Trump’s Trouble with the Truth

Although occasionally blurting out inconvenient truths, President Trump has established an early record of remarkable falsehoods, raising doubts about his grasp of reality, says Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

During the presidential campaign, I often referred to Donald Trump as a congenital liar, but it is possible that in doing so I made a “category mistake.” By definition liars, even chronic ones, belong to a category of people who know that there is truth from which their lies deviate. I am not sure that accurately describes President Trump’s state of mind. Perhaps a more accurate way of describing Trump’s outlook is that it presents as a “grandiose delusional disorder.”

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

People with this sort of disorder seem not to be able to discern what is real from what they want to be real. Their beliefs do not have to be bizarre but can appear as persistent misrepresentations that are either false or gross exaggerations. One sort of delusional disorder is called “grandiose.” Here the person has “an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity.” Trump seems to fit this description.

Here are a few of Trump’s misrepresentations and exaggerations that appear to underpin his alternate reality.

— According to the President, the nation was in deep trouble when he took over. He insists that he inherited “a mess.” No one challenged this description, although it is plainly an exaggeration. In truth the economy (including job production and employment rates) under his predecessor was doing well and no new foreign wars had been launched by Washington. Civil rights were being extended to more and more minority groups. Where there was dissension it was over such things as police violence (which Trump seems not to see as a problem).

To tackle this exaggerated “mess” Trump claims to have put together a “well-oiled machine.” This is a misrepresentation. By all evidence his early administration is disorganized, amateurish and plagued by internal dissension. When the situation was reported in the press, Trump got very angry at this challenge to his preferred view of reality and declared that the media is the “enemy of the American people.”

— President Trump claims that a key to the safety of the nation is the imposition of his immigration ban blocking immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations. But the statistical evidence showing a lack of violence on American soil by such immigrants makes Trump’s claim insupportable. Just so his grossly exaggerated assertion that immigrants generally hurt the economy by taking jobs away from citizens.

— He (along with that other deluded leader Benjamin Netanyahu) describes Iran as the greatest terror state in the world, even though, in practice, Iran has been a discreet ally of the U.S. in the “war on terror.”

— And, of course, Trump continues to insist on his overwhelming popularity, as exemplified by claims for his Electoral College numbers and an alleged record inauguration attendance, despite the fact that each claim can easily be shown to be a misrepresentation of reality. Trump’s real approval rate now hovers around 40 percent, lower than every other post-World War II president at this point in their term.

To these instances of misrepresentation and exaggeration can be added other evidence, such as the fact that just about all contrary views appearing in the media are now described by Trump as “fake news.” In his own opinion, nothing he says or does is ever wrong or mistaken. If something does go wrong it is because some other person or group has maliciously sabotaged his efforts, while twisting the truth he knows to exist into a maligning falsehood. This is why he can’t work with anyone who has previously criticized him or who is likely to do so to his face.

Humbug or Worse

There is another way to understand what Trump is doing. This is explained in a 2005 book by Harry Frankfurt entitled On Bullshit. Actually, an older and less crude way of describing this is “humbug.” Whatever you call it, this way of relating to the world is, according to Frankfurt, worse than lying because it is “indifferent to the truth.”

Steve Bannon, White House strategist for President Donald Trump. (Photo from YouTube)

Those who consistently engage in bullshit “quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant.You do this enough and you lose your capacity to tell what is true and what isn’t. Frankfurt believes that Trump does often lie, but even more often he just bullshits, and he really cares little about what is actually true. Perhaps he has reached the stage where truth is just whatever comes out of his mouth.

How are we to understand the millions of Americans who respond to Donald Trump with uncritical enthusiasm – as if these large numbers are following a pied piper into a promised world. I think we have to see them as an archaic subset of any population. In the U.S. case, this is a largely white American subgroup that has been obsessively angry since the 1960s over both economic and cultural changes.

In other words, the progressive political and social reality that most Americans have created beginning with the Civil Rights movement is anathema to them. For these discontented people, the changes happening around them appeared unstoppable until now. However, Trump’s language, his attack on the political system per se, his choice of targets such as immigrants, have given voice and direction to the frustrations of this subgroup. Trump’s alternate reality is one that they are comfortable with. This situation is not unique to the U.S., nor is it unique to our historical period.

Even though there is no eliminating such a class of malcontents entirely, it is to be emphasized that, despite the publicity given emotional Trump rallies and the Tea Party movement, Trump devotees are a minority of the national population. If that is the case, how is it that Donald Trump occupies the White House? We can answer this question by accounting for the outlook of the rest of the adult U.S. population.

American Disaffection

First, it is important to understand that a large percentage of American adults (perhaps 40 percent) don’t vote. In my opinion, most of them are just not interested in politics. It is not an important part of their local reality. Thus, they do not show an interest in, much less an understanding of, politically important issues beyond their own immediate locale. This accounts for the chronic low turnout for American elections both national and regional. The default position of this very large number of citizens is one of political passivity.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking to one of his large crowds of supporters. (Photo credit: Sanders campaign)

Second, during the past campaign season, a large number of traditionally Democratic Party voters became disaffected. The party was essentially split by the Bernie Sanders challenge. When that proved of no avail against an entrenched leadership mindset more beholden to special interests then to the needs of the ordinary citizen, the party lost millions of votes. Some of these defectors probably became closet Trump supporters. Others voted for third-party candidates or simply stayed home on Election Day.

You put all of this together with other voting variables such as gerrymandered voting districts, the usual barriers to minority group voting, and the distinct lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton as a candidate, and the mystery of Trump’s victory gets less mysterious.

Actually, Donald Trump’s delusional worldview, and the reinforcing support given to it by his enthusiastic followers, does not prevent him from occasionally coming out with accurate observations. Unfortunately, these occur almost spontaneously, in what appears to spur-of-the-moment situations.

For instance, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly aired just before the Super Bowl, Trump responded to the assertion that Vladimir Putin was “a killer” by saying, “we’ve [the U.S.] got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”  This complemented his on-again – off-again desire to reach an accommodation with Moscow. Then, during Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington, Trump questioned the continuing viability of the two-state solution (of course, without contextualizing the statement by pointing a finger at Israeli policies).

Yet these relatively rare public displays of reality-based insight are of little reassurance to the rest of us just because they are intermittent and apparently not characteristic of any disciplined analytical way of thinking. So, we are still left with guy who, for most of his waking hours, lives in his own world of “humbug.”

So what can we expect from this delusional, morally suspect personality who now occupies the White House? My guess is that as things get more contentious, Trump will retreat from the policy business of governing. He will turn that over (if he hasn’t already) to his accomplices: chief strategist Stephen Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence. Having done so he will devote more and more time to his so-called reelection campaign where he can vent his spleen amongst the adoring crowds of supporters who serve, collectively, as a stimulus for the man’s immense ego.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism. He blogs at www.tothepointanalyses.com.

