Posts Tagged ‘lies’

An hysterical Republican message

October 3, 2018

Because I once contributed, I still get Republican fundraising emails. It’s a revealing — and scary — window into their world. (Click here for one parroting Trump’s despicable “spygate” lie.)

A message I received Monday was hysterical — in both senses of the word. I literally burst out laughing. It’s from a PAC called “GreatAgain.org.” Here’s how it begins:

Frank:

The Democrats have struck a blow to President Trump’s

Supreme Court Nominee—Brett Kavanaugh.

They spent nearly 2 weeks trashing his reputation

and insinuating he’s a rapist.

Now they’re delaying a Constitutionally required

UP OR DOWN VOTE!

Umm . . . Merrick Garland?? Whose Supreme Court seat Republicans stole by refusing to vote at all — denying it was “Constitutionally required?”

That’s what made me laugh out loud. The shameless hypocrisy is beyond hysterical. But it isn’t funny that these creeps are actually in power in America.

In addition to asking (of course) for money, “GreatAgain” urged calling three wavering senators to “demand” a vote for Kavanaugh, helpfully listing their numbers:

Call these Senators and tell them:

“We’re not playing this game.”

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine (R-ME)      (202) 224-2523

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA)                   (202) 224-3954

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska (R-AK)   (202) 224-6665

So, thanks to GreatAgain, I did contact the three: urging a vote AGAINST Kavanaugh, who’s crucially lied about his position on Roe v. Wade, if nothing else; who plenty of evidence shows was a nasty drunk; and whose out-of-control partisan rant before the Judiciary Committee renders him totally unfit for the nation’s highest court.

Last night we had some people over. We don’t drink beer, but my wife filled the fridge with 6-packs. “What,” I said to her, “were you expecting Kavanaugh?”

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Statement by the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh

September 25, 2018

Members of the Senate, and fellow citizens:

Telling the truth

Two women — Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and Deborah Ramirez — have described episodes of improper sexual behavior, by me, as a teenager. I wish that I could continue my denial about these things. But, searching my heart and soul, I no longer can.

These things did happen, they were wrong, and I profoundly regret them. To say otherwise now would compound the offense — compound it by lying, and compound the injury I committed against these women by falsely calling them liars; indeed, further, by subjecting them to the kind of disgraceful partisan vilification we have already seen. Instead of that, I wish to extend to Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez my heartfelt, though much belated, apologies.

I could say that my past misdeeds in question occurred in an extreme state of inebriation. That is true, but doesn’t excuse the behavior. Getting so drunk was itself irresponsible and wrong. I could also say that such behavior was condoned, indeed encouraged, by the “boys will be boys” frat culture in which I was immersed at the time. That is also true, and also not exculpatory. That culture was rotten; my participation inexcusable.

I come before you now as a reformed, repentant sinner. The long-ago episodes at issue have weighed upon my soul ever since. I have tried to atone for them by living the rest of my life — more than a third of a century — in the opposite way. So that when I stand before my God, for judgement, those three decades of what I hope has been mature right conduct will outweigh the wrongs I so carelessly committed as a foolish, callow youth. And, senators, I put myself before you for the same judgement. Hopeful that you will see me as the man I have been for thirty years; not the boy I was so long ago.

Finally, in the same spirit of honest truthfulness, I wish to add this. I have said that I consider Roe v. Wade settled law. That is true, but not the whole truth. Of course the Supreme Court can change settled law. I believe Roe v. Wade was a wrong decision, and if presented with a case posing that issue, I would vote to reverse it.

(Note to readers: the above is satire.)

QAnon and the Republican war on reality

August 5, 2018

QAnon” is the handle of an online person or group claiming access to all kinds of secret information (“Q” refers to a high security clearance) about “deep state” conspiracies against Trump; with Trump actually being the great mastermind behind everything. QAnonism is spreading like wildfire among his Republican fans, especially at his rallies (where big “Q” signs are proliferating).

