WABE radio in Atlanta noted on 8 February that Trump’s press secretary, Spicer, had twice defended Trump’s Executive Order on immigration by including Atlanta in a list of cities (e.g., San Bernardino, Miami, Boston) which had seen terrorism by radical Islamists. Either Spicer is lying, or he’s not checking his facts, or he’s deluded. Perhaps all three. Atlanta has never been the subject of an attack by radical (or radicalized) followers of Islam.
Trump has set up a revocable trust to hold many of his businesses in order to appear not to violate ethics laws and the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Problem is, the only social security number associated with that trust is Trump’s own. He’s still going to receive benefits from those properties. The wall he’s built in this case is purely a figment of his imagination. It constitutes a lie.
When Kellyanne Conway was challenged to defend Trump’s criticism that the news media didn’t give enough coverage to terrorist attacks, she tried to compare it with coverage of the death of a rock star. That’s spin. And spin is just another way of lying.
Spicer promised a list of under-reported terrorist attacks. When the list was released, it didn’t prove the point. It included well-reported incidents. It included attacks not known to be associated with Islamic terrorism. The list did not include many attacks by Muslims targeting Muslims who make up the vast majority of victims of Islamist terrorism. It does not include attacks by Boko Haram, which has been covered extensively. It includes only one of the many attacks in Kabul.
Newsweek characterized the list as “…one so embarrassingly rife with misspellings and falsehoods that it reads like a term paper thrown together in the last second by a 10th grader recovering from a nightlong binge of Minecraft,” and noted that they misspelled “attacker” 20 times. In addition to being liars, the White House staff are apparently ignoramuses. [The entire list, with errors included, is at a link near the bottom of this post.]
Perhaps more disturbing, the list as issued seems to lend credibility to perceptions that Trump is targeting Muslims. (Remember, banning Muslims from the United States… all Muslims… was a campaign promise.)
Trump has claimed that the murder rate in the US is the highest it’s been in almost half a century. That’s a lie.
Trump has claimed that the news media doesn’t report terrorist acts because they have an agenda—presumably some sort of animus against Trump. That’s a lie.
Trump has lied about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, and his staff has continued to support that lie.
Trump has lied by saying that God stopped the rain and brought out the sun during Trump’s inaugural address. So far his staff hasn’t repeated that. It’s still a lie.
Conway lied when she claimed that there had been a massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It never happened.
Trump has accused the media of lying while criticizing the media for not reporting on things he’s has said… which were shown to be lies.
Trump’s minnions, Conway and Spicer, ignore what Trump actually says, misdirect (a way of lying), and lie point-blank.
Trump, on the other hand, seems to follow one rule: tell a lie often enough, say it loudly enough, and appear sincere, and people will eventually believe it.
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time,” as the apothegm goes. Trump and his people seem to have perverted the closing phrase, and believe that they can fool all of the people all of the time… or, at least enough of them that the rest don’t matter.
Conway was turned down for an appearance on CNN’s Sunday show because of questions about her credibility.
Spicer? As I said, he appears to be a liar, a fool, or an incompetent. Time will tell.
Trump has compromised, perhaps destroyed the dignity of the Office of President of the United States.
Trump List of Terrorist Attacks:
Read the list with errors included at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/07/full-list-of-trump-under-reported-terror-attacks-and-how-they-were-reported
Trump issued an Executive Order (XO) banning for some periods of time people from certain countries from entering the US, banning all refugees, and making exceptions for people based on religion. (The latter isn’t exactly what the XO said, but it’s clear from comments by Trump and his coterie that that’s the intent. It’s also clear from comments by Trump and his coterie that the XO is a Muslim ban.)
The order was appealed in courts from Massachusetts to Hawaii. More recently, Judge James Robart, US District Court for the Western District of Washington, suspended key parts of the XO in a ruling that is effective throughout the nation. This was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court, which rejected a government request to overrule Judge Robart.
Enough has been written about the illegality and unconstitutionality of the XO. If you don’t believe it is illegal and unconstitutional, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind. And vice-versa.
Enough has been written about Trump’s ad hominem attacks on Judge Robart and the court system. (Remember: an ad hominem is an attempt to discredit a person's argument by discrediting the person through a personal attack. It's used most often by someone who can’t find a way attack another's argument.)
Not enough has been written about what is likely to happen as Trump and Trump’s Chumps begin to dismantle the separation of powers in their apparent quest to pervert and subvert the Constitution of the United States.
[Yes, "Trump's Chumps" is an ad hominem. I will defend it, later.]
