A fool’s errand

The president of the United States said yesterday that reporters are trying to get the coronavirus so that they can infect him. In a long list of bizarre, blatant and mere exaggerated lies, this comment may be his most idiotic. Mind you, there is a lot of competition for the prize as most idiotic. But, to think someone would endanger themselves and their family to get the president sick is just beyond reason.

The fact the president is untruthful is not news. Even Tucker Carlson admitted to such on his Fox News program last fall. Why that is not more of a problem to Carlson is beyond me? Lately, I have been using the following phrase to define how we should react to the president’s persistent untruthfulness. “Taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand.”

When Trump supporters tell me I just don’t like the president, the truthful response is I do not like that I cannot trust the president of the United States. But, I am not alone. In a poll of Europeans several weeks ago, 64% said they do not trust the president of the United States. Even more alarming is they trust Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpeng more.

The president should not lie in everyday matters. Senator Bernie Sanders rightfully calls him a “pathological liar.” Trump’s former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn called him a “prodigious liar.” John Dowd, an attorney working on the Mueller investigation on behalf of Trump called him a “f**king liar.” And, the list goes on, but I often use Thomas Wells, an attorney for Trump, who wrote in 2016, “Donald Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.” The only thing Wells got wrong is the frequency is higher. He lies several times a day.

Yet, in times of crisis, we must look to the president for telling us what is going on. But, we cannot with this person. He protects his image or the perception over the truth. He simply cannot be accountable or own the truth. He said earlier this week it is the media that is causing the stock market to fall. Per the president, it has nothing to do with the coronavirus unpreparedness and impact it is having on people doing things. And, it has nothing to with Saudi Arabia and Russia causing an oil glut or the general softening of the growth in the global economy.

As I have said to others, I no longer watch the president as it is unsettling to count the lies in real time. I prefer to read them and judge for myself. I start from the bottom not believing a word he says or tweets. Then, I go from there. To me, it is sad to feel that way about the president. Other presidents have lied, but not with the frequency and volume that the incumbent does.

-George W. Bush told us there were weapons of mass destruction as reason for invading Iraq. That was a lie.
-Bill Clinton said he did not have sexual relations with that woman. That was a lie.
-Barack Obama said if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. That was a lie.
-Ronald Reagan told us he did not sell arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. That was a lie.
-George HW Bush said read my lips, no new taxes. That turned out to be a lie.
-Richard Nixon said I am not a crook. That was a lie.

Yet, while I can likely note a few others by the above, I can easily name a half dozen lies the incumbent has said in about five minutes. Given more time, I can think of a few dozen. Googling would list a host more.

So, to the Trump fan who said he is just rough around the edges, or to the one in the commercial who said you can trust Donald Trump, please note the following. Trump is more than rough around the edges. And, the US is less trustworthy because our president cannot be trusted. So, my strong advice to people is “taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand.”

A few quotes from Conservatives need wider coverage

As an independent voter, having been a member of both parties, I seek to find the truth and facts beneath the politics. The tribal nature requires its bellringers to denounce any criticism or facts that get in the way of their winning. The US president does this frequently with his claims of fake news when he does not like what is being said.

What concerns me is we have a president who has a modus operandi of heretofore questionable and dubious behavior to further his personal cause. Yet, the claims of fake news heightened by the narrative it is Democrats that are behind this. What I have observed is an increasing number of conservative voices who are exhibiting greater courage to speak out against actions and words of this president.

Here are a few that resonate with me:

Elsa Alcala, a former Texas judge, decided to leave the Republican party this summer, alienated by Trump’s  latest attacks on Democratic representatives of color, three of whom were born in the United States. “Even accepting that Trump has had some successes (and I believe these are few), at his core, his ideology is racism,” the 55-year-old retired judge wrote Monday in a Facebook post. “To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core,” as reported by The Washington Post.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, a long-time defender of whistleblowers and a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, pushed back Tuesday against the president’s call to identify the person who filed a complaint about his July phone call with the Ukrainian president. “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected. We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality,” the senior senator from Iowa said in a news release as reported by USA Today.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois noted in response to the president retweeting a comment by an evangelical minister that a civil war would result if he was impeached. “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” the Illinois lawmaker tweeted. “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant,” as reported by USA Today.

Chris Truax, legal advisor to Republicans for the Rule of Law noted last week, “Republicans in Congress must condemn this behavior without reservation. It is no longer about whether Republicans believe President Trump or whether they support his policies. It’s about whether they support his admitted abuse of power and his efforts to secure a foreign government’s help in an American election,” said in a statement to Huffington Post.