Included in the deranged QAnon catechism: Kim Jong-Un is actually a CIA puppet; the Democratic National Committee hired Salvadoran Gang MS-13 to murder its staffer Seth Rich; the Mueller probe is actually a counter-coup by Trump himself to expose Democratic wrongdoing; Obama, Hillary, and George Soros are child traffickers, also plotting a coup; that Trump’s enemies like John McCain wear ankle bracelets so he can track them; that J.P. Morgan sank the Titanic; that the Rothschild family heads a satanic cult. That QAnon explains the whole universe and will usher in a Christian “great awakening.”

The clues to all this are labeled “breadcrumbs.” When asked, QAnoners are fuzzy about how the dots actually connect and just say follow the breadcrumbs. But they’re certain it’s all true.

Striking too is the crazed obsession to pin fantastical misdeeds on Hillary — admittedly no paragon of virtue — and Obama, who actually was one, guilty only of officeholding-while-black — while blind to unquestioned facts showing Trump as the filthiest turd in U.S. political history.

In June a guy was arrested on terrorism charges after driving an armored vehicle, wielding an AR-15, and blocking traffic for two hours at Hoover Dam, claiming to be on a QAnon mission demanding release of an FBI report on Hillary (that had actually already been released). Previously another guy shot up a pizza parlor flagged by QAnon for having a Hillary-run pedophile ring headquartered in its basement. (Allegedly.)

Loopy radio conspiracy monger Alex Jones earlier promoted QAnonism, but now it’s too far out even for him. Even for Alex Jones. So now, within the Republican universe, Alex Jones is something of a moderate.

Meantime, at his recent Pennsylvania rally, Trump loudly called Russian election meddling a “hoax,” even while the rest of his government held a top-level meeting sounding the alarm about Russian election meddling. He also said “Russia is very unhappy that Trump won, that I can tell you.” While Putin, standing beside him just weeks earlier in Helsinki, openly said he’d wanted Trump to win.

So Trump lies outrageously to a huge crowd, and they cheer madly. (Literally.) Those waiting for his base to turn against him for something got their final answer in Helsinki where he sold us out to Russia. And 79% of Republicans (in an Axios poll) approved his Helsinki performance.

“Great awakening?” More like a great conking out.

My previous review of a book about conspiracy theories is worth re-reading (click here). It explains the deep evolutionary and psychological reasons why conspiracy theories (like QAnonism) find a ready audience. And we all want to believe what we’d like to be true. Yet most people retain a grip on reality. Except Republicans.

That’s not just a cheap shot but making a serious point. Having been a Republican myself till last year, I am still struggling to understand why most Republicans have totally drunk this Kool-Aid. I keep returning to the point that most of them believe in a supernatural god, Heaven, Hell, and the Bible. Does sustaining such fantasy beliefs compromise the brain’s ability to grasp reality — priming it to accept all the constant massive Trump lies?

Most religious people are able to compartmentalize — keeping their faith delusions in a separate mental folder, while thinking rationally and normally in other spheres. Even Republicans seemed to do this, until Trump came along. I could see through him from the start, as a very bad character in every possible way. I watched with horror as most other Republicans, en masse, dove over the cliff like lemmings. Where were their critical faculties?

This would be sad for them if Republicans were on some island of their own, and the rest of us could move on. But with 40% of our electorate embedded in this meshugas, it infects everything.

America has built up a tremendous reservoir of assets over two centuries. Strong institutions, rule of law, a culture that promotes dynamism, and a wonderful population full of good energetic people. And again, despite religious faith, empiricism was a crucially prevailing ethos. Empiricism means knowledge grounded in reality. Without that, we’re cast adrift. But now America’s leader actively, intentionally, assiduously works to destroy the line between reality and falsehood, and the credibility of real information sources. With too many following him down that road to perdition.

I have on my wall an enlargement of a onetime U.S. postage stamp that proclaimed “America’s light fueled by truth and reason.”

That light is going out.

Trump’s “spygate” — biggest scandal in political history

May 31, 2018

In a personal conversation, journalist Lesley Stahl asked Trump why he says bad things about the press. He answered candidly: “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”

Straight out of the would-be dictator’s playbook. Trump can’t (yet) lock up journalists and shut down newspapers and TV stations, like in Turkey, Russia, or Venezuela. But what he can do is neutralize them by undermining their credibility. If the public stops believing them, they might as well be shut down.

