Unforced errors

In homage to our ever-professor and former tennis coach Hugh, the statistical term “unforced errors” is tracked during each tennis match. In essence, unforced errors are mistakes made by the player without much instigation from the other player. My guess is tennis pros detest this statistic more than any other.

Unforced errors are as good a description of the actions of the US President as can be found. I first thought of the term as it relates to his highly offensive idea of placing tariffs on our allies. The tariffs are poor form, but the bullying, lying to and lying about allies are far worse.

But, it is not just the tariffs. The US President claims the media is his worst enemy. That is not close to being true. The President’s worst enemy is the guy named Donald that stares back at him when he shaves. He cannot stop himself from lying and bullying.

If the news is good, he has to lie to make it better. If it is bad, he has to lie to make it good. If it is horrible, he changes the subject. It is all part in parcel with his sales schtick. It is why his measured rate of lying per Politifacts is 69%. In other words, for every three statements or tweets, two of them are untrue.

Just yesterday, he unnerved his staff by having an impromptu press conference. He was all over the place with statements and had to go back and amend several. I saw one of his sycophants in the Freedom Caucus say that is just the President being unpredictable. I strongly disagree – that is the President who does not care to know details and cannot keep up with his own statements. So, his answers to questions are a crap shoot.

An old friend used to say “Always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much.” If the President wants better coverage, he could begin with telling the truth. His lies would be reduced as he need not have to change his story. Or, as one insider said yesterday, “The President was confused earlier today…” Yet, he still has to answer for his actions.

Trump is gaslighting the public

Courtesy of our blogging friend Gronda, I was reading several tweets from Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Krugman. He called on the carpet the media for not condemning the US President for blaming his most recent tirade on the Canadian Prime Minister. In his tweets, Krugman used the term “gaslighting.”

This term set the bells off in my mind. For those not familiar with the term, it comes from the movie “Gaslight,” where a man who turns out to be the antagonist has been tricking the female homeowner to believe that she is crazy, as he tries to steal some rare jewels in her attic. To convince someone of something not real became known as “gaslighting.”

This term is so appropriate to define the modus operandi of the US President. He oversimplifies the cause of problems or invents nonexistent ones playing off people’s fears. He misinforms or disinforms to gaslight people into believing a simple solution is the answer.

The US is a consumer economy moreso than other places (we buy more stuff), which is why we run trade deficits, eg. Yet, he tells only part of the story because when investments and services are counted, we actually have a trade surplus with Canada. But, the President said….

Certain pockets of America have retrenched, but it is not only due immigration. In fact, it is mostly due to technology and companies searching for cheaper labor by moving plants oversees. We produce much much than we used to with much fewer people. Immigration is actually accretive to the economy making it larger. Should we be smarter about our immigration issues – of course – but let’s have reasonable conversation about what is wanted and needed. Let’s not gaslight people into demonizing others.

And, if you don’t like gaslighting, I have another term that defines the President – he is a spoiled brat.