Trump Dishonesty Is So Rampant, Another Name For It Is Pathological Liar….The Trump dishonesty is calculated, since he’ll stop at nothing to usurp unbridled power.  Any aspiring dictator needs to control the messaging & squash the opposition.  We’re seeing Trump do that with his assault on the media, courts, intelligence/security agencies & any voices of political dissent.  To those ends, he’s an absolute master of lying, covering up, misdirecting & blaming the accusers.  Even if Trump can’t achieve his utopian vision of acquiring unchecked power for the executive branch, the precedent he’s setting for deceptive messaging & running roughshod over constitutional checks & balances can carry over to future leaders with devastating results.  I still maintain there’s a high probability the traditions & constitutional safeguards built into our system can withstand an assault from an autocrat.  But as a people we can’t be complacent, since such inattentiveness can give fascists the opening they seek.  We must always stand up for our democracy & rule of law.  Join us in our crusade as freedom fighters, but our ammo is the message contained in this blog, so please do share.   

The Trump dishonesty is necessary to try beating the Russian rap, & plenty of Trumpeters will believe their leader no matter how strong the Mueller evidence turns out to be.  Trump has certainly stirred anger among his base towards their perceived enemies, misplaced as that anger might be.  It can certainly get frustrating trying to reason with these Trumpeter/echo nudniks.  But let’s cut them a little slack, since the political arguments they make are largely not their own thoughts, but they’re just regurgitating the same garbage they hear on Fox & the rest of the far-right echo.  Maybe the breaking point with this gang won’t be so much when Trump is exposed as a criminal, but rather when they finally realize Trump doesn’t really care about them & his policies aren’t personally benefiting them. 

Required Reading

But prior to seeing that must-read article, this short video is also a must-see (a very cute skit): videos/politics/2018/07/29/sotu-cartoonion.cnn.  Posted below is the entire article from republicans-are-now-conceding-their-core-values.  It is outstanding, so please share with others.  If only the Fox/echo crowd were willing to open their minds to the hard reality.  I personally don’t really give a damn anymore if the GOP wants to destroy their own party!  Erasing a corrupted, radicalized cult of a party would actually be a good thing if it allows us to start fresh with a brand-new rational, pragmatic, constructive, sane, center-right party.  But the bigger concern with the GOP’s current test drive off the rails into deception & evil depravity, is to the extent this will cause permanent damage to American democracy.  A great op-ed here to read & forward on:  

Political parties do not lose their souls or their identities all at once. Usually, it is a gradual process of compromises that make sense in the moment, but which have a cumulative effect — like a frog being gradually boiled. There are obvious reasons why Republicans have been so unwilling to stand up to President Donald Trump: political tribalism, transactionalism, anti-anti-Trumpism and, yes, timidity. While expressing dismay in private, GOP officials know that the Republican base remains solidly behind Trump. In a hyper-partisan environment, standing on principle can be dangerous for your political health.

But the price of the GOP’s bargain with Trump, however, has continued to rise. Republicans in Congress now not only have to swallow Trump’s erratic narcissism, but also his assaults on the very core principles that supposedly define their politics: fiscal conservatism, free trade, the global world order, our allies, truth and the rule of law. They know that his crude xenophobia, his exploitation of racial divisions, his chronic dishonesty, sexism and fascination with authoritarian thugs pose a long-term danger to the GOP’s ethical and electoral future. But most remain paralyzed by fear of a presidential tweet. So even when appalled by the casual and calculated cruelty of a Trump policy like separating families at the border, few speak out. And despite expressions of dismay, it seems unlikely that Congress will take any meaningful action to confront Trump’s appeasement of Russia’s Vladimir Putin or to limit this President’s power to launch destructive trade wars. This reticence to challenge Trump is especially striking, given Trump’s propensity for caving on issues like paying for The Wall, when Congress refuses to budge.