That gets rid of one key check upon his power. Another comes from within the government itself. Indeed, that was a foundational concept of our system (remembering King George) — rule of law rather than by men.

Trump wars against that too — our infrastructure of internal accountability — the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Mueller investigation which, recall, was started because Trump fired the FBI director to squelch the Russia investigation. An independent probe was considered needed. Trump’s strategy is not to actually refute any eventual charges but to get them disregarded.

His weapons? Lies, lies, and more lies.

Previously it was alleged political bias. Simply a lie (Mueller is a Republican).

“Spygate” is another lie. Trump says the FBI “implanted, for political reasons, into my campaign” a “spy,” and this is one of the “biggest scandals in history.” (As if he knows any history.)

I know a lot of history, actually. And what is in fact our worst scandal ever is a president assaulting the pillars of our democratic system and rule of law with a shameless campaign of lies.

It wasn’t a “spy” and he wasn’t “implanted” and it wasn’t “for political reasons.” He was someone who spoke with some Trump campaign operatives which he reported to the FBI, which was already investigating the Russia links. Simply routine law enforcement practice.

Think. If the FBI was really out to screw Trump, they could have simply made public the fact that his campaign was under investigation for criminal Russian involvement. Far more explosive than anything in the Hillary/email investigation — which the FBI did make public before the election — probably sinking her candidacy. The scandal, if anything, was publicizing the Hillary probe and not the Trump one.

“Spygate” is just a Trump smokescreen to obfuscate the basic fact that Russia, not the FBI, messed with our election, on Trump’s behalf; and to discredit the Mueller investigation. So (just like he told Lesley Stahl about the press) when something damning comes out, people won’t believe it.

At least those people he counts on as suckers for his con game. His Republican base, for whom tribal solidarity now trumps everything. There’s no lie they won’t embrace if necessary.

This includes many Republicans in Congress (like Devin Nunes). And those who do know better are so cowed by their partisan voters, they dare not whisper such heresy. They betray America and (what used to be) its fundamental values.

How bad is it? Click here for a GOP fundraising email I just got, with the “spygate” party line: it’s the DOJ and FBI (not Trump) lying; the FBI’s conduct (not Trump’s) that “cuts to the very heart of democracy!”

Right now, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray stand as a kind of Maginot Line shielding our democracy against this attack. An ominous metaphor.

Trump’s blitzkrieg of lies is winning. Confidence in the press and in the Mueller investigation erodes, while Trump’s support edges up toward 50%. (In almost any other country, and in our own past, a leader behaving like him would be in single digits.) So what will happen when Mueller delivers his final verdict? Probably nothing. Democrats will scream, while Republicans dismiss it as fake news. Our worst scandal ever, and justice will not triumph.

And by November 2020, it will all have faded into the background. Voting is swayed most by events closest to the polling date. Democrats will likely pitch their campaign to Boston and Berkeley with Bernie. Trump will be re-elected. Then he’ll be really unbound.

Abby Martin: Burned alive in Venezuela

May 25, 2018

I have strong beliefs. I know many people with different strong beliefs. I don’t lean left, but most who do are good people, sincere in wanting human progress. The “hard left” is another story. These are hard people, of burning passion, burning their souls to cinders.

When I googled “hard left,” Corbyn’s picture was all over the results

These are the ones who spout about “social justice” for downtrodden people whose rights are abused — yet are slavish apologists for some of the world’s worst regimes, that trod people down and abuse their rights — as long as they call themselves “socialist.” Or “anti-imperialist.” Or they’re just hostile toward America. One such character is British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. One such regime is Venezuela’s.

When Venezuela’s opposition won Congress, the Maduro regime simply ignored that body and supplanted it with an assembly of hand-picked loyalists. Then Maduro “won” a fraudulent re-election. The opposition was not allowed to organize or campaign, its leaders were jailed, and the count was faked anyway. No free press survives there.

Maduro

Maduro gets away with this because the courts are packed and the army co-opted. The regime is a criminal gang, which includes the army brass, using guns to crush dissent while looting the country to enrich themselves.

