THE FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF OUTRIGHT LYING by L. Milton Hankins

THE FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF OUTRIGHT LYING by L. Milton Hankins

Is there a more palatable word to use for lying? It seems to me that calling a person, especially face-to-face, a “liar” is one of the more reluctant, difficult things to do. No one wants to be called a liar; no one wants to call someone a liar.

CHIEF OF STAFF JOHN KELLY

But, when the truth is discounted, misrepresented or ignored, there doesn’t seem to be a kind or generous way to talk about it. Let’s take Chief of Staff General Kelly’s remarks to the press corps regarding Representative Frederica Wilson and the president’s call to La David Johnson’s widow.

General Kelly totally misrepresented an occasion, during which he was present, when Frederica Wilson participated in the dedication of an FBI building in her district in Florida in 2015. Kelly referred to Wilson as an “empty barrel” focusing “more on her own actions than the heroism of the two FBI agents for whom the new building had been named.”

A conclusive review of the video of Wilson’s speech during the occasion showed that General Kelly was clearly not telling the truth. “Not telling the truth” is a kind euphemism for lying!

The entire subject of the president’s call to Johnson’s widow and the Kelly/Wilson dispute which followed swallowed up at least six days of news cycles. The president responded