In The Roanoke Times, history professor Robert A. Strong recounts examples of lies from various Presidential administrations from Eisenhower (denying spy flights over Russia) through Kennedy (denying having Addison’s disease) through Carter (denying planning military action to rescue the hostages in Iran) through Reagan through Clinton and so on. He points out that the lies have generally ranged from national security issues to campaign promises to personal issues, but that they stopped short of denying objective reality that was in public view.
He maintains that Trump’s lies are different in both degree and kind (emphasis added).
All of this brings us to Donald Trump, already the most fantastic liar ever to occupy the Oval Office. Trump lies about everything. He talks about terrorist attacks in Sweden that no one in Sweden managed to notice. He blames Obama for the bugging of Trump Tower without any actual evidence that the surveillance took place or that the former president ordered it. He claims a bigger victory in the electoral college than any president since Reagan — a statement so patently false that a ten-year-old could prove its inaccuracy in a matter of minutes.
In a piece that eerily covers the same ground, Der Spiegel suggests that Trump is more interested in freedom of propaganda than in freedom of the press.
Before Trump, every president accepted that the press plays an important role in the country’s democracy. That it is the media’s job to scrutinize the government in power and to challenge it. (Clinton press secretary Mike–ed.) McCurry says Clinton used to get very upset by reports, but he never admitted as much in public, and that’s the difference.
McCurry believes that Trump would like to curtail press freedom. “If he could issue an order that the only coverage allowed of him was positive, he would do so without delay.”
I’m a Southern Boy. I grew up under Jim Crow and went to segregated schools, as I have mentioned from time to time in these electrons. I had ancestors who owned slaves. My degree is in history with a concentration in U. S. Southern.
As I’ve added experience to my studies, I have more and more concluded that race and racism are constant undercurrents (and sometimes overcurrents) in American politics, however energetically white Americans try to pretend otherwise.
A half century ago, Richard Nixon’s odious Southern strategy caused the Republican Party to morph into the party of racism and bigotry.
Nixon thought that he could use Southern bigots and racists to cement his power (that worked out very nicely, did it not?); now, half a century later, his strategy had come full circle and the powers that he invited into his party have consumed it. Bigotry and racism are fundamental elements underlying Republican polices and positions, central elements to their campaign strategies.
This week, the results of Nixon’s decision to open Republican doors wide to racists played out quite publicly in Republicans’ failed attempt to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that Republicans chose to refer to as “Obamacare,” for reasons that Atrios summed up brilliantly yesterday so I don’t have to.
David Ruth explains that fantastical things sometimes come to pass.
This is probably the inevitable result when laws are cooked up by a speaker of the House of Representatives who has treated the post as if he is president of the Ayn Rand Society.
More at the link.
*One more time: Is there any other kind of planning?
For all their bleating about “personal responsibility,” Republicans always seem surprised to find out that their own actions have consequences.
Catherine Rampell looks at the backstory of the Republican “they laughingly call it health care” bill. A snippet:
Among the biggest are repeals of two ACA surtaxes on the highest-earning Americans: a 0.9 percent payroll tax add-on and a 3.8 percent tax on net investment income for couples whose incomes exceed $250,000 ($200,000 for individuals).
The presence of expensive tax cuts in a bill purportedly about health-care reform is not a side effect; it’s the entire point. They make it easier for Republicans’ (much bigger) individual and corporate tax cuts to sail through the Senate with minimal Democratic obstruction in a few months’ time.
A writer to editor of The Roanoke Times recalls the suffering of a nephew stricken with cystic fibrosis at the age of six weeks and marvels at Republican efforts to gut health care coverage.
Bob Goodlatte, you and many of your congressional colleagues are adamantly opposed to the Affordable Care Act. I can only surmise that none of you has loved ones who 1) struggle with chronic illnesses, 2) must pay hundreds of dollars each month for medications and treatments in order to maintain even a minimal quality of life, 3) have attained or are reaching an age when they will no longer be covered on their parents’ insurance, and/or 4) are or will be denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions.