Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trumped Up: Is It Still A Lie If You Forgot What You Said?

David Leonhardt, fulminating in the New York Times just cannot let it go. He wants to preach to the choir about what a liar, liar pants-on-fire Donald Trump is.  I have to ask: To What End?  Is there anyone who voted against President Trump who does not already agree with this list?  Is there anyone who voted for President Trump who gives a good hot damn?

"He has lied about — among many other things — Obama’s birthplace, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud and his groping of women."

So, David, Get a grip:  When are you going to stop all this? When are you going to try to use these examples in a way which might help?

Let's get organized here:  Let's group these lies and examine which really matter and which do not and which ought to matter. Let's imagine we are about to launch Radio Free New Hampshire and we are planning our programming.  Let's organize these things into useful categories.  Let us Triage.

1. Lies which have no policy implications but simply reveal that Trump is not a serious man and you cannot take what he says seriously: 
           a/ Obamac's birthplace
           b/ John F. Kennedy's assassination by Marco Rubio's father  and the radical Cuban Costa Nostra
           c/ Groping of women: But then again Bill Clinton lied about sex. Everyone lies about sex.

2. Lies which suggest he views Muslims the way Bull Connor and George Wallace and Strom Thurman once viewed young Black males. 
         a/ Muslims were dancing on the rooftops after 9/11--he heard, or saw.
         b/ ISIS
         c/ Muslim immigrants
These lies are part of his fantasy world for which he actually tries to marshall some testimonials as a sort of trumped up--you should excuse the expression--evidence, case reports to bolster his general proposition that if one Muslim shoots a Christian, this is a war of the worlds.  But his ability to do Muslims harm is limited by the courts in a sane world, by Congress. (Of course look at Congress if you want any indication about how sane this world is right now.)
          This playground bully type of reaction actually thwarts his own effectiveness, e.g., if he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country, he could have simply said people coming from failed states cannot enter the country because there is no practical way of screening them in a state without a functioning government--so Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria could have been excluded. By trying to play the Muslim card, he tripped over his own feet.


3. Lies about Mexican immigrants: Using that one case of a Mexican rapist has been sufficient for some of the people all the time, but eventually, you can't fool most of the people all the time with this one.  He'll use it to "build the wall" which will be expensive but symbolic and mostly ineffective at preventing the flow of undocumented immigrants, who will simply go underground; some literally will tunnel under the wall. But since they will be hiding, he'll be able to claim victory in stopping the flow. 
This is where any self respecting opposition should be able to strip the emperor of his clothes.

4. Lies to say that Obama and the Democrats failed to govern well:  The murder rate and the unemployment rate increased under the Democrats.  Every insurgency needs to say those in power have failed.( Read our Declaration of Independence.)

There is legitimate objection to the claims for "full employment" because many people have stopped looking for work. What we need to know is who these people are, who've stopped looking. Are these the marginal workers who will only work at low skilled jobs when they are undemanding and well paying? Maybe we shouldn't be worried about those who have given up because they really aren't workers anyway.
As for the murder rates--those have got to be pretty hard numbers. Either the number of dead bodies in the morgues has risen or it has not. The remedy for this is to say so. It is likely it has risen in isolated spots, like Chicago, but overall life in the US may be safer than in many decades.  Testimonials about murders are emotionally wringing but eventually most citizens can see through this claim.  

5. NATO:  He's got a point--NATO nations have not spent the way we have or the way we would like them to spend and we can see that as they have become dependent and we've enabled them to do this. On the other hand, how much sense does his order to increase our own military spending make, if he is so exercised about NATO? Why should they spend more if we are going to spend more anyway? 
Also in this category is Russia. Fact is, Russia, Germany, the Koch Brothers a whole slew of nations and corporations tried to influence our election and they all had the same problem--all they could do was try to persuade. 

If you want to worry about something foreign that really matters: Look at Israel and Netanyahu.  Did he not try to influence our election and our Congress? 

6. Iraq War:  Who cares what Trump  thought about going to war in Iraq back when?  The fact is, he changes his mind so often even today he can always find some statement which suggested he opposed it, after he first supported it. Same is true about transgender bathroom use and punishing women who've had abortions. All this shows is he hasn't thought about these issues, doesn't care to, and has the attention span of a gnat.

7. Voter Fraud: Another expostulation which does not matter in the rust belt. Oh, that's just Donald mouthing off again.  Nobody actually believes he believes that himself.
This is one of those whoppers which should be shoved down the throats of the rust belt I-want-my-job-back voters. 

8. Donald will get your jobs back.
As Sarah Palin would say: How's that working for ya?

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