Republicans tell themselves they are getting a lot of what they want. (Politics is always transactional, right?) They rationalize their acquiescence to Trumpism by pointing to tax cuts, deregulation and conservative judges. Even if Trump’s conduct becomes indefensible, they can always fall back on attacking Trump’s critics, especially in the media. Yet what Republicans in Congress have found is that rubber-stampism can be addictive and all-consuming; every time they allow a line to be crossed, it is harder to hold the next one, even if that next one is more fundamental. Republicans have made it clear that they have no intention of providing a meaningful check on Trump, and the next Congress could be even worse: from Georgia to Wisconsin, GOP candidates are vying with one another in their pledges of fealty to Trump rather than to any set of ideas. As a result, what was once a party of ideas has morphed into a virtual cult of personality. Or perhaps, it was never really a party of ideas at all, but instead merely what Lionel Trilling called a movement of “irritable mental gestures” that was willing to surrender its principles for a slogan on a hat.

The problem for conservatives should be obvious: by failing to stand up for their core values in the face of serial Trumpian outrages, they are effectively letting Trump redefine conservatism. A movement that once insisted that “character matters,” has now internalized Trump’s own moral vacuity, accepting a win-at-all costs ethic, even when the costs are all they said they believed in. Republican elected officials barely raise an eyebrow over evidence that suggests Trump lied about and attempted to cover up hush-money payments to porn stars and Playboy models with whom he had extramarital affairs. The party that once championed free markets now sits by as the President picks winners and losers, proposes massive bailouts and browbeats dissenters in the private sector. Rather than defending constitutional norms, some congressional Republicans have been active participants in the campaign to obstruct and undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. This week, 11 conservative House members filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe.

I suspect that many Republicans imagine that they will be able to reset the party after Trump leaves the political scene. But this seems increasingly naïve; by allowing themselves to become the party of Trump, they make the stain indelible. They are not servants of the public; they are servants to power. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to see this as a watershed. Republicans have not only ceded ground to the President, they have done so at profound cost to the norms of liberal constitutional democracy. Power ceded is difficult to get back; moral authority squandered is often lost forever. (See: the acceptance of presidential lies, embrace of incivility and indifference to sexual misconduct.) The problem here is not merely political, but also constitutional. The failure of Republicans to hold Trump accountable underlines what seems to be the growing irrelevance of Congress as a co-equal branch of government. It is unclear whether the courts will fill the void.

No one should celebrate the boiling of the frog. This is not a problem of one political party; the concessions being made by the party in power also makes our politics as a whole dumber, crueler, more isolated from reality and more extreme. In a post-truth, post-ethical world, what do have left to discuss or debate? Democracy requires certain shared understandings of truth and at least a minimal level of respect for moral standards and norms. But we are discovering that none of that can be taken for granted, and at least one political party is no longer interested or capable of defending those values.

A Cult, He’s Worse than Nixon, & a New Book

Make no mistake, cults are evil: 10-signs-the-Republican-Party-is-now-a-full-blown-cult.  As Bernstein of Watergate fame can attest to, we’ve never seen anything like Trump before: reporter-carl-bernstein-has-seen-it-all-from-nixon-to-now-but-nothing-quite-like-trump.  And Bernstein’s journalistic sidekick from Watergate, also look for the soon-to-be-released Bob Woodward book promising to be a bombshell on the White House, exposing the inside buffoonery of a clueless president: bob-woodward-new-book-trump.

Trump Dishonesty Seeks To Discredit Real News, & Elevate Fake News As State-Controlled Media 

Trump cries out “fake news” ad nauseam, seeking to smear the media since he seeks to suppress the truth.  He also seeks to sanction Fox News as the official state-run TV network, since like Russian or North Korean TV, they twist the truth in servitude to an autocratic leader while lavishing them with praise.  As our liar-in-chief, the truth is not a friend to the President.  See these excerpts from trump-has-repeatedly-tried-to-ban-and-punish-reporters:

President Trump has repeatedly sought official retaliation against journalists over how they question him, according to current and former administration sources who spoke with the Washington Post. In addition to his frequent public and private complaints that he is mistreated by the press, Trump has asked his aides to ban or revoke the credentials of reporters who offend him. And apparently nothing chafes the president more than when reporters call out questions during events. Such journalists are “the worst,” Trump has reportedly told aides, in addition to asking that the behavior be punished. Staff members had pushed back against or seemingly ignored the requests for retaliation — at least until this past week — when CNN’s Kaitlan Collins was banned from an open media event at the White House in retaliation for the way she had tried to question the president earlier in the day. The questions Collins had tried to get Trump to answer were also, coincidentally, ones he probably didn’t want to hear or talk about. One was whether the president felt betrayed by his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, now that Cohen appears to have flipped on Trump, and the other was about his controversial White House invitation to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president and alleged supervillain of the American electoral system. A week ago, the Post also reported that Trump had been furious that unsympathetic journalists were allowed to ask him questions during his disastrous joint press conference with Putin following their one-on-one summit in Helsinki. At the next summit with Putin, those reporters might be excluded.

What’s also historic is Trump’s almost pathological hostility to the press, which dates back to his presidential campaign, when staff didn’t just blacklist reporters that Trump found offensive, but entire media organizations. The bans were rescinded in the final few months of the campaign, but they may be back now if Trump is going to get what he wants. After all, if you are a White House aide, you might prefer to deal with the blowback of banning a journalist than deal with the aftermath of whatever Trump actually says when he tries to answer their question.

Trump keeps relentlessly attacking the free press: trump-tweet-storm-media, which is not only dangerous to our democracy, but very dangerous for individual journalists: trump-escalates-attack-against-media-after-nyt-publisher-warned-of-violence-against-journalists That most of the media coverage is negative is mostly on Trump, since his indiscretions that flow out of this presidency daily provide a never-ending supply of fodder: york-times-had-explain-donald.  Trump has become as irresponsible with the media as he is illogical: donald-trump-scared-facts-news-media-talker.  These excerpts below from trump-says-he-called-media-enemy-of-the-people-in-meeting-with-ny-times-publisher provide more details on the disagreements stemming from Trump’s meeting with the NY Times publisher, who expressed alarm at Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric.  The article also mentions Trump’s penchant for banning journalists, while also coaching his base not to believe what they see & hear (translation: don’t believe the facts), but only believe him (the mesmerizing instruction any cult leader teaches his flock):

President Trump escalated his feud with the news media on Sunday, accusing journalists of being unpatriotic and endangering lives after the publisher of the New York Times disclosed that he had warned Trump recently that his inflammatory rhetoric about the media could lead to violence. Trump — who has made “fake news” a rallying cry and labeled journalists the “enemy of the people” — fired off a Twitter tirade Sunday afternoon from his New Jersey golf estate blasting the media for revealing internal government deliberations and for what he considers unfairly negative coverage of his presidency. “When the media — driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome — reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk! Very unpatriotic!” Trump wrote. The president went on to say, “I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” singling out the Times and The Washington Post for writing “bad stories even on very positive achievements.” Trump seems to have been responding to the lengthy statement issued earlier Sunday by Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, who publicly detailed his July 20 meeting at the White House with the president. Trump first characterized their discussion as “a very good and interesting meeting,” writing in a Sunday morning tweet that he and Sulzberger “spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’”

Sulzberger said in his statement, based on his and Bennet’s notes, that he agreed to the meeting with Trump “to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.” “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” Sulzberger said. “I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.” He continued: “I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.” The publisher went on to say: “Throughout the conversation I emphasized that if President Trump, like previous presidents, was upset with coverage of his administration he was of course free to tell the world. I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”

Trump regularly expresses fury with the way he is covered in the news media, and he has long had a particular fascination with his coverage in the Times, dating to his many years of struggles to win the respect of Manhattan’s elite. In a speech last week at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Mo., Trump bashed the journalists covering the event, which drew a rebuke from VFW leadership. “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Trump said, gesturing to the press area of the venue. The president added, “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Also last week, the Trump White House barred CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from attending an open media event in the Rose Garden over her questioning of the president earlier that day. At various moments throughout his presidency, Trump has sought to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to bar those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentials, The Washington Post reported this past week.