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52 comments for “Trump’s Trouble with the Truth

  1. Linda Doucett
    February 26, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    The same can be said about Obama’s lies… or maybe he believed himself and was delusional all along. … no one questioned his sanity. Politicians lie. All of them.

    • ADL
      February 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      You mean like when BHO lied about where he was born?

      False equivalency.

    • Peter Loeb
      February 28, 2017 at 7:46 am

      UNDERSTANDING 21RST CENTURY POLITICAL ECONOMY

      Lowell Davidson fails to comprehend the dynamic changes in
      the way the economy functions. Suddenly, as Linda Doucet
      incisively points out in her comment, both Trump’s and
      Obama’s manipulation of economic realities to benefit
      the few are rooted in the misconceptions of these
      developments.

      Jack Rasmus documents this in his several works,
      recently SYSTEMIC FRAGILITY IN THE GLOBAL
      ECONOMY (2017).

      How much more facile and romantically iullusionary it is
      to idolize Democratic regimes where people of color
      in the USA can be legally shot on the street, to
      marvel at the great “strides” in social justice in the
      US where people of color are contained in ghettos
      (they don’t all go to Harvard!), where foreign nations
      are subjects of US-sponsored aggression, where Israel
      murders Palestinians with American-made weaponry
      and the Obama Administration provided more military
      support than any previous Administration in history…

      It was, indeed, a wonderful, wonderful world!

      For the very few.

      With thanks to Linda Doucett,

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  2. Joe J Tedesky
    February 26, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Professor Davidson you best described the Trumpmania the way I perceive it.

  3. Bill Bodden
    February 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    On the other hand, Trump’s Academy Award performance for political charlatan is revealed in his claim to be a man of “the people” giving them the myth-filled story line they want to believe. Very likely his campaign operatives incorporated a version of Mencken’s view of the people: “No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

    • backwardsevolution
      February 26, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      H.L. Mencken on Jews:

      “The Jews could be put down very plausibly as the most unpleasant race ever heard of. As commonly encountered, they lack many of the qualities that mark the civilized man: courage, dignity, incorruptibility, ease, confidence. They have vanity without pride, voluptuousness without taste, and learning without wisdom. Their fortitude, such as it is, is wasted upon puerile objects, and their charity is mainly a form of display.”

      H.L. Mencken on Blacks:

      “I admit freely enough that, by careful breeding, supervision of environment and education, extending over many generations, it might be possible to make an appreciable improvement in the stock of the American Negro, for example, but I must maintain that this enterprise would be a ridiculous waste of energy, for there is a high-caste white stock ready at hand, and it is inconceivable that the Negro stock, however carefully it might be nurtured, could ever even remotely approach it. The educated Negro of today is a failure, not because he meets insuperable difficulties in life, but because he is a Negro. He is, in brief, a low-caste man, to the manner born, and he will remain inert and inefficient until fifty generations of him have lived in civilization. And even then, the superior white race will be fifty generations ahead of him.”

      I doubt Trump’s campaign operatives followed any of Mencken’s advice because I don’t believe that Trump views the average man as being unintelligent. He traveled the country, he listened to citizens, he witnessed the boarded-up factories, he saw the fear in their eyes as they worried about their jobs and their children.

      Trump realized that jobs were moved offshore so that corporate profits, which used to be shared by workers, could be funneled into the hands of the corporate elite. These corporations used cheap offshore labor and no environmental controls, shipped their goods back into the U.S. markets, and then took their profits and hid them in offshore tax havens. I believe it finally dawned on Trump (maybe for the first time) that you cannot even begin to have a country when this is occurring.

      The people are not stupid. They voted for the person who said he would help them, who would try to bring back jobs, who would try to bring peace.

  4. February 26, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    In January of 2009 the clouds parted and the globe was bathed in sunshine when the first African America President stepped into the White House. He was going to change it all, close the unjust detention center GITMO, treat multilaterally with other nations, and put an end to wars of aggression. Those who voted for Obama in 2008 expecting change were disillusioned, and those who voted for Trump expecting change will be disappointed as well.

    • Realist
      February 27, 2017 at 12:42 am

      Probably so. I can’t say that there has been one yet in all my years who did not disappoint. But, it should remain the prerogative of the people who voted him in to vote him out in four years time. It shouldn’t be some unholy alliance of party apparatchiks, deep state drones, intelligence spooks, neocon strategists, perfumed pashas from Wall Street or Rodeo Drive and media propagandists who buy themselves a Congress and then place their orders with it. There is no provision in the constitution that we get to switch out presidents in mid-term because certain special interest groups are unhappy with their cut of the graft, corruption and clout. Let the MIC and the rest of the parasites primary Trump, Pence or whomever, but make them wait until the scheduled campaign in 2020.

  5. Herman
    February 26, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Mr. Davidson doesn’t like Trump although he didn’t say so directly. Based on his description of Trump voters, one can guess he nodded in agreement when Hillary spoke of those deplorables. When Trump reaches the level of Bush or Iraq and Obama on Syria, Ukraine and Libya, or TPP, then we can start worrying about his Trump’s lies. As of now, he’s just kind of an odd duck spouting harmless “untruths.” But then he hasn’t been President for very long.

    Like all of us who show passion in what they write Davidson tends to go over the top about who the deplorables really are but his scattergun approach finds a few pellet reaching the right targets. I am sure he recognizes there were a few deplorables in the Hillary camp, but for different reasons.

    • Bart in Virginia
      February 26, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      It isn’t so much about Trump reaching level of the last two presidents, it’s that the House will cut taxes for the wealthy and pay for it by shredding the safety nut. As one wag said, Ryan will come into the homes of the poor and empty their refrigerators.

      Just recently it was estimated that both building the wall and expelling several millions of Latinos will cost well into the hundreds of billions. Guess whose food stamps, health care, EITC, etc., and several Federal agencies not named the Pentagon will pay for that.

      And don’t you love it that we have moved beyond creating enemies in the ME by insulting the 70 year old childrens’ author from OZ, the French Holocaust expert, and the Swedes. More places to call ourselves Canadians when travelling.

  6. Wm. Boyce
    February 26, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    “People with this sort of disorder seem not to be able to discern what is real from what they want to be real. Their beliefs do not have to be bizarre but can appear as persistent misrepresentations that are either false or gross exaggerations. One sort of delusional disorder is called “grandiose.” Here the person has “an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity.” Trump seems to fit this description.”

    There are synonyms for this condition: “Unhinged from reality,” “Psychopath.” Completely Nuts,” Whack Job.”

