A few more hoaxes

Recently, I wrote about “If everything is a hoax, what is real?” Yet, the person who claims everything critical against him is a hoax, is one of the biggest purveyors of hoaxes and fake news. Here are a couple of things to think about, both old and new:

– Trump says he started with a $1 million loan from his father. The real story is his father transferred over $400 million to his son before he died through a variety of means to escape estate taxes.

– Trump started his political persona on Fox by perpetuating a later refuted conspiracy that President Obama was not born in the US. After finally fessing up, he did what he often does and blamed Hillary Clinton.

– Trump said the India prime minister asked him to broker a peace deal between India and Pakistan over the territory of Kashmir announced while the Pakistan prime minister was visiting. Within the hour, the India prime minister said no such request was made. The White House was eerily silent after this unforced error.

– Trump has repeatedly said the Mueller investigation was a witch hunt, yet over 30 people were indicted and some have gone to jail. The report also did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, noted several places where the president lied and revealed an overall sloppy and inviting relationship with Russia. I have said the Russians did not need to collude, as the Trump campaign was easy pickings for use. With that said, the report noted if they dug deeper, they may have found more as files had been erased.

– Trump continues to say he did nothing wrong with the Ukraine, but the evidence is to the contrary. But, one key question to ask is if the call with the Ukraine president was “so perfect,” why did White House staff try to bury it?

There are so many more examples we could note, but that will get the conversation started. As an independent voter who has been a member of both parties, it matters not what party is in the White House – this behavior is not right and it certainly is not presidential.

PS – Interesting to note the Republican governor of Vermont has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts. This is no hoax or fake news. Now, why would he do that?

Memo to Democrat candidates – the president wants a mud fight

Dating back to the months following the incumbent president walking down the escalator to declare his candidacy, it has been very clear the president prefers a mud fight. Since he disdains reading and preparation, he knows the best was he can win is to sling mud. I want all candidates running for president to think of this comment.

Mud fights take full advantage of name-calling, labeling, and bumper sticker debate. As someone whose best skill is selling, Trump looks for props to sling mud with. Think Lyin’ Ted, Sleepy Jeb, Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, as easy examples. If Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, Trump will not just call him a socialist, he will call him a communist, which is not the same thing. In a mud fight, accuracy does not matter.

Trump is already tweeting away to paint his opposition in negative terms. Like most narcissists, he also projects his own shortcomings onto others. It is part of a narcissist’s defense mechanism. Call your opponent what could be raised about you to dilute its impact. If you ever want to know what Trump is guilty of, watch what he calls others.

So, my advice to the Democrat candidates and eventual presidential candidate, it is more than OK to be forceful with criticism of the president and his words and actions. It is hard not to. But, focus on the issues and underlying truths. We cannot have a president act in the way this one acts. We cannot extort countries for personal gain. We should not put children in cages and treat visitors to our country so poorly. We should not condemn the media or people who criticize the president. We need a president is truthful.

It amazes me the hold the president has over his followers. To me, his corrupt, deceitful and demeaning behavior is obvious. Two attorneys who worked with him have gone on public record to define Trump as untruthful or worse.

So, opposing candidates need to lean into Trump with obvious truths. Whether he is the nominee or not, the commercials run by Michael Bloomberg are excellent. He balances between his successes, his focus on key issues and disdain for how the president acts.

As I have shared with Senators and their staff, regardless of party, we cannot have a president who acts the way this one acts.

“Truth is not the goal”

After media pressure, Facebook closed down a fake news site in North Carolina. As reported in The Charlotte Observer in an article called “Facebook takes down NC Facebook page with fake news” by Zachary Eanes, after a few months of publishing fake news and garnering 50,000 followers, the site was closed. A person contacted by the reporter said the following in response:

“‘Truth is not the goal’ behind the stories shared. ‘Getting Trump reelected is the ultimate goal.'”

That line is worth rereading. In essence, the truth does not matter. I have been echoing the premise the Republican party can no longer claim to be the “law and order” party as too many of its leaders have aided and abetted the corrupt and deceitful actions of the president. And, it can no longer claim to be a party of truth, the decline in truthfulness having started long ago, but made worse by the deceitful actions and words of the president.

It should be noted the site included a number of articles pushed by Russian disinformation sources. This is on top of a radio station in Iowa, which appears legitimate, but is using the Russian sputnik radio feeds for sources of disinformation. There is a reason Trump and Russia want you to believe Ukraine did all the election meddling. Trump wants Russia’s help again.

Let me be brutally frank. The biggest purveyor of fake news is the guy who says those words the most. His name is Donald Trump. Taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand.