First: Judge Robart’s ruling is likely to be appealed to the US Supreme Court. Neither Trump nor the various states’ Attorneys General are likely to back down. The issue has nationwide implications. Rulings have been issued by courts in multiple districts. It’s a case made for the Supreme Court.
If the case were decided by the current Supreme Court, it would likely to result in a 4-4 tie. This would mean Judge Robart’s ruling would stand and the XO would fall—at least until Trump thought up another way to ban Muslims. (Remember, that was a campaign promise.)
Watch the Republicans push through Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court to make sure they will win when this case reaches there. That is a perversion of the separation of powers and of the authority of the president and the congress.
Second: The 9th Circuit has once again proven its willingness to stand up to unconstitutional laws (in this case, an unconstitutional XO). Republicans have long wanted to break the 9th Circuit up to reduce its power. They now have the power, and there’s little to stop them. In the words of an old apothegm, it would be the camel’s nose under the tent. The entire camel will follow, the tent will fall, and the tenets of the Constitution will follow.
Trump has already begun to undermine the First Amendment by attacking individual reporters and freezing out legitimate news sources.
What will be his next target?
Federal Court System: http://www.fedbar.org/Public-Messaging/About-US-Federal-Courts_1.aspx
Status of the Case (most current source at time of writing): http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/politics/9th-circuit-court-of-appeals-trump-travel-ban/
Trump’s ad hominem attacks: His own Twitter account
“Scorched-earth” means destroying everything that might be useful to an adversary. The history of war contains many examples, from William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea during the American Civil War to the Russian Army’s strategy during Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia.
Destroying the food and water supply of the civilian population is specifically prohibited by the Geneva Convention. Although the US has never ratified the protocols of this 1977 document, the US did sign the document indicating a willingness to work toward ratification.
Have Trump and Trump’s Chumps created a scorched-earth campaign against the environment? It appears that they have.
Trump, through executive orders, and the Congress, through resolutions and Congressional Review of regulations, seem bent on destroying not only the climate, but also the air and water of the United States of America.
Both the House and Senate have approved a resolution that eliminates the Stream Protection Rule. That rule was designed to prevent coal-mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams. It required coal companies to set aside money to restore the environment after they had extracted coal.
The Stream Protection Rule was critical to protecting fragile ecosystems and to limiting the amount of toxic heavy metals in water supplies.
Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuels. Trump’s campaign for clean coal is a lie. There is no such thing as clean coal. Yet this action was a victory for the coal companies. It was a huge loss for the American People and a huge loss for the environment.
The House has voted to overturn a rule that was designed to restrict burning off (“flaring”) methane gas (CH4) during drilling operations on public lands. The Senate is scheduled to do so next week.
When this rule is killed, drillers will be allowed to burn off methane from oil drilling and production.
Methane combines with oxygen in the air (O2) creating carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O), both of which are greenhouse gasses.
Flaring also wastes millions of dollars of methane (which is the main component of natural gas) that could be used for fuel.
Using present technology, at least 40% of the methane which is currently flared, could be captured and used. Natural gas is the cleanest of all fossil fuels.
The death of the Methane Gas Emission Rule was a victory for the petroleum industry and the Koch Brothers. It was a huge loss for the American people and a huge loss for the environment.
What will the Congressional Sheep do next? Overturn the truck fuel-economy rule?
When will Trump and his camorra target the Bill of Rights?
[Actually, they already have. More on that in future blogs.]
Geneva Convention: Google the term, start with Wikipedia, follow links there and then check http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/586 and its links.
Resolutions and Actions Taken to Destroy the Environment:
Destruction of Citizen-Owned Natural Resources:
CO2 Produced by Burning Fossil Fuels
It didn’t take long for the Trump camorra to turtle up and hunker down. Heck, they had a bunker mentality even before the election, what with Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns (and to lie about the reason).
Is Trump willing to admit any error? So far, it doesn’t seem so, as lie after lie is plastered atop some initial lie, and as the people who should be giving him advice toe-the-Trump-line, instead. I’m thinking specifically of his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer and Spicer’s apologist, Kellyanne Conway, she of “alternative facts” (i.e., lies).
So much was made of Conway’s description of lies as alternative facts that another statement seems to have gone unnoticed. After Chuck Todd (NBC) suggested that Spicer had told untruths (i.e., lies) she said, “If we are going to keep referring to our press secretary in those type of terms, I think we are going to have to rethink our relationship here.” IMHO, that was not only evidence of Trump’s Chumps bunker mentality, but also a direct threat to ostracize Chuck Todd. Not the first time Trump has cut off a legitimate media channel or publisher that disagreed with him.
