Friday, March 03, 2017

The Trump Regime - Hello Raw Dishonesty


For eight years I was what would have been considered a Republican activist: City Committee member, precinct captain and on a first name basis with most of the Republican delegation from Virginia Beach and many in from other cities in the region.  Back then, the party did not lie shamelessly and I and others tried to be accurate with our facts and figures.  Then something began to change the GOP, both locally and nationally.  The right wing Christians - many of whom had and continue to have strong white supremacist leanings - began to rise in the part y base.  Worse yet, they began to be elected to local city and county committees.  With this change came a willingness to lie and disseminate falsehoods if it furthered the party agenda, or more specifically, the religious fanaticism of much of the base and the greed of the plutocrats who ultimately fund the GOP.  Having closely followed many of the "family values" organizations that now control the party base for over 20 years, there is NO ONE who lies with such abandon or viciousness than these individuals posing as "godly Christians." This disregard for truth and I would argue true morality, has now culminated in the election of Donald Trump, a/k/a Der  Trumpenf├╝hrer, as president of the United States, with 81% of evangelical Christians voting for a man that is thoroughly bankrupt morally.  As a column in the New York Times notes, raw dishonesty and lies are now the norm.  The question becomes one of who will stop this dangerous course.  Here are column excerpts:
The latest big buzz is about Jeff Sessions, the attorney general. It turns out that he lied during his confirmation hearings, denying that he had met with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. In fact, he met twice with the Russian ambassador, who is widely reported to also be a key spymaster.
Not incidentally, if this news hadn’t come to light, forcing Mr. Sessions to recuse himself, he would have supervised the investigation into Russian election meddling, possibly in collusion with the Trump campaign.
But let’s not focus too much on Mr. Sessions. After all, he is joined in the cabinet by Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, who lied to Congress about his use of a private email account; Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, who lied about a sweetheart deal to purchase stock in a biotechnology company at a discount; and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, who falsely told Congress that his financial firm didn’t engage in “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents, seizing homes without proper consideration.
And they would have served with Michael Flynn as national security adviser, but for the fact that Mr. Flynn was forced out after the press discovered that, like Mr. Sessions, he had lied about contacts with the Russian ambassador.
At this point it’s easier to list the Trump officials who haven’t been caught lying under oath than those who have. This is not an accident.
[A]ll indications are that the age of spin is over. It has been replaced by an era of raw, shameless dishonesty.
In part, of course, the pervasiveness of lies reflects the character of the man at the top: No president, or for that matter major U.S. political figure of any kind, has ever lied as freely and frequently as Donald Trump. But this isn’t just a Trump story. His ability to get away with it, at least so far, requires the support of many enablers: almost all of his party’s elected officials, a large bloc of voters and, all too often, much of the news media.
What we’re getting from Mr. Trump is simply on a different plane from anything we’ve seen before. . . . . On matters of policy, politicians used to limit their misrepresentations of facts and impacts to relatively hard-to-verify assertions. . . . Mr. Trump, however, makes claims like his assertion that the murder rate — which ticked up in 2015 but is still barely half what it was in 1990 — is at a 45-year high. Furthermore, he just keeps repeating such claims after they’ve been debunked.
And the question is, who’s going to stop him?
The moral vacuity of Republicans in Congress, and the unlikelihood that they’ll act as any check on the president, becomes clearer with each passing day. Even the real possibility that we’re facing subversion by agents of a foreign power, and that top officials are part of the story, doesn’t seem to faze them as long as they can get tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor.
Meanwhile, Republican primary election voters . . . . live in a Fox News bubble into which awkward truths never penetrate.
And what about the Fourth Estate? Will it let us down, too? . . . . you watch something like the way much of the news media responded to Mr. Trump’s congressional address, and you feel despair. It was a speech filled with falsehoods and vile policy proposals, but read calmly off the teleprompter — and suddenly everyone was declaring the liar in chief “presidential.”
The point is that if that’s all it takes to exonerate the most dishonest man ever to hold high office in America, we’re doomed. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

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