  7. Kalen
    February 26, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Another meaningless tautology. Oligarch president have a problem grasping reality of vast majority of American people. Duh.. he is an oligarch and as oligarchic political stooges like Obama they mistake their psychotic delusions with reality of most of us.

    Lying and by that shameless influence peddling to manipulate and confuse people is a number one skill required to be hired by oligarchs as politician so what do we expect. The negative selection is at work and hence we are getting some political weasels, puny little minded people, lowlifes making carrier on theft, intimidation and murder in fact breaking ten commandments daily calling it personal achievements.

    We must get rid of stench of decomposing American body politics funded by oligarchy.
    When we get a president whose previous job was working in factory for $50k you can bet he will be grounded in reality our reality.

  8. February 26, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Article worth reading below at link below:
    ——————————————————————–
    Donald Trump and the Revolt of the Unseen
    He won because he took the time to listen to les Deplorables.
    By C. BRADLEY THOMPSON • February 23, 2017

    For better or worse, November 8, 2016, will go down in American history as a watershed election. Donald J. Trump’s victory represents a profound realignment in American politics. This much seems certain: the ancien régime is dead.

    Our challenge is not to praise Trump’s virtues or to condemn his vices, but to understand why tens of millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump—the unlikeliest of candidates—to become the president of the United States….

    What can’t go on forever, won’t. One day, about two years ago, the Forgotten Man, the faceless American, finally awoke from his slumbers. He looked around and saw the devastation, and he knew the promise of American life was no longer open to him. And so he screamed, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” The cry went unheard by the Ruling Elite. One man did hear it, however. That man was, of course, Donald J. Trump….

    [read much more at link below]

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/donald-trump-and-the-revolt-of-the-unseen/

    • Zachary Smith
      February 26, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Our challenge is not to praise Trump’s virtues or to condemn his vices, but to understand why tens of millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump—the unlikeliest of candidates—to become the president of the United States….

      This answer to this question is that Donald Trump is President because his opponent was Hillary Clinton.

      Trump is an older version of Chelsea Clinton: born with a silver spoon in his mouth and utterly clueless about the Real World outside of the Billionaire class.

      Being Not-As-Bad-As-Hillary is a good thing, but greatly overrated in terms of him having a voter-gifted right to shake up the US so as to make the SuperRich even happier..

      • Kalen
        February 26, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        It is very disconcerting how most of the people and of course MSM still do not understand what happened in November and continue ignoring the fact that there was only one “candidate” in those so-called rigged elections namely Hillary and she lost to a placeholder ticket named “Hell No, not another neocon, neolib Clinton president” and if there was an option on the ballot to vote “none of the above” it would have won handsomely spurning destruction of this abhorrent regime and would vindicate those 135 millions of US citizen, a democratic majority, who did right thing, a moral thing and refused to be pawns in the political game of oligarchy.

        By playing discredited dead end identity politics card, calling “deplorables” as White Working Class (WWC), dying Dems party suggests there is a fascist shift in public opinion among poor working class who voted for Trump and so they must be courted and enticed by the (true) Left and prevent them from acting against their own interests i.e supporting Trump the Oligarch.

        They got it obviously wrong, WWC in vast majority did not really vote for Trump, these are Street’s delusions. As Hitler was not a candidate of German working people in 1930-33, it was KPD that represented them, and Hitler (after liberals won election 1932) was designated to form a government as a lesser evil than Ernst Thälmann portrayed by propaganda as future coup leader and a fake communist threat, by aristocratic, liberal and Christian parties joining together.

        Hitler “won” working class of Germany by jailing or killing the KPD leadership and leftist unions and other leftist parties leadership in early 1933 under Marshall law and later by his massive job programs and returning German national dignity destroyed after WWI by blaming global Jewish conspiracy against Germany for nothing but German elite massive failures of governance and massive national/private debt.

        And on the top of that is this Orwellian aura of forgetting the past so new narratives can be concocted out of thin air, not even to guide working people within the maze of political deceit but to guide utterly discredited s Leftist intellectual elite, how to jump back on the oligarch gravy train after being stuck since November on a station of irrelevance as failed influence peddlers.

        Working people must first reject identity politics, a division politics such as “secular progressive/liberal” vs. “Christian/nationalist conservative”, a false dichotomy, which is nothing, but a tool of political control exerted by oligarchic ruling elite.

    • D5-5
      February 26, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      This American Conservative article makes sense on Trump’s supporters but it seems to me we need to dig further, and further than this commentary on Trump’s limitations by Lawrence Davidson. The complexity of these two sides cannot be simplified to just “deplorables” vs. “elitists” or to con man as usual. Whatever Trump is he’s not done yet, and the prospect of his being impeached is remote. He may be incompetent but we’re not yet sure if he is sincere within that incompetence and, possibly, capable of doing something worthwhile. There is also the problem of his replacement. But more significant, and beyond Trump (I read today HRC will run for president in 2020), is dealing with the mess resulting from all these years of globalization and neo-con politics. Against a rising nationalism as with Brexit and similar sentiments, not just in the US, and with widespread resentment of oligarchism, we have serious differences that have led in to confusion over human concerns such as refugee problems and DAPL defenses, where people are divided into competing hatreds and rancor, and the worst of oversimplified demonizing of each other. It may be satisfying to carry and express a lot of hatred and name-calling, but it’s not what we need in moments of high hysteria and itching fingers toward the second amendment. Where do we stand together, what commonalities, whether a Trump supporter or a Trump oppositionist? The American Conservative piece indicates why there is so much disdain between the deplorables vs. elitist factions, but both of these are misnamed. If we get down to what at base they stand for we might be able to find common ground on which to build a new vision, as with regulating big wealth to start with, along with giving up regime change wars, and working to enhance human rights and opportunities along with patience for diversity. But right now, with emotions running the show, plus all the deliberately induced hysteria, we’re in for a long haul toward some sanity. Bashing Trump may be fun, and feel good, and on the other hand bashing the “liberals” and “the queers” the same, but it’s more like infants squabbling than intelligent adults trying to reason. Finally, and related to my rant here, here’s an interesting piece on the “two state” problem we’re up against:

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-25/two-state-solution-west

  9. Zim
    February 26, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I have a little bit of trouble with this assertion: “In truth the economy (including job production and employment rates) under his predecessor was doing well and no new foreign wars had been launched by Washington”, but otherwise yes, Trump suffers from acute delusions of grandeur.

    • John
      February 27, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Agreed. Unemployment rates, when they exclude the long term unemployed as well as youth entering the job market but unable to find jobs, is a pretty useless metric. As far as “no new foreifn wars”, I think Libya, Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere kind of show the silliness of this claim.

      • LarcoMarco
        February 27, 2017 at 4:06 pm

        Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics, plus a profusion of McWalmart jobs.