Taking a Right Turn from WaPo, Rubin chimes in on this topic with her conclusion from journalists-are-at-risk-around-the-globe-trump-keeps-adding-fuel-to-the-fire:

Trump’s anti-press venom, which he tempered only briefly after the murder of five journalists in Annapolis a month ago, is the rhetoric of Stalin and modern-day thugs such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin of Russia (whose regime has been associated with the murder of multiple journalists), President Xi Jinping of China, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Egypt’s Abdel Fatah al-Sissi — on whom Trump routinely lavishes praise. Nearly as bad as Trump’s attacks on the press and its work (including recently barring a CNN reporter who had the temerity to shout questions on behalf of the press pool) is the Republican Party’s acquiescence and the cheerleading from the right-wing media, including Fox “News” evening hosts. (One wonders how Fox News executives, who recently offered support for the CNN reporter, justify the nonstop assault on the press by its own shows’ hosts.) The GOP is so invested in its cult of personality and the politics of anger and outrage against “liberal elites” that it cannot bring itself to object to the assault on one of our most cherished freedoms. Republicans are so cowed by the base and by Trump that they remain silent in the face of language they would have deplored coming from the Soviets in the Cold War, thereby normalizing Trump’s outrageous attacks. Complaints of press bias that fueled conservative anger for years have now morphed into populist vitriol directed at independent sources of knowledge, anyone who criticizes the president (e.g. former national security figures) and on truth itself. The Republican Party’s decision to abandon norms is one of the principal reasons many Americans (especially women, college-educated and suburban voters) are fleeing the party. Having only one of the major parties defend democratic values puts our constitutional system at risk. Fortunately, for all the venom Trump manufactures in his base, he’s managed to wake up the rest of the country to the danger he poses to liberal democracy. Voting Trump and his sycophants in Congress out of office cannot come soon enough for the sake of American democracy — and press freedom around the world.

Trump Dishonesty Skillfully & Passionately Called Out 

Hard to argue with donald-trump-may-be-the-worst-liar-in-political-history-and-its-getting-worse, except his base is so far removed from reality, they somehow believe Trump’s absurd drivel.  Please click on don-lemon-donald-trump-lies to see video comments by Don Lemon on his show, plus the text from the article is posted below.  Lemon is absolutely correct, except the number of provable lies from Trump during his presidency is actually now well over 3000:

CNN’s Don Lemon says Donald Trump’s presidency “can be defined by lies.” On Friday’s broadcast of “CNN Tonight,” the news anchor claimed Trump had told “well over 2,000” untruths during his time in the White House. Lemon said the “sheer number of lies can be overwhelming,” but also warned people may “become numb to all of this” and tell themselves it’s “just Trump being Trump.” “This is a man who built his campaign on lies,” Lemon continued, before noting just some of the falsehoods spouted by Trump before he’d even entered the Oval Office. In May, Lemon doubled down on calling Trump a racist.

Fox Fake News

Fox has been playing the Hillary card for more than 25 years, so it’s an old habit they just can’t let go of, especially since it still plays well with their preconditioned viewers.  It doesn’t matter that Hillary is no longer politically relevant, many show hosts keep barking that same old tune.  She remains a key diversion inside echo-world to explain away Trump’s troubles.  In the Foxian version of their alternate reality, if President Trump has lied to us over 3000 times, blame it on Hillary.  If hush money violating campaign laws were used to silence women Trump abused or had affairs with, blame it on Hillary.  If Trump tries to discredit the media, courts, security/intelligence agencies & others who won’t bow to him in order to control them, blame it on Hillary.  If Trump conspired with a foreign adversary to taint our election against Hillary, blame it all on Hillary.  It’s a recipe far removed from reality, but it’s what makes that tribal bubble-crowd watching their TV screens without discernment feel good: laura_ingraham_frantically_reacts_trump_approved_2016_meeting_kremlin_linked_lawyer_hillary_clinton.

