Saturday, June 10, 2017

He No Longer Knows When He's Lying

In a bizarre twist at the end of a very bizarre week, the Liar-in-Chief accused James Comey of lying. And he offered to testify under oath -- as if raising his hand would make a difference. Ezra Klein's conclusion is inescapable:

The United States government cannot be trusted so long as Donald Trump runs it.

That is the simple, chilling takeaway of James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It is separate from the legal question of whether Trump obstructed justice, or the political question of whether congressional Republicans care even if he did. 

The picture Comey paints of Trump is also, importantly, the picture Trump paints of himself: He is a man who lies constantly, who values loyalty over integrity, who has little understanding of nor respect for the values and restraints that people in power impose on themselves to keep from misusing their positions, and who intends to use both his powers of hiring and firing to stock the government with people who will serve him first and the country second. 

The debate will intensify about whether Trump is guilty of obstructing justice. But regardless of how that debates ends, Jim Cornette got it right. "He’s a TV star, and he can say, ‘I’ll fix this, it’ll be great, trust me!’ I wouldn’t believe him if his tongue was notarized." Comey testified that he kept contemporaneous records of his conversations with Trump because he didn't trust him. Angela Merkel has said the same thing. Klein writes:

Stop and consider Comey’s estimation for a moment. A longtime prosecutor, Justice Department official, and eventually FBI chief, Comey thought he couldn’t trust the president of the United States of America to meet with him without lying. And of course, Trump couldn’t. Trump lies constantly. And Comey was proven right in his particular case, as Trump has repeatedly lied about him. 

And this man is the president of the United States of America.
Trump initially had his White House say Comey was fired over his handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails, only to later admit Comey was fired over the Russia investigation, only to later say it was actually the emails. Trump has said he may release tapes of his conversations with Comey — tapes he clearly doesn’t have (“Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey said today). Trump repeatedly told Comey he was doing a great job only to turn around and tell the country he was doing a horrible job.
Put aside where you think the truth lies in any of these judgments. The simple fact is the president of the United States lies routinely, about matters big and small. He lies about the size of his Electoral College victory. He lies about whether he’ll cut Medicaid. He is a liar. 

But what is truly disturbing is the nagging impression that Trump no longer knows when he's lying. 



Dana said...

Welcome back. We're ready for our open houses here in the coming week. Traffic and noise seems to increase every day here now. Can hardly wait to be out of Greater Vancouver.

Coyne and Klein may have chatted on the phone about their columns today.

Owen Gray said...

We left Toronto to come here 31 years ago, Dana. I have never regretted giving up the morning and evening commutes. I note that Coyne believes if Tricky Dicky knew how to lie like Trump, he'd have lasted his full eight years. Let's hope Trump won't last that long.

The Mound of Sound said...

Nixon's lying and Trump's bear no resemblance. Nixon lied in the hope he would be believed. Those are lies that have to be meted out carefully and consistently. Trump likes like a punk, willing to say anything no matter how contradictory and inconsistent his train of lies becomes. Not for nothing are Mattis and Tillerson on a non-stop global tour flying around the world to assure America's allies not to take the US president's comments at face value. Obama nailed it. He called Trump a "bullshitter." It's non-stop bullshit and there's a mountain of it right out behind the barn just waiting for anyone who gets the chance to test Trump's veracity under oath.

You seem to have endured the move. Good to hear it. Remember when we were young how relatively easy it was to change apartments? Then we go through the decades of accumulation and moving becomes a Herculean chore. Then comes the downsizing. One of life's unavoidable ordeals.

Owen Gray said...

What is remarkable, Mound, is that Trump appears to believe that he can get away with lying. Apparently, he has never learned what the Greeks -- and Nixon -- learned to their chagrin: What goes around, comes around.

We have been downsizing for a year. And, now that we are in our new home, my wife and I realize that the contraction is unfinished. There is still more to do. But we tell ourselves it's for the best.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back, Owen.

Dana said...

Ahhh, it's all just "stuff".

Owen Gray said...

Glad to be back, lovingit.

Owen Gray said...

He was brilliant, Dana -- and so right.

the salamander said...

.. surely there's folks far more qualified than I - to frame not just the fake president, but his immediate family - and do so in conjunction with his political factions & his gruntled base. Gruntled by the way is via Neil Gaiman.

I look at the USA today & of course see the extended militsry might, the vast population.. all the trappings of a poweful nation.. but I also see the disease. The mestastisizing of which.. is how I look upon the USA. This was touched upon heavily in past posts of yours & via your readers' comments. Whatever analogy was used, they all hit the marl. A boiling pot, civil war, a violent eruption etc.

The GOP in particular is diseased. That's right - DISEASED.

Donald Trump is diseased as well.. but I believe he reflects more a parasitic disease or is more the metastisizing agent. The manifestation of the most dangerous aspect of a panopoly of disease. Prople don't die of pneumonia - they die of the process of dead cells - which overburden the cellular system. The dead cells fought in the war called pneumonia Or folks may die from other aspects of the cascade which occurs when an already ailing body is weakend past the breaking point by pneumonia.

We can say 'they died from a heart attack or a stoke' but does adress the reality in many cases? Bad diet over a lifetime? A predisposition to clogged arteries? Or they died from a tragic car accident - but if drumk driving or excessive speed or underinflated tires was involved, that's what truly killed them.

So here we are today.. a diseased USA in triage or in a MASH tent - needing intensive care and a thorough examination, diagnosis and treatment protocol based on evidense based science.. and the doctor is in the house. In the White House. Along with his interns & residents.. here to save the day. But on two fronts he is not a medical solution. In fact his credentials are forged and fake.. and he is a carrier of the disease inflicting America. He doesn't need to wash his hands, he has a bloody scalpel in his suit jacket wrapped in a dirty snot rag. Not for him the evolved protocols to diagnosis - he is also a faith healer! Aye carumba! Truly a giant of medicine!

And so he lumbers along with his retinue.. and they're all infected - all metastisizing agents and carriers - and all the preposterous lies and posturing and denial and deflections.. are just sympomatic of their disease. Dr Trump is going to cure people from the disease of being like him.. as well as cure those who don't want to be like him at all !

Rural said...

Yes, good to see are back on line in your new home Owen, I may not say much any more (here or else where) but your commentary always puts things in perspective.
As for Trump ..... any bets on when he gets committed!

Owen Gray said...

The old adage, "Physician heal thyself" is particularly appropriate here, salamander. Trump poses as a physician. But he does not carry the cure. All he brings with him is the disease. And he's too dense to understand that.

Owen Gray said...

He's been placed in charge of the asylum, Rural. It will be hard to get rid of him. I miss reading your analysis. But I also know that, occasionally, you have to step back for awhile.