  10. Zachary Smith
    February 26, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I’d like to paraphrase the title as “Our Trouble with Trump’s Truth”.

    Donald Trump seems to be doing something highly unusual for elected presidents, and that’s his making a real attempt to do what he promised he was going to do. Unfortunately, although much of the stuff he promised was admirable, some of it simply isn’t.

    That freaking Wall with Mexico is just stupid beyond all words, but appears to be proceeding despite it being worse than useless.

    And then there was his promise to resume torture. That hasn’t happened quite yet, but it’s definitely moving forward. From the Invictus site is this title to put into a Google search:

    “Trump Reveals Details of His CIA Torture Program: Isolation, Sleep Deprivation, Shackling, and Slow Starvation”

    Next is this from Chris Floyd’s Empire Burlesque:

    “The Scum Also Rises: Obama-Protected Torturers Back on Top”

    That CIA torturer, mocker and destroyer of evidence has just been named Deputy Director of the CIA. Her name is Gina Haspel. The whole story is told, in damning detail, by ProPublica here.

    At any time in the previous eight years, she could have and should have been prosecuted. But we were told by Obama that we shouldn’t prosecute CIA torturers and lawbreakers; we should “look forward, not backward.” Well, here we are, in the “forward” time, and what do we see? Lawbreaking torturers formally enthroned in the top ranks of the intelligence “community.” What horrors await us now, with an avid, mocking torturer at the center of power under a president who says he loves torture even if it “doesn’t work,” because “they deserve it anyway”?

    I certainly don’t want to cast any aspersions on the beloved former president, who was so cool and rational and reasonable and moral and good and all, but I do think we might possibly have been better off had he actually faithfully executed the laws of the United States as he swore to do, and rooted out the torturers and lawbreakers who have now, like fetid scum, risen back to the top.

    Obama was a smooth-talking but lawless oath-breaker who didn’t give a damn about anybody except for himself. He let Bush’s torturers off the hook, and now those vermin are bobbing back to the surface, thanks to Trump’s clueless activities.

    I made a big mistake during the impeachment of Bill Clinton in that I opposed the proceedings. I won’t make that mistake again if Trump really does start torturing people. If he does, and even if the impeachment charge is jaywalking, I’m going to support his ouster. Even if the cost of doing so is President Mike Pence.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Zachary Smith – “That freaking Wall with Mexico is just stupid beyond all words, but appears to be proceeding despite it being worse than useless.” It might be a stupid idea, but it looks like it was started by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and then continued to get built during Obama’s presidency.

      “Don’t like border walls built to keep out Mexican immigrants? Then why didn’t you push Obama to tear down the extensive walls that already exist on the U.S. southern border – walls that have channeled untold thousands of desperate migrants into hazardous and often fatal desert treks? (As Tod Miller reported on TomDipatch and AlterNet last August, “one of the greatest ‘secrets’ of the 2016 election campaign [though it should be common knowledge] is that the border wall already exists. It has for years and the fingerprints all over it aren’t Donald Trump’s but the Clintons’, both Bill’s and Hillary’s.” The neoliberal Democrat Bill Clinton and his Republican allies in Congress initiated southern border wall construction in 1994 to contain migration sparked by their North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which displaced millions of Mexican farmers with federally subsidized U.S. agricultural exports. U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton voted along with Republicans for the 2006 Safe Fence Act. Many hundreds of miles of border wall have gone up since then, with construction continuing through the Obama years).”

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/liberal-hypocrisy-late-shaming-and-russia-blaming-in-the-age-of-trump/

      Why is what Trump is doing with the wall not prefaced with these important facts? Is it because when Trump does it, it’s bad, but it’s okay when it’s done by the likes of Clinton or Obama?

  11. Dawgzy
    February 26, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Hi. The most useful concept that I’ve come across when dealing with DT’s lying is Harry Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit.”

    From Wikipedia: “The liar cares about the truth and attempts to hide it; the bullshitter doesn’t care if what they say is true or false, but rather only cares whether or not their listener is persuaded.” During the campaign DT found that his job was mainly to tell people what they wanted to hear, and he did so in glibly, without regard for “the truth.”

    Now that he’s POTUS, one would think that he might strategically switch modes,and he has to a degree, but he remains just a natural-born BS artist. He can’t do otherwise.

    Here’s a link to PDF of Frankfurt’s paper: https://www.stoa.org.uk/topics/bullshit/pdf/on-bullshit.pdf

  12. Rock
    February 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Lawrence Davidson

    Trump’s Trouble with the Truth

    “In truth the economy (including job production and employment rates) under his predecessor was doing well and no new foreign wars had been launched by
    Washington.”

    Who is lying Professor Davidson?

    • LarcoMarco
      February 27, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics, plus a profusion of McWalmart jobs.

  13. Rudolph
    February 26, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    “President Trump has established an early record of remarkable falsehoods, raising doubts about his grasp of reality, says Lawrence Davidson”

    Just to say, after reading appreciations from the author,
    that this president is new, has no politics background (I want to say no really influence on old politics critical subjects, from the past).
    Certainly a flamboyant and buldozer character, certainly not wise [as we can see], but …

    Not [yet??] a mass destroyer like former presidents, No heritage that can be analysed … hardly, he’s just beginning the job and, at the contrary from older presidents, must deal with sabotage from large parts of bureaucrats witch are a large part of the so called “deepstate”.

    So, with a collection of presidents making the world as we know, always for the worst (in the other case we will be aware of that..),

    Former presidents, and especially Obama, making an abyssal debt (9000 bl) especially with wars (and just think that the amount is the “official” amount).

    Former presidents making and saying more lies than we ever heard, for their purposes and certainly for more powerfull masters.
    (all lies that can be easily checked for a normal brain, with normal curiosity).

    So, so, so .. I can continue like that, but let me smile when I read that sentence on Trump “trouble with the Truth”.
    After looking on former guys that made that terrible and uncomprehensible mess on the country and the world, acting like they acting…

    …And I’m not a supporter of anyone, just a sad spectator…

    Best wishes,

    Rudolph (sorry again for my bad english..)

  14. backwardsevolution
    February 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Saw this comment that I thought portrayed the truth re Trump and the media:

    “Donald Trump has been the victim of the worst media coverage that anyone has ever experienced. I don’t believe there has ever been a smear campaign in history that has been as bad as the one that the mainstream media, almost as an entire class, have leveled at Donald Trump – and he beat them.”

    Can you just imagine what would have happened had the media attacked Obama, Bush or Clinton this way? And why didn’t they get attacked? Oh, yeah, because it was known beforehand that they were going to do as they were told. They were players, mere puppets taking orders from above. Trump was the last person the elite would have wanted for president, too much his own person, and so the media, the intelligence community and both sides of the aisle are vilifying and denouncing him, outright lying at times, telling half-truths or omitting important facts. As Glenn Greenwald said:

    “That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that.

    Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all.

    And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.”

  15. backwardsevolution
    February 26, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Mr. Lawrence Davidson, I disagree with almost everything you said.

    – most of the news IS fake news. Anyone who can read and discern truth from bullsh*t can see that. It is why Robert Parry started his own site and what he spends his time writing about.

    – the nation IS in deep trouble and, yes, Trump did inherit a mess. Ask any economist who isn’t bought-and-paid-for and they’ll tell you. Millions on food stamps, millions employed in part-time, go-nowhere service jobs, unbelievable government debt.

    – the Muslim immigration ban IS prudent in that these countries have no functioning government from which to vet

    – Obama deported 2.4 million illegals between 2009 and 2014. Who knew? Where were the protests?

    – Bill Clinton started the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Obama continued it (see my post above). Where were the protests?

    I think one of the best articles I’ve seen yet on why the Democrats are in deep trouble is the one I posted above by Paul Street, who doesn’t play favorites, but who actually tells the TRUTH.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/liberal-hypocrisy-late-shaming-and-russia-blaming-in-the-age-of-trump/

  16. Realist
    February 26, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Valiant propaganda piece for the unhinged Dems and their newfound Deep State allies. It’s just a partisan rant with no connection to reality. (Aren’t you all happy to learn how Obama started no new wars and had the economy spinning like a top? Feel free to go out and finally buy a new car to replace your old jalopy–it will only cost the entire college fund for your first born.) This author is even more deluded than the Trump image that he so viscerally despises, and this is not the first time that his regurgitations have blemished this web site with unhelpful bile. But, I suppose it’s good to be made aware of the full spectrum of political dysfunction in this country.

    It was obvious to everyone, even most of his supporters, that Trump is unschooled and extremely naive about politics and foreign relations; moreover, he is unfocussed, inarticulate, erratic, biased, simplistic, greedy, crass, pompous and a whole lot of other things that will make him, without appropriate direction, just as poor a national leader as was George W. Bush and Barrack Obama. And, as someone above said, the main reason he won was because enough voters rejected Hillary’s warmongering and duplicitous economic bullshitting, to say nothing of her off putting personality and ruthless intrigue within the DNC. They figured that maybe, by electing him, they wouldn’t lose their lives in a nuclear war–at least not right away–and maybe something novel could be done to reignite the economy because more “free trade” agreements was already a proven loser. And, sure, some voted their prejudices, but that’s not what politically transformed the Rust Belt into Dixie.

    As Scott Adams explained, fear is the biggest motivator in the biological world. Fear of losing their income or their very lives in a nuclear Armageddon under Hillary caused voters to choose Trump who was merely cast as a racist, misogynist and some nonsensical and specious “Puppet of Putin” by Ms. Clinton. She had started wars already and promised more, he did not and promised to prevent them. She was associated with failed government economics, he offered consolation (he “felt our pain”–how’s that for turnabout?) and a promise of something “new.” She was way more scary than he, hence she lost. It was the pols and the polls (and Mr. Davidson) that were mistaken, not the voters. (Professor Davidson and I probably agree on the evils of neoliberal economic policies, but, after Bernie was stiff-armed by Hillary and the DNC, that was not the hill upon which this campaign was fought and lost.)

    All that said about Trump’s character, motives and experience (in government, as a business executive he has a track record of high achievement), I cannot concur with the establishment and its media tools that the proper remedy is to smear the man and remove him forcibly from office one way or another. These damned spooks they are using as hatchet men operate in the dark, from public view and you’ll never conceive of how many lies they force feed you through the media before breakfast. They have yet to produce an iota of evidence in support of their many accusations against him. Are they high priests whose words we should take on faith alone? Where are the usual party insiders and deep state animals who would normally hand hold such an ingenue to political life, like they obviously did with George W. Bush who probably couldn’t find the men’s room in the White House without a personal guide? Could it be that Trump is such a babe in the woods that even his party insiders see more personal opportunity in dragging him down than coming to the rescue? Or does personal vendetta by the establishment losers outweigh what’s best for the country? By no means is Hillary the only harpy circling the White House.

    I think Trump, though unpolished, is smart enough to appreciate it if he were genuinely being helped. But he isn’t. He is being sabotaged by everyone in sight. Why? Probably because he is the first true outsider to have been elected to the office ever, and the insiders never want that to happen again. Sure, the names of some plausible hand-holders to Trump will cause the blood of most progressives, who themselves sold out and embraced neocon and neoliberal policies under Obama, to run cold. But that’s a consequence of selling out and mindlessly supporting Hillary before, during and far after the election. This was not the first transition of power between the parties, and not the first time an overwhelming favorite had lost. (Hillary was a year old when “President Dewey” somehow stumbled at the finish line.) Deal with it short of an insurrection.

    We survived the first Cold War and even achieved detente with Russia following the advice of far right ideologues like Pat Buchanan and Henry Kissinger. Surely there are such folks still around, obviating the necessity of a traumatic forced regime change within our own borders. Surely the Republican establishment does not have to succumb to taking malevolent advice from the likes of John McCain and Dick Cheney, men who would embrace regicide to mold reality to their warped thinking. I sure hope that folks like Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts are trying to communicate some reasonable advice to Mr. Trump. And I hope they are doing it through secret channels because I’m sure they are being wiretapped by the establishment spooks who think the White House is their personal playground.

    As a liberal I would assess that most of Trump’s domestic/social/economic agenda on taxes, immigration, health care, reproductive rights and so forth will be deleterious to many people and not advisable. They’ve been floated before and rejected before using nothing outside of the standard operating procedures of the Congress. These ideas are nothing that the filibuster can’t stop in their tracks. The bitter Dems and their Deep State and media allies do not have to foment insurrection, demonize Trump and Putin, invent conspiracy theories from whole cloth and practice blatant McCarthyism to prevail on those issues. This coup they desperately want will end up destroying the republic, not saving it.

    The Dems and Queen Hillary need to suppress their enormous damaged egos and show they are going to do something the Republicans did not do when Obama was elected: cooperate with the other party on something other than starting more wars. (However, the insiders took yet another giant step back when they picked Hillary’s choice Perez to head the DNC. As if 2020 will finally be her magic year.) At least a few of the policies Trump has vaguely outlined are worth pursuing. Aside from the imperative of a rapprochement with Russia, rebuilding our nation’s decrepit infrastructure would be nice. Coming up with an improved version of Obamacare (which was really Romneycare–a thoroughly Republican idea) would also be worthwhile, as the GOPers now know that simply repealing the existing ACA means only suicide to them at the ballot box.

