Political Theatre category archive
Robert Reich suggests the media practice truth in labeling as regards Donald Trump’s words and deeds. Here’s one of his points; follow the link for the other five (emphasis in the original):
Baloney. They’re lies, plain and simple.
Early last year, the Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief insisted that the Journal wouldn’t label Trump’s false statements as “lies.” Lying, said the editor, requires a deliberate intention to mislead, which couldn’t be proved in Trump’s case.
Wrong. Normal presidents may exaggerate; some occasionally lie. But Trump has taken lying to an entirely new level. He lies like other people breathe. Almost nothing that comes out of his mouth can be assumed to be true.
For Trump, lying is part of his overall strategy, his M.O. and his pathology. Not to call them lies, or to not deem him a liar, is itself misleading.
Paul Krugman points out that you cannot make a deal with someone who cannot be trusted. A snippet:
On Friday night, something unprecedented happened: The U.S. government shut down temporarily even though the same party controls both Congress and the White House. Why? Because when it comes to Trump, a deal isn’t a deal — it’s just words he feels free to ignore a few days later.
There are two things you need to realize about Trump’s utter unreliability. First, it has ramifications that go far beyond the recent shutdown. Second, it’s made possible, or at least much worse, by his enablers in Congress.
I think Farron’s harping on the Hatch Act was a bit overboard, though it may (I am not a lawyer) be technically accurate. The lies of a lying liar is the primary issue.
Dick Polman quotes someone about where problems start.
On the eve of the 2013 government shutdown, a cable TV pundit opined: “Who is going to take the blame? Who is going to bear the brunt of responsibility? It always has to be the top. Problems start from the top and they have to get solved from the top and the president is the leader and he’s got to get everybody in a room and he’s got to lead.”
So said beauty pageant magnate Donald Trump.
He goes on to provide evidence of the validity of that statement.
The Des Moines Register’s Rekha Basu comments on a proposal in the Iowa legislature to teach Bible studies in Iowa public schools. The studies will masquerade as “historical.”
The promoters of the bill argue that the Bible is central to American heritage, when, in fact, it is not. With the exception of the Massachusetts Puritans and the Rhode Island Baptists (who founded Rhode Island to escape the oppression of the Puritans–look it up), most of the colonists were spectacularly apathetic to religion; they were more interested in gold than in godliness. (Religion did not become a significant factor in American public life until the “Great Awakening” of the 1830s.)
Here’s a bit of her column:
So my worry is the opposite of Zahn’s (the primary sponsor of the bill–ed.). It’s that with all these politically motivated versions of truth being floated out there, including denials about evolution and climate change, Americans are at risk of confusing religious beliefs with provable fact. That could really put our democracy in peril.
Zahn’s contention that American values “did not spring from the cornucopia of ‘world religions’ but specifically from the Judeo-Christian scriptures” hints at something else, a mindset that America is not a place for a new immigrant population of different faiths. It has disturbing echoes of Rep. Steve King’s contention that America can’t restore its civilization with “someone else’s babies.”
Lee interviews Ted Rall and Harmon Leon about their recent book about Leon’s infiltrating the deplorables. They offer a taxonomy of deplorability. (Warning: Language.)
I disagree somewhat with Ted Rall’s view that Donald Trump has continued President Obama’s foreign policy for two reasons, though I share is discomfort with raining robotic death from the skies.
I think Rall has an overly simplistic view of the agency of any president in foreign policy and discounts the pressures of public opinion as it bears on a president’s power, and I think it is arguable that Donald Trump has no policy, foreign or domestic, other than self-aggrandisement and narcissism.
Almost a year ago, I predicted that, in the time of Trumpery, the U. S. was on its way to becoming a pariah nation.
The Republican Party controls the Congress and the White House (though, in the case of the latter, “controls” may not be the correct term). They got no one else to blame, but, natch, they will certainly blame away, blame away, blame away, Dixiel–sorry, got distracted. I wonder whatever it may be about Republicans that led me to free-associate to that tune?
Gina Barreca fears the polity is losing the war. A snippet:
Jay Bookman comments on the potential shutdown of the U. S. government and at the Republican schism behind it. Here’s how he starts:
Thom and Bernie Sanders discuss the implications of a government shutdown.
James G. Blaine asks the question:
Good lord, is this what it’s come to in this country? Parsing vulgarities? How can we continue to debase both our language and ourselves? How long will our politicians change the subject to avoid taking any kind of a stand? How much of our dignity, our honor, our standing in the world are we willing to sacrifice for a 1% cut in a millionaire’s income tax or getting an anti-abortion justice on the Supreme Court or drilling for oil in the Alaskan wilderness? How much more of this can we stand before the sh*thole country is us?
Follow the link to find out whether he has an answer for it (hint: not really).