnie only showed us, once again, what an arrogant fool he is.

Alternative Facts …

In the beginning … way back on January 20, 2017 … we were first introduced to a concept that would be the foundation for the Trump presidency:  Alternative Facts.  It first came about because the crowd at the inauguration was significantly smaller than that at Barack Obama’s first inauguration, eight years earlier.  Then-press secretary Sean Spicer, however, on orders from Trump, claimed that the crowd was the largest ever seen at any presidential inauguration.  The following Sunday on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Kellyanne Conway why Spicer made that claim, saying, “It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office on day one.”  Kellyanne’s response was …todd-conway.png

“Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You’re saying it’s a falsehood and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

Todd shot back …

“Alternative facts? Look, alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods. What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?”

And Kellyanne took offense …

“Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job. Chuck, I mean, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

And thus began the Era of Alternative Facts.  Not a single day has gone by since that we have not been subjected to alternative facts, aka lies, from the administration, usually from Trump himself.  But this past week has been the crowning gem of alternative facts.  Let us look at a couple.

alt-facts-4Just yesterday, Trump was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri, and made this utterly ludicrous statement:

“Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

Say what???alt-facts-2

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. And if all others accepted the lie, which the party imposed, if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became the truth.”  – George Orwell, 1984

Ever since his disastrous, from my point of view, summit in Helsinki just over a week ago, Trump has had a great deal of trouble deciding whether he believes that Putin interfered in our 2016 election, and whether Putin is primed to interfere in our mid-terms this November.  He has changed his tune so many times that my head was spinning like the little girl on The Exorcist, so I finally just stopped even paying attention.  Bottom line is he knows damn good and well that Putin did everything he could to ensure that Hillary Clinton would not win in 2016.  It wasn’t that he liked Trump better, but he was afraid of Hillary, and he figured he could manipulate Trump.  But yesterday, Trump topped even his own record for ignorance.

“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

Tough on Russia?  When???  He’s on a short leash held by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has refused to speak a single critical word against Putin, and he’s tough???bullshitIf anybody believes a single word of that, I’ve got this lovely bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll sell cheap.  Just last week he told a reporter he doesn’t think Russia is still targeting the US and publicly doubting Russian interference on multiple occasions.

alt-facts-3A few days ago, in my spam folder I found an email from Trump.  Well, actually it was from a computer program authorized to solicit funds on behalf of Trump.  I have unsubscribed to this blasphemy so many times that I finally gave up.  Anyway, he talked about his favourite topic these days, the “witch hunt” and reminded me what a great job he is doing, then, right before asking for a campaign donation, he referred to himself as my “favourite president”.  After I returned from the bathroom being sick, I deleted the email.  Another very alternative fact.

I could understand his use of smoke & mirrors, gaslighting, lies, lies and more lies … er, excuse me – alternative facts – at this point, for he is deeply entangled in a web of lies & secrecy that Robert Mueller is close to exposing, and Trump is running scared.  Hence his threat to “shut down” the investigation. But … he started out lying on day #1!!!  Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell make really sorry excuses for him, as if he were naught but a recalcitrant child.  But he is not a child … he is a 72-year-old man who by hook and by crook managed to land the highest office in the nation.

We laugh and joke about the term ‘alternative facts’, but the reality is that these lies are no joking matter, for they carry very real consequences for our country.  Why?  Because some 40% of the people in the nation believe them.  Trump could not care less what the rest of us think, so long as he can convince his base that we are the enemy.  But Trump tells his base, “Do not get your news from CNN, the New York Times, or The Washington Post.  Do not listen to the liberals, for they are only out to get us.  Believe only what I tell you to believe.”  And that is what they do.  Therein lies the danger.

trump-pinocchioTrump is a buffoon, an ignorant, under-educated fool.  But he holds the power and if there is one thing he seems to have a knack for, it is keeping his base hypnotized and believing that he is the answer to whatever problems they perceive.  Or rather, whatever problems he has told them they have.

There is no such thing as alternative facts.  Facts are irrefutable and not subject to interpretation.  Fact:  Trump’s inauguration crowd couldn’t hold a candle to Obama’s.  Fact:  Vladimir Putin admitted that he wanted Trump to win in 2016.  Fact:  Trump refused to hold Putin accountable for the election interference when the two met in Helsinki.  Fact:  Many from Trump’s campaign have already either pled guilty or been indicted for their dealings with Russia during the campaign.  Fact:  Trump has damaged our relationship with our allies.  Fact:  Trump’s tariffs will hurt U.S. citizens far more than they will help bring new jobs.  Fact:  Trump has chipped away at ACA to the point that we will all see a rise in health care costs, and millions will be unable to afford healthcare at all.  I have many more facts, but I shall stop here, for you get the picture, right?

The 40% who still love him because he tells them to are in for a very rude awakening. As I told a friend last night, I would like to say they will be getting what they deserve, but for the fact that the rest of us will suffer as well. This, even though we have spent the past year-and-a-half fighting tooth and nail, while the 40% sat in front of their television watching Fox News and scarfing down Lays potato chips and ice cream.  Bah humbug.