Being candid on obvious concerns

Last night, “60 Minutes” did a piece on the continuing forest fires in Australia. The risk has heightened due to climate change on this very hot and dry continent.

One of those whose home has been destroyed is incredulous by the lack of planning and execution by the prime minister and government. She said our country is on fire and the risk will continue and they cannot focus on that? Another person joined others and refused to shake the prime minister’s hand saying “you’re an idiot, mate.”

Not to be outdone, former conservative PM Malcolm Turnbull noted climate change is making the Australian forest fires worse. He referred to climate change naysayers in his own party as “idiotic.”

Their candor is needed. In the US, Republican lawmakers are now pushing the planting of a million trees. This is a good start, especially after twenty years of varying degrees of climate change denial, but addresses only one side of the issue. We need to also stop putting so much carbon and methane into the atmosphere as well as taking carbon out of the air with more trees (and other measures).

I am not advocating the use of derogatory terms like idiot or idiotic, but in the case of the current Australian PM, Scott Morrison, many would not shake his hand after he took a planned vacation to Hawaii while the fires were raging back home. That was not the wisest of moves.

Don’t believe your eyes

Yesterday, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin testified in front of Congress that the tax cut of December, 2017 would pay for itself before ten years. Really?

This is after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the tax cut would increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion before it was signed.

This is after we have witnessed the deficit increasing over previous projections the past two fiscal years.

This is after the president said the tax cut would increase GDP growth to 4%. It rose from 2.3% in 2017 to 2.9% in 2018, but softened to 2.1% in 2019.

This is after previous studies that said no tax cut has ever paid for itself. In fact, it is quite nervy to say it would – think of that statement. “It will pay for itself.”

It takes even more nerve to sit in front of Congress and say that it still will, now that the sugar rush has died off. Companies tended to buy back shares with the tax gain rather than invest the gain.

In short, the tax cut borrowed from our future to make a pretty good economy a little better for a little while. For Mnuchin to follow his boss’ lead and ignore facts is troubling. We have a debt and deficit problem that is being downplayed. To solve a problem, it requires admitting we have one.

Forget the original Jesus, follow the new savior

It saddens me the US president is the most corrupt and untruthful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon. It further saddens me that some Christian leaders are whitewashing his indecency saying he is God ordained. Really?

At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, the US president followed a speaker who rightfully shared the teachings of Jesus about loving your enemies. He was followed by the US president, who forewarned the first speaker that he might not like what the president was about to say.

The president then proceeded to trash and ridicule all of his critics. With disdain, he took aim at Senator Mitt Romney denigrating his use of a faith to come to a conclusion the president did wrong. He then ridiculed Speaker Nancy Pelosi for saying she would pray for the president.

Conservative author and pundit David Brooks has described the president as lacking empathy and common decency. When we need someone to galvanize Americans or lament over a tragedy, he is not up to the task. He has followed the Machiavelian tactics of dividing and conquering. Even at a prayer conference.

I am not alone in saying the president is a threat to our democracy, running the country in a regal fashion. Yet, he is also a threat to the teachings of Jesus that Christians adhere to.

What may have been even more sad than a corrupt and indecent person trashing and ridiculing his enemies are two things. First, Mitt Romney delivered a heartfelt speech about voting his conscience following his religious upbringing. Second, after the president trashed Romney, people at the prayer conference cheered.

Jesus said to treat people like you want to be treated. The new savior said to make people fear you and destroy your critics.

Don’t rankle the new king

In a speech in Charlotte on Friday, the new king of America acknowledged the presence of junior Republican Senator Thom Tillis. While Tillis voted for acquittal, he got a lot of GOP flak for criticizing the new king for closing the government last year. He quickly fell in line.

Yet, what made his subservient role telling is what the new king said Friday according to The Charlotte Observer. He acknowledged, “(Tillis) as a great friend except for a couple of minor disagreements. Of course, I won’t put up with it for long, Thom Tillis.”

The new king put Tillis in a corner telling him not to slight the king. It should be noted this was the same day the new king fired two witnesses (Alex Vindeman and Gordon Sondland) who told the truth under oath at the risk of knowing this reckoning would come. For good measure, the new king fired Vindeman’s brother. This is on the heels of Marie Yovanovitch deciding to retire after she became persona non grata by standing up to the king’s corruption and telling the truth.

The GOP led Senate opened Pandora’s Box and annointed the new king. My guess is many knew better, but had to acquiesce to a person who one Republican said keeps a list of those who criticize him in word or deed.

The evidence of Trump’s Ukraine corruptive behavior is overwhelming. By choosing to look the other way, the GOP has far damaged its party and country. The egregious vindictive actions of just this week, are only the first of many.