Nebraska Republican State Senator John McCollister, wrote in an email sent to his supporters, “The Republican Party is enabling white supremacists in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it’s true. I of course am not suggesting that all Republicans are white supremacists, nor am I saying that the average Republican is even racist.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire during Congressional testimony said “I want to stress I believe the whistleblower and the inspector general have acted in good faith throughout.” Maguire also agreed with Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro’s assertion that the whistleblower’s complaint is “remarkably consistent” with the transcript released by the Trump administration. “I would say that the whistleblower’s complaint is in alignment with what was released by the president yesterday,” Maguire said as reported by Fortune.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called out “astonishing” and “deeply misleading” spin from President Donald Trump’s defenders over the whistleblower complaint on his contacts with Ukraine. He also criticized White House advisor Stephen Miller in an interview for Miller’s “obfuscation of the truth.”

Former National Economic Advisor Gary Cohn confessed to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward in his book “Fear,” saying Trump is a “prodigious liar.”

Former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen said the following under oath to a Congressional committee, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

I am a fiscally conservative and social progressive voter. This is why I have been a member of both parties. I do not mind people being more conservative or progressive than me on issues. What I do care about is focusing on facts and truth.

I share these comments as there has been a purposeful reaction to distract from the truth to protect this president by his supporters. This is in part due to the media reporting everything the president does or says that is not accurate or appropriate. I wish they would focus more on the big lies as we have become inured (and even weary) to the unending inappropriate tweets and comments. Obstructing justice and abusing powers is a big thing.

Off with his head

Given former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s (the Mooch) recent comments that his former boss is “off the rails,” I started to write a post about the Mad Hatter. But, there is a more appropriate caricature of the president in “Alice in Wonderland;” he acts more like the Queen of Hearts.

Any one who dares to criticize the Queen, will lose his or her proverbial head. The Mooch has been criticized for his remarks and advocacy to see the president is NOT reelected. The president said he did not know (the Mooch) that well. Yet, one would ask why he picked him to be his Communications Director, which was such a square peg/ round hole placement that it lasted eleven days.

Eugene Robinson’s latest editorial is called “Trump panicking that reality presidency won’t be renewed.” His opening and closing paragraphs are priceless. Here is the opening:

“Uh-oh. President Trump is in such a state of panic about his dimming reelection prospects that he’s getting his lies mixed up and occasionally blurting out the truth.” Robinson goes on to note Trump said it is hard for Amazon to compete with Samsung when the former has to pay tariffs, forgetting his lies that China paid the tariffs.

When the liar lies so much, he cannot keep track of them. It makes his staff panic as well. And, it has consequences. The Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had to resign because he told the truth. And, his number two in command had to go as well, as she copied her boss and told the truth.

The Queen of Hearts president cannot tolerate someone disagreeing with him, especially when that person speaks the truth. Only the president can disagree with himself. After changing his tune, he will say he never said that or it is fake news he said that. He does not seem to care that he is on record saying such.

Sadly, his sycophants (let’s call them by the less flattering synonym “toadies”) are too scared to push back as the Queen will turn his base on them. So, the toadies go silent or offer milquetoast criticism of the latest regal faux pas. They do not want to risk the vindictiveness of the Queen.

Or, the toadies will do worse and actively berate people saying uncomfortable truths. Right now, his toadies are piling on the Mooch for his remarks. Further, the Queen’s attorney fixer Michael Cohen was berated as untruthful to obfuscate his testimony in front of a House committee. But, the irony is they were accusing him of lying to protect Trump, while they were admonishing him to protect Trump.

What should have been heeded from Cohen’s testimony are two clear messages. First, Cohen’s job was to bully and threaten people and entities who knew of Trump’s poor behavior into not releasing it. He said he wrote over 500 letters threatening institutions not to release any of Trump’s history they possessed.

Second, the words he opened with should be heeded. “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con artist and he is a cheat.” This man knows him better than many. Why did he say that? The reason these words are not heeded is an age old practice in Washington. If you denigrate the critic (i.e., cut off his head), then you need not pay any attention to what he said.

Yet, what Cohen said gibes with comments of others. Attorney Thomas Wells said about his former boss, “Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence.” Former economics advisor called his former boss a “prodigious liar.”

This is why each of us must push back when the president is untruthful, bullying or hateful in his actions and remarks. Showing Republican legislators there are consequences for their acquiescence and even toadiness to this person, is the only way to embolden them.