“Socialist” Venezuela went, in less than two decades, from the top of Latin America’s income scale to the bottom. The state oil outfit is stuffed with political operatives; its infrastructure and output have collapsed. A thicket of insane rules makes productive enterprise virtually impossible. Its lack has plunged most of the population into poverty, exacerbated by hyperinflation running thousands of percent monthly, wiping out people’s savings. For most, life has become a daily struggle just to eat. Medicines are largely unobtainable. Widespread protests have been violently suppressed, with hundreds killed, and large numbers jailed and tortured.

A recent PBS on-the-scene report showed a river where previously a few guys had eked out subsistence by sifting the silt for occasional coins or other “treasures.” Now the site is crowded by around a hundred doing it for ever slimmer pickings. But the country’s hottest ticket was seen at the bus depot — a ticket out — with hordes queueing in hopes of snagging one. Many forced to leave loved ones behind.

I have closely followed the Venezuela situation, informed by reports like that one on PBS, NPR, and authoritative news sources like The Economist magazine; my wife monitors Univision in Spanish.

Abby Martin

NPR’s program “Alternative Radio” — far left or hard left radio, really — provides a different perspective. The other night they had journalist Abby Martin. She started talking about her reporting trip to Venezuela, emphasizing telling her editor she would report just exactly what she saw. I wondered what she was expecting to see, that would prompt such a warning.

What she saw, Martin said, totally contradicted the familiar picture painted by mainstream sources (which I’ve summarized). This, she repeatedly stressed, was what she actually observed.

The Maduro government, Martin said, is in reality very popular, among the poor and blacks. Its opponents are really just the former elites, knocked off their cozy perches. It’s not true that store shelves are bare. Some are, but she reported seeing well-stocked ones. Toilet paper is in short supply, but other paper and hygiene products are plentiful. Martin concluded that (as the Maduro regime claims), Venezuela’s economic troubles are caused by a sabotage campaign mounted by outside forces, mainly America.

As to the violence, Martin said in fact it’s all being perpetrated by protesters themselves. Who are fascists. If anything, Venezuela’s police are too lax in not stopping them. People have been lynched — burned alive. Martin repeated “lynched” and “burned alive” several times. She said she truly feared for her own life, was chased by a lynch mob, and was lucky to get out alive.

While I was still trying to process what I was hearing, Martin switched subjects. Now (as my followers know), I am no Trump fan. But Martin’s anti-Trump rant came out of left field — hard left field. Weirdly echoing Trump’s own claim that some deep-state conspiracy is trying to do him down, Martin said the plutocrats who control the world want to get rid of Trump because he makes their enterprise look bad. Or something like that.

Anyhow, now I had Martin’s number, and could better evaluate her Venezuela reportage. I have pondered it deeply.

The government’s popularity? Even the vilest regimes have their core supporters — those bought off, or who swallow the propaganda. The best available sources put that at around 17% in Venezuela. (It’s over 40% in America.)

Outside forces causing Venezuela’s economic woes? Cuba has been embargoed openly, for far longer, and far more comprehensively, yet Cuba’s economy (wretched though it is), doesn’t compare with Venezuela’s collapse. Its cause in the regime’s own behavior is indisputable.

Regime opponents are fascists? What, were they wearing “Viva Fascismo!” T-shirts? Fascist is the epithet of choice the hard left always hurls at those it doesn’t like. Russian propaganda tried to justify its Ukraine aggression by labeling Ukraine’s government, and the pro-democracy Maidan demonstrators, as fascists, even Nazis. Abby Martin calling “fascist” those Venezuelans protesting destruction of their democracy, and living standard, says more about Martin than the protesters. (I have since learned that Martin previously hosted a show on RT America. “RT” stands for Russia Today, a Putin regime propaganda vehicle.)

And the violence? “Lynching” is another of those favorite leftist words (evoking the true horror of Jim Crow lynchings). “Burning alive” is better yet. But for all her claims to be reporting what she saw, she stopped short of saying she witnessed any burnings.

If Maduro regime opponents burned anyone alive, wouldn’t the regime shout it from the rooftops? It has not.

Reliable reports do confirm that journalists in Venezuela have been victims of mob violence — killing at least one — perpetrated by pro-regime gangs. (In researching this piece, I did see a reference to one person lynched, but the report didn’t say who did it.)