Oh, and how does Conway get away with using the “Royal First Person Plural”? (Frankly, we are not amused.)
Do we remember what that imbroglio was about? Trump had lied to a CIA audience about the number of people present at his inauguration. Spicer backed up that claim by saying both that there were 720,000 people present (far short of Trump’s claim of a million and a half) and that “no one had numbers” for crowd size. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist (or a CIA analyst) to see the contradiction in those two statements.
By the way, please don’t forget that Trump also claimed that while the rain should have scared people away, “…God looked down, and He said, ‘We’re not going to let it rain on your speech,’” and that, although he “got hit by a couple of drops” when he started his speech, the rain “stopped immediately… and then it became really sunny.” Both of these statements are lies. It rained during Trump’s speech, and then remained overcast and cloudy.
(Does this constitute a violation of the commandment not to take God’s name in vain? Interestingly—to me, at least—the oldest Hebrew rendition can be translated as a prohibition against using God’s name in a lie, which Trump did.)
As an aside, Trump also told the CIA audience that he had tremendous support from the military, and implied this meant a “big portion” of CIA people voted for him. Does he not understand that the CIA and the military are separate entities?
Mr. Trump, if you are willing to lie about something so unimportant, why should we believe anything you say about the things that really matter?
King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, Exodus, Chapter 20 and (for the Hebrew lesson) Wikipedia.
Trump’s Executive Order (XO) on Immigration continues to raise questions not only about the XO’s legality, but also about Trump’s motivation and his mental state.
Should the XO be characterized as a “ban”? Yes. Trump called it that. His press secretary called it a ban. Both later tried to retract their words. Sounds a lot like the job Winston Smith had in Orwell’s “1984”—rewriting history.
Is the XO a ban on Muslims? On the surface, no. It does not ban Muslims from Saudi Arabia, for example, even though Saudi citizens were the hijackers of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Further, a declassified US intelligence report (“The 28 pages”) claims at the Saudi government and citizens funded Muslim radicalism in mosques in the US around the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
And do not forget that during Trump’s primary campaign he called for a Muslim ban.
Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News on January 28 that Trump had called the XO a “Muslim ban.” Giuliani noted that a ban based on religion could be attacked, and claimed the XO did not have a religious basis, but was “based on places where there are [sic] substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.” That statement and Trump’s belief that the banned countries are significant sources of terrorists, are patently and demonstrably false. Not a single American was killed on US soil by citizens of any of the banned countries between 1975 and 2015.
Trump seems to believe two contradictory realities. In one reality, he has kept a campaign promise to ban all Muslims from this country. In another reality, he has not banned Muslims. This sounds much like the thinking of a schizophrenic.
Trump also characterizes the XO as being necessary for national security. Many sources have pointed out that few Americans have been killed by people from the predominately Muslim banned countries, while thousands of Americans have been killed by terrorists from not-banned predominately Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia. The gross illogic of the order creates more concern about the state of Trump’s mind.
On the other hand, perhaps he is clever. Trump has business interests in several of the not-banned Muslim countries, but not in the banned Muslim countries. Trump has multi-million dollar licensing and development deals in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt—countries whose citizens have killed nearly 3,000 Americans, countries whose citizens are not banned by the XO.
The New York Times characterized the XO as a bigoted, cowardly, self-defeating, and dangerous Muslim ban. Their Op-Ed page on January 27 offered an article showing that the ban on immigration is illegal. In a news analysis, the Times affirmed that the immigration ban is unlikely to reduce any terrorist threat.
Other sources took a harder stand, suggesting that the broad reach of the XO affirmed in the minds of Isis/Daesh and others of that ilk that the US is at war with Islam rather than targeting terrorists, and that the XO would encourage terrorist attacks on US soil as well as against US interests world-wide.
Many sources point to the illegality of the XO, including:
—It excludes Muslims while allowing officials to admit persons of other faiths.
—It excludes people based on their national origin, a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which banned discrimination against immigrants on the basis of their national origin.
—It favors countries in which Trump and his family have business interests.
—The “extreme vetting,” which is how Trump and his camarilla are attempting to re-brand the XO, may deny due process.
If it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration may not be a Muslim ban, but it is illegally discriminatory toward Muslims from countries where Trump does not have business interests.
Trump fired Sally Q. Yates, the acting attorney general for her courage in refusing to enforce what she saw as an illegal order. Who is next, and what will be Trump’s next debacle—or disaster?
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.