    The Democrats are understandably furious at the GOP for obstructing every policy that the Obama administration tried to implement, so now they have upped the ante to not only obstruct Trump but to remove him from power. That is unacceptable and the hallmark of dictatorships and banana republics. And don’t use the excuse that Trump reaps what he sows from the media and the opposition. He is a thin-skinned counterpuncher. This feud with the media would not be happening if they didn’t deliberately want to stoke it.

    Doesn’t this whole soap opera of “Get Trump” remind objective observers of anything? It’s a replay of the “Stalking of the President” during both of Bill Clinton’s terms. Every day there was a new headline accusing the Clinton’s of some nefarious scandal, from Travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, up to and including drug running and murder, usually based on fallacious testimony paid for by moneyed interests. Eventually they ramped up the process to a special prosecutor, with spooks eavesdropping on every personal interaction the president had, and finally attempting to remove him from office for private behavior that affected the running of the government and security of the nation not a whit. This crusade against Trump is the same kind of winner-take-all consequences-be-damned power struggle to determine who runs the world (for a term of four years) all over again. And, if the Trump-haters “win” they get theocratic warhawk Mike Pence in the bargain and a precedent for undoing democratic procedure under the constitution. Does anyone think these things through? Voters probably thought that bringing in an outsider would stop the insanity. In this country, that only made it worse, as the insiders know his weaknesses (Schumer spilled the beans when he warned that the spooks were coming) and smell blood. And WE condemn Russian politics with impunity? Pot meet the entire ash heap.

    • Peppermint
      February 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      “Business achievement?!!!”
      At least 4 bankruptcies hardly qualifies one as having successful business achievement. Quit spinning falsehoods. And never ever make the mistake of equating the making of oodles of money with success or achievement as a businessperson. One can be an utter failure and be rolling in cash. I guess it depends on the rubric by which you measure success or achievement.

      • Realist
        February 27, 2017 at 8:36 pm

        I didn’t say he was an altruist or even honorable in his pursuit of fortune. By the standards of the oligarchs in the top 0.01% he has been a success. When he puts his mind to making billions and constructing brick and mortar monuments to himself he has succeeded, he has “acheived,” and all in accordance with the laws of the United States of America. How is any of that a “falsehood?” Give the Devil his due. He has plenty of other faults, many of which I mentioned. You are trying too hard to paint him as completely and totally without any redeeming features. Even Satan is brilliant and resourceful.

  17. Zachary Smith
    February 26, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I’m going to stretch the borders a little here, but the theme is still “Trump’s Troubles.” Mr. Trump is the heir of an awful lot of Bush & Obama stupidity, but because of his attitude and the fact that Corporate Media is out to get him, he’s going to make it awfully easy for the B&O sins to become identified with him.

    Headline: “Welcome Aboard… But First US Marshals Will Scan Your Retina”

    www*zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-26/welcome-aboard-first-us-marshals-will-scan-your-retina

    Headline: “I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again—neither should you”

    www*alternet.org/human-rights/ill-never-take-my-phone-international-flight-again-neither-should-you

    Headline: “A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone”

    www*theverge.com/2017/2/12/14583124/nasa-sidd-bikkannavar-detained-cbp-phone-search-trump-travel-ban

    Headline: “US border agents ask Muhammad Ali’s son: ‘Are you a Muslim?'”

    www*theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/25/muhammad-ali-son-detained-questioned-us-border-control

    Headline: “Leading French academic threatened with deportation at Houston airport “

    www*theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/26/henry-rousso-french-academic-deportation-houston-airport

    Headline: “American Citizen Faced Deportation
    Despite ID and birth certificate, Chicago man detained for three days”

    The poor guy was one of those damned “illegals” from Puerto Rico!

    www*nbcchicago.com/news/local/eduardo-caraballo-puerto-rico-deportion-94795779.html

    Headline: “Brain tumor patient removed from hospital, detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement “

    The woman was in the freaking hospital undergoing treatment!

    www*salon.com/2017/02/23/brain-tumor-patient-removed-from-hospital-detained-by-immigration-and-customs-enforcement/

    Little people with big egos and and too much authority are going to cause Trump an awful lot of trouble because he is going to come to be identified with the abuse.

    The goons at the border (and the immigration cops) need to be kept under tight control rather than being allowed to run amok.

    • Realist
      February 27, 2017 at 1:08 am

      Yes, these oppressive policies just keep escalating no matter who occupies the White House. It must all be pre-programmed into the system with the president just being some sort of figureheard, whether he is an airhead like Dubya or an articulate pseudo-intellectual like Slick Willy or Obomber. An intelligent person can tell that Trump is actually smart, but he is ill-informed, biased on certain issues, and probably a bit lazy–an habitual delegator. Where the program originates and who wrote it are issues that are probably deliberately obfuscated, and which Trump may be too incurious or timid to broach. However, it seems indisputable that nothing ever changes, regardless of rhetoric spewed or promises made! It looks for all the world like we are on auto-pilot to World War III, economic collapse, societal collapse and possible extinction of the species. Almost sounds like a bad scifi movie.

      • Brad Owen
        February 27, 2017 at 8:31 am

        I read this article from insidethevatican.com; “Steve Bannon in his own words”. He sees the Trump presidency as in a war against what he calls “the Davos Party”. That is telling, suggesting they know where “The Program” that you alluded to, originates. The Program is probably the point of all of those secretive “Bilderberger”-like meetings among un-elected(by the people), un-appointed(by the people), representatives of wealthy and powerful interests. He also sees Christendom/Western civilization as in a war with the Muslim World, which is historically true, but may no longer be pertinent to, the current on-going Paradigm-Shift. A new Zeitgeist is walking in the World.

  18. backwardsevolution
    February 27, 2017 at 1:15 am

    As Realist said the other day, in order to pull off a coup or a revolution, you need “organization, money and the media”. I agree. I could stand on the street corner all day long, spout off whatever was on my mind, and I might affect a handful of people. I’d need the media on side to get my message out, and the only way I’d be able to do this is if the media wanted my particular message to get out. Notice what IS making it into the headlines: a lot of lies, half-truths and omissions. The media are doing everything they can to turn the herd in a certain direction, and they are all acting in concert. The intelligence agencies are also acting in concert (and with no evidence).

    So my question is: who is directing this production? Who is in charge of telling the various actors what they should be doing, saying? IMO, someone has to be out front directing this. It’s too well orchestrated.

    Who really owns the House of Representatives? If McCarthyism is rearing its ugly head, maybe every single one of the members of the House of Representatives should be hauled in and asked whether they are beholden to outside interests and, if so, who they are.

    Who is running the show? Who owns the U.S.?