The culture of sexual debauchery within Fox goes back decades.  Even a female host joined in on the games, & she’s now sonny-boy jr’s girlfriend: kimberly-guilfoyle-fox-news-sexual-harassment-allegations-arent-just-for-the-boys & also kimberly-guilfoyle-fox-news-misconduct-allegations.  Fox News has gotten so creepy, it’s as though a demonic spirit had descended on the studio from the moment Roger Ailes took over.  As for the echo-audience, I’ve maintained for a long time that far-right base don’t really think for themselves, since they are fully invested in whatever Fox & the echo tell them to think.  Apparently, our prez has the same problem.  It looks as though a goofy morning TV show is actually running the White House: John-Kelly-now-a-punching-bag-takes-backseat-to-Fox-Friends-on-influencing-Trump.  And here’s an update on a verifiable jackass: ohio-state-sexual-abuse-scandal-jim-jordan-implausibly-says-he-and-others-didnt-know.

Deep State Isn’t The Problem

The so-called deep state is mostly a buzzword dreamed up by the echo to use as a scapegoat, giving them another entity to blame in deflecting the justifiable criticisms directed at the echo & their leader, or in using to accuse their political opponents for the problems Trump world actually brought on themselves.  So their version of deep state is really just another recognized boogeyman to feed red meat to the base.  Like many invented phrases, deep state is now fully part of the lexicon ingrained in the feeble minds of their fans.  Many of these related far-right conspiracies are waaaaaaay out there conspiracy-theorist-claims-child-camp-arizona-qanon, plus see these excerpts from trump-seems-barely-in-charge-of-his-appointees correctly pointing out it’s not the deep state which is the real problem, rather it’s this incompetent presidency:

“This isn’t normal” has become a cliche in commentary about the Trump administration. But we have focused too little on one of the most important and settled norms that Trump has flouted: the norm that the administration is an extension of the will of the president who heads it. Republicans in particular have emphasized the idea that the Constitution vests all executive power in the president. The theorists say that a “unitary executive” is essential so that voters know whom to hold accountable for the executive branch’s performance, and so that voters’ choice of a president has the full effect that it should. But disunity in the executive is a theme that runs through several recent controversies surrounding the Trump administration. The Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin and its aftermath showed the president to be isolated inside his own Cabinet. 

Trump contradicted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats about whether Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and whether it would do it again. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis made a public defense of our alliance with Montenegro; Trump criticized that alliance. This degree of public disagreement never occurred during, say, Bill Clinton’s presidency. The airing of even smaller disagreements would have been treated as a major problem for previous administrations, one resolved by a public display of unity behind a considered position set by the president. The Trump administration, by contrast, hardly tries to tamp down the cacophony. He does not listen to his appointees, and in return they don’t try to give voice to his views. Whether he is opining about the Justice Department or Russian operations, Trump gets his information from Fox News. He doesn’t get it from the people he has put in charge of his law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering bureaucracies.

Asked about the Helsinki summit, Trump said that he considers Putin responsible for Russia’s interference in the U.S. election just as he considers himself “responsible for things that happen in this country.” Yet he often appears not to be in charge of even his own administration. Just as the unitary-executive theorists would predict, a fragmented presidency has been, at least sometimes, an ineffective and unaccountable one. The administration’s family-separation policy was carried out chaotically, with different officials in the chain of command offering contradictory accounts of what the policy and its rationale were. Trump’s partisans say that he is being undermined. But what really differentiates this presidency from others is not how much the permanent bureaucracy has been resisting his agenda. It’s how little effort the president puts into translating his goals into purposeful and unified executive action. The “deep state” is largely a myth. The shallow presidency is real.