Abby Martin

So — was Abby Martin just simply lying? (As noted, she’s a veteran of Russian propaganda TV.) She was telling the story she went down there to find — that she wanted to be true, and felt ought to have been true. Better for the cause if it were true. But the cause trumps the truth; ends justify means. Perhaps she even believed that her lies embodied, somehow, a deeper truth than the reality which, so perversely, wouldn’t cooperate.

Abby Martin’s fiery hard left ideology has burned her soul to a cinder. She’s been burned alive, you might say.

Let’s recap

June 10, 2017

The big story, according to Trump and his flacks, is his total vindication by Comey’s testimony that Trump was not under FBI investigation.

This is fake news. A lie. Because that was never even an issue. Instead, the issues were Trump’s improper attempts to stop the investigation of Russian meddling and of Michael Flynn; and his firing Comey.

Comey testified that he made careful notes of his conversations with Trump because he feared Trump would lie about them. And that Trump did lie, “plain and simple,” in saying he was fired because of disarray at the FBI and lack of support within the agency. Trump later said he actually fired Comey to get the Russia investigation off his back. Thus confirming that his other stories about it were, indeed, lies.

Yet White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated: “I can definitively say the president is not a liar.” Seriously? How many of his hundreds of documented lies need one mention? (Like his giant whopper that Obama wiretapped him.)

Then first his lawyer Kasowitz, and then the Liar-in-chief himself, denied that he’d demanded a pledge of loyalty from Comey.* Trump also denied asking Comey to lay off on Flynn. He added that it wouldn’t have been wrong anyway. (Bzzt. It most surely was wrong.) But if it’s Comey’s credibility versus Trump’s — are you kidding me?

Trump also called Comey a “showboater.” As if that doesn’t in fact describe Trump.

And called him a “nutjob.” As if that doesn’t in fact describe Trump. 

The Lie House has also gotten much mileage labeling Comey a “leaker.” This from the guy who actually blabbed highly sensitive classified information to the Russians, in the Oval Office! The very day after a Congressional hearing into Russian meddling! But never mind that. To call Comey a “leaker” is yet another lie. Comey gave the press his personal notes about conversations he’d had that were not privileged or classified. That’s not “leaking.”

Then Paul Ryan covered himself with shame by cheerily waving off the whole ghastly story as merely the missteps of an inexperienced beginner. Begging the issue of having a president so clueless. But it’s naive to think Trump was acting from naivite. Even my cat would know his interactions with Comey were improper.

* Trump accidentally said something true at his press conference when a reporter misspoke by asking whether Comey had asked him for a pledge of loyalty. “No he did not,” Trump robotically answered.

Trump – Comey – Russia

May 10, 2017

“Russia” was the first thing I thought of when hearing that Trump had fired FBI Director Comey. (On the PBS Newshour, devoting its first half to the story, Russia wasn’t mentioned till the 28th minute.)

Trump didn’t like Comey’s refuting his lie that Obama wiretapped him. But the fake-news reason given for the firing is the supposed inappropriateness of Comey’s announcement last summer that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted. Not that she should have been; it’s Comey’s explaining that was supposedly improper. Really?

This is especially bizarre considering it was Comey’s late October announcement, that the Clinton investigation was being reopened, that really did seem improper. It almost certainly changed the election outcome. Which notion Comey now says makes him “mildly nauseous.” Only mildly?

Piling on more bizarrity is Trump’s assertion, in his letter firing Comey, that Comey had told him he’s not under investigation. Which may well be untrue, but in any case should be irrelevant to Comey’s firing. But of course Trump is mentally ill.

However, the main point is that this is surely all about the FBI’s investigation of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia’s election meddling. That the meddling happened is incontrovertible (and an extremely serious matter). Putin hated Hillary and wanted Trump to win mainly because he (unlike Trump voters) understood how much a Trump presidency would damage America. But the real FBI question is whether Trump operatives criminally conspired with the Russians. Fear of that answer led Trump to fire Comey.

Trump claims to have acted to restore public confidence in the FBI. What utter bullshit. Now he can appoint a toady FBI Director who will stifle the Russia investigation. A great way to restore public confidence.

Arguably, in fact, this constitutes obstruction of justice, a criminal offense (and grounds for impeachment).