    • Sam F
      February 27, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      Perhaps a rhetorical question, and well put if so, but of course economic oligarchy owns the US: the rich and those who control big business. They own the mass media, and via big business they control elections, and thereby appointments to the corrupt judiciary and the secret agencies. They feed money to Israel and the MIC, to get a fraction of that back as campaign bribes.

      This can be stopped only by amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited and registered individual contributions. At the same time amendments are needed to provide better checks and balances to stop judicial corruption and executive overreach.

      But this cannot be done, precisely because we do not have those tools of democracy, free elections and public debate in mass media. Only when the rich are deeply afraid will they surrender the power of corruption. That requires a failure of their means to suppress dissent and rebellion. So it has been throughout history. Only the angry dispossessed can organize, and devote their lives, to prevent enforcement against riots and demonstrations. Jefferson noted that the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants in every generation, and so it is. We depend upon you, the injured and angry, to restore democracy.

  19. deang
    February 27, 2017 at 3:50 am

    A previous serial liar in the White House, Ronald Reagan, faced similar questions about whether or not he knows he’s lying. In the end, it doesn’t matter what liars think about the lies they tell. What matters is that we stop them and keep the focus on the truth, something made difficult this past quarter century during the era of right-wing media dominance. There was a time, pre-Reagan, when even Republicans could be cowed when faced with facts, viz. Nixon, and when the public didn’t just automatically think lying doesn’t matter. Those days are gone, and problems are thus more difficult to deal with. Americans seem to think everything really is just a point of view or a matter of opinion. Nonetheless, despite the electoral college, Trump did lose the popular vote by a historic three million votes, and that is something.

  20. February 27, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Your article is one of the best I have seen on CN. I salute Robert Parry for printing it. Reading the comments on your article one can see how true your words are. A lot of the posters are living on BS and just swallowing it as fast as it is delivered. A lot of the everyday posters are truly intelligent and their comments show it. They know there are two sides to everything. Having said that there are many “thick” people (who claim to be highly educated) on this site who don’t possess the critical thinking skills to even begin to understand what you have written. “It is probably fake news.” Or you are just more of the MSM. Or you are part of the scheme to destroy white supremacy.

  21. J'hon Doe II
    February 27, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Mr. Trump’s full frontal assault on the media and the press is apt to ‘the pot calling the kettle black’.
    It’s a construct of his Hocus-Pokus distractive autocratic distortion of reality.

    The below link gives the accurate picture of how the press, that Trump so hates, is and was, without doubt the greatest contributor to his election victory.

    http://television.gdeltproject.org/cgi-bin/iatv_campaign2016/iatv_campaign2016

    • William
      February 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      BTW: The CIA controlled MSM trying to give Trump enough rope to hang himself…hung themselves instead.
      Long overdue exposure of the presstitude whores since the fifties. Anyone still reading NYT, WAPO, MSNBC,CNN etc. etc.
      is a fool being fooled.

  22. William
    February 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    “In truth the economy (including job production and employment rates) under his predecessor was doing well and no new foreign wars had been launched by Washington. Civil rights were being extended to more and more minority groups. Where there was dissension it was over such things as police violence (which Trump seems not to see as a problem).”

    94% of new Obama jobs were part-time, wars in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine. The appearance of Black Lives Matter, one mass shooting after another, police state killing randomly. Activist funded by Ford Foundation, Soros, Buffet et al.
    CIA control of MSM to spread constant propaganda AND TAKE THE WORLD TO THE BRINK OF NUCLEAR HOLOCAST.
    IT’S CLEAR TO SEE WHO IS THE ONE THAT IS DELUSIONAL. Shame on you Mr. Davidson and for claiming you are a professor of history???

  23. Paco
    February 27, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    No doubt every president feels that he has inherited a message, but surely Obama inherited much worse of a message than did Trump. It seems likely that whoever follows Trump will inherit a message of truly historic proportions, however.

  24. Loup-Bouc
    February 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Lawrence Davidson asserts:

    “According to the President, the nation was in deep trouble when he took over. He insists that he inherited “a mess.” No one challenged this description, although it is plainly an exaggeration. In truth the economy (including job production and employment rates) under his predecessor was doing well and no new foreign wars had been launched by Washington. Civil rights were being extended to more and more minority groups. Where there was dissension it was over such things as police violence (which Trump seems not to see as a problem).”

    Mr. Davidson’s assertion is part lie, part exaggeration, part dissembling, all disingenuous.

    Obama took us into new wars: Libya; Yemen; Syria; and, by proxies, The Ukraine and also, again, Syria. After the putative end of the Iraq war, Obama reentered into it. Though Bush droned Pakistan, Obama raised the droning to a height not just a difference of degree, but of kind, so that Obama’s Pakistan droning was anew war.

    Obama did not increase job production or employment. Unemployment rose — not per Department of Labor “statistics” (which account only those receiving unemployment compensation), but in REALITY. Job “production” involved a very marked increase of part-time employment where previously employment was full time — so that actually job production diminished. Obama’s terms involved a huge increase of unemployed persons’ having to accept employment of quality/pay levels substantially lesser than those they had before being laid off.

    Civil rights include rights of privacy and access to knowledge of government activity. Obama’s administration was the most privacy-trespassing and secret of all U.S. history.

    Trump may not think police violence is a problem. But Obama’s actual behavior shows he bears no sympathy for victims of police violence and cares not for the violence’s magnitude of proliferation.

    Consistently, Obama’s Department of Justice eschewed intervening in cases of grotesque police violence, including such violence fostered by police departments’ administrations. Worse, Obama’s Department of Justice (headed by Blacks) did not prosecute police for violation of federal civil rights laws that make such police violence a serious federal felony — even though such violence was committed disproportionately against Blacks.

    Mr. Davidson’s article is equally dishonest in others of its paragraphs. His article is despicable propaganda, rather than journalism. I was astounded by its being published by Consortium News.

    • Loup-Bouc
      February 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Correction of third sentence of MY text’s second paragraph:

      Though Bush droned Pakistan, Obama raised the droning to a height not just different by degree, but qualitatively different — so that Obama’s Pakistan droning was a new war.

    • Realist
      February 27, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Nice dissection of the dead carcass proffered by Davidson.

    • Loup-Bouc
      February 27, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      Read Paul Street’s “Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump” (24 February 2017),
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/liberal-hypocrisy-late-shaming-and-russia-blaming-in-the-age-of-trump/
      to be reassured that JOURNALISM continues to occur, sometimes, though rarely, now, in the U.S. and U.K.

  25. J'hon Doe II
    February 28, 2017 at 4:25 am

    FEBRUARY 23, 2017

    David Frum on Autocracy and the Trump Presidency

    David Frum talked about his Atlantic piece, “How to Build an Autocracy,” in which he details how President Trump could lay the groundwork for autocratic rule.

