[Vision2020] The Liar-in-Chief Leads the "Post-Truth" Era

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 6 17:45:27 PST 2017

Hail to the Vision!

For those who do not take the Daily News, appended is a longer version of
the column.  I get 2,000 words at the Idaho State Journal (to be published
on Sunday), and that is attached.  There you can read a selected list of
Trump's falsehoods and much more analysis.

The GOP Congress and Trump are already on a collision course, and I think
impeachment is not an unlikely outcome.


*The Liar-in-Chief and the “Post-Truth” Era*

Nick Gier, The Palouse Pundit

*If Bush and Rove constructed a fantasy world with a clear internal logic,
Trump has built something more like an endless bad dream.*

*—New York Times *editorial

*We are rapidly becoming a people that totalitarian monsters could only
drool about in their dreams.*

—Robert Kreitner, *The Nation*

            In October 2004 former President Bush’s adviser Karl Rove
declared: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own
reality.” Trump is so clueless and dishonest that he could not be as candid
as Rove, but with his brazen disregard for truth, he is doing exactly the
same thing.

The Bush Big Lie on Iraq had a certain internal logic, but Trump’s Lies
about Everything is filled with contradictions.  For example, he does not
seem to realize that his charge of wide-spread voter fraud undermines both
his and Hillary’s votes. As one commentator says: “Trump tells lies that
are seemingly random, frequently inconsistent, and often plainly

            The GOP’s record of untruths was clearly evident in the 2016
campaign.  On average the GOP candidates scored, according to Politifact,
52 percent true, mostly true, and half true. Bernie’s average was 70
percent in these categories and Hillary’s is now 75 percent. In stark
contrast, Trump is lying to us 70 percent of the time.

            I would invite anyone to read the in-depth analyses that are
the basis for Politifact’s judgments. I will be reading along and say to
myself: “This is obviously false” or “This is obviously true.” In all
cases, however, caution is Politifact’s watchword and many of their
conclusions are “mostly true,” “half true,” or “mostly false.” The
investigators reserve “Pants on Fire” for the most egregious falsehoods.

            Trump has now accumulated 62 of these whoppers, over three
times as many as Mitt Romney’s 19 in the 2012 campaign. Obama has a total
of 9 Pants on Fire, 2 percent of all statements checked. Trump worst lies
account for 18 percent of all his pronouncements.

            In stark contrast Hillary’s pant suits were aflame only 2
percent of the time for a total of 7.  Her most egregious falsehood was
that there was no classified information in her emails.

The editors of the *Oxford English Dictionary* chose “post-truth” as the
Word of the Year 2016.  Trust in experts and commitment to widely accepted
facts have been waning for years.  What we have now is Donald Trump,
who,  “like
any autocrat,” according to the *New York Times*, “wins his followers’
blind trust by lying so often and so brazenly that millions of people give
up on trying to distinguish truth from falsehood.”

In the 2004 election war hero John Kerry was “swiftboated” by Bush
supporters so successfully that Bush’s failure to show up for national
guard duty in Alabama was ignored. In the same way, the worst liar in
American politics has succeeded in labeling Hillary a liar.

Candidate Trump’s disregard for the truth was bad enough for the moral
fabric of our country, but as president his rejection of economic and
intelligence data will be disastrous. Trump received a two-hour briefing on
Russian hacking (it was not delayed as he falsely claimed and Obama did
indeed mention it before election), and afterwards he refused accept the
conclusions, which have been accepted by the most skeptical cyber security

Currently, however, Trump is relying on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange,
who rejects the Russian hacking and whom GOP House Speaker calls “a
sycophant for Russia.” Previously, Trump’s called for Assange’s execution,
but now he is to be trusted.

 GOP Senate leaders, led by John McCain, are going ahead with their
investigation. GOP Senator Lindsey Graham pleaded with Trump: “When you
listen to these people you can be skeptical. But understand they are the
best among us. And they are trying to protect us.”

I hope that Trump does not hear about “Team B,” a group of hardline defense
professionals who were put in place by then CIA Director George H. W. Bush
in the 1977.  After Ronald Reagan, charging that Ford was soft on the
Soviets, almost defeated him the New Hampshire primary, Ford allowed Team B
to counter the CIA’s more accurate reports with their own questionable
assessments. President Reagan used Team B’s exaggerations and falsehoods to
add $1 trillion dollars to the defense budget, which, along with excessive
tax cuts, led to tripling of the national debt.

During the campaign Trump said that the unemployment rate was actually 42
percent.  Will he use that bogus figure as a benchmark when he boasts about
his own administration’s success?  Or will be forced to use the government
figure of 4.6 percent and reveal the 42 percent as an outrageous lie?

At their peril—international agencies blacklist countries that cheat on
their data—GOP leaders will buck the experts at the Bureau of Labor
Statistics and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Trump’s lies will not stand within these tried and true parameters, unless
he tries to take all power unto himself.  If he does, I predict that he
will be impeached.

Nick Gier taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years.--

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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