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?424374-3/washington-journal-david-frum-discusses-build-autocracy

    • Loup-Bouc
      February 28, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Yours, J’hon Doe II: “…how President Trump could lay the groundwork for autocratic rule.”

      Below follow excerpts of TAO TE CHING, Chapter 38 [my translation]. The last four lines atomize your language and the article you reference — not by more polemic, as of a pundit, but by intensive magnifying that renders conflagration.

      A truly good man does not apprehend his goodness, and SO is good.
      A foolish man tries to be good, and SO is NOT good.

      * * *

      In “knowledge” of the future one finds just a gaudy sham of Tao.
      Prescience is the beginning of folly.
      The great man is the truly good, who dwells on what is real — the fruit, not the flower.
      Accept the fruit; disregard the flower.

  26. Patricia Victour
    February 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Good article, though I would argue that the 40% that don’t vote is not necessarily always because of apathy, but also because, in many, many cases, people have (rightly) concluded that it doesn’t matter who “wins.” The deck is stacked against “we the people” and in favor of “we the corporations” and the 1% which is wealthy enough to finance the huge campaigns we now have and pay for lobbyists once their chosen people are in office. As Betsy DeVos admitted, these people “expect something” in return. Then there is the problem of the “Deep State” that more and more appears to be running the show behind the curtain. Until money isn’t speech and is out of politics, and lobbyists are brought to heel, there will be no change.

    • Loup-Bouc
      February 28, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Yours (reacting to Davidson’s piece) Ms. Victour: “Good article.”

      But, madam, propaganda tripe is bad food. Have you been vaccinated? Have you ingested an effective probiotic?

  27. J'hon Doe II
    March 1, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    ‘hon Doe II
    March 1, 2017 at 6:29 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I question the long standing ovation for the widow of a Seal Team member whose life was lost during a sneak attack that killed women and children in a sleeping, innocuous little village – VILLAGE! – that, by all accounts, had absolutely No Clear Objective Value other than Mr. Trump’s juvenile desire to play “general” spurred by his compulsive narcissism.

    Will he compensate that widow as Bush & Company did after the orchestrated attack on World Trade Towers in NYC, killing civilians in the process? Could Trumps rhetoric heal the broken heart of the killed soldiers’ father? A father who cannot balance the death (loss) of a beloved son against the frivolity of an ignorently eager, points scoring, petulant “Commander-in-Chief”?

    So, to who or to whom was the applause directed? The sobbing wife or the -it’s all about me- Mr.Trump? Or was it entirely Orchestrated Mixed Metaphor meant to absolve and assuage the conscience of a nation that accepts violence as an exceptionalist privilege ?

    9/11 ESTABLISHED our “Right” to invade/bomb/deconstruct-remake the entire Middle East into our “Image and Likeness” (lackeys?) based solely upon our COMPLETE MILITARY POWER.

    This military power enabled General Trump to display the US Reckless Ability to Kill and Destroy at Will as it has done in manifold Theaters-of-Death in Overt and Covert kill missions World Wide from 1950 to this very day – and bows beyond based upon the exorbitant exceptionalist applause aroused by sympathy for the spouse or approval for the “mission” that caused her loss?

    Meanwhile, war and death ravish the entire Middle East, disrupting the ENTIRE World while pointing the wagging finger at Radical Islamic Terrorist/Terrorism.
    — How Exceptionalist of us to fall for and believe in that Bullspit !!!
    — How Ignorant of us to be the Progenitors and Applauders of this Carnival Barker Ignorant President Who Knows a History of The World.

    As do most of present America – which operates
    As If the “others” Don’tReally Matter.

    http://www.atimes.com/egyptian-iranian-detente-boon-region-beyond
    http://www.atimes.com/article/letter-tehran-trump-bazaari-2/

    • J'hon Doe II
      March 1, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Loup-Bouc
      February 28, 2017

      Yours, J’hon Doe II: “…how President Trump could lay the groundwork for autocratic rule.”

      Below follow excerpts of TAO TE CHING, Chapter 38 [my translation]. The last four lines atomize your language and the article you reference — not by more polemic, as of a pundit, but by intensive magnifying that renders conflagration.

      A truly good man does not apprehend his goodness, and SO is good.
      A foolish man tries to be good, and SO is NOT good.

      * * *

      In “knowledge” of the future one finds just a gaudy sham of Tao.
      Prescience is the beginning of folly.
      The great man is the truly good, who dwells on what is real — the fruit, not the flower.
      Accept the fruit; disregard the flower.
      ????????????????????????????????

      Please, pray tell, Loup-Bouc,
      which of these is the fruit and which, the flower?
      The surrendering or the forced surrendered

      ++++++++
      I question the long standing ovation for the widow of a Seal Team member whose life was lost during a sneak attack that killed women and children in a sleeping, innocuous little village – VILLAGE! – that, by all accounts, had absolutely No Clear Objective Value other than Mr. Trump’s juvenile desire to play “general” spurred by his compulsive narcissism.

      Will he compensate that widow as Bush & Company did after the orchestrated attack on World Trade Towers in NYC, killing civilians in the process? Could Trumps rhetoric heal the broken heart of the killed soldiers’ father? A father who cannot balance the death (loss) of a beloved son against the frivolity of an ignorently eager, points scoring, petulant “Commander-in-Chief”?

      So, to who or to whom was the applause directed? The sobbing wife or the -it’s all about me- Mr.Trump? Or was it entirely Orchestrated Mixed Metaphor meant to absolve and assuage the conscience of a nation that accepts violence as an exceptionalist privilege ?

      9/11 ESTABLISHED our “Right” to invade/bomb/deconstruct-remake the entire Middle East into our “Image and Likeness” (lackeys?) based solely upon our COMPLETE MILITARY POWER.

      This military power enabled General Trump to display the US Reckless Ability to Kill and Destroy at Will as it has done in manifold Theaters-of-Death in Overt and Covert kill missions World Wide from 1950 to this very day – and bows beyond based upon the exorbitant exceptionalist applause aroused by sympathy for the spouse or approval for the “mission” that caused her loss?

      Meanwhile, war and death ravish the entire Middle East, disrupting the ENTIRE World while pointing the wagging finger at Radical Islamic Terrorist/Terrorism.
      — How Exceptionalist of us to fall for and believe in that Bullspit !!!
      — How Ignorant of us to be the Progenitors and Applauders of this Carnival Barker Ignorant President Who Knows a History of The World.

      As do most of present America – which operates
      As If the “others” Don’tReally Matter.

      http://www.atimes.com/egyptian-iranian-detente-boon-region-beyond
      http://www.atimes.com/article/letter-tehran-trump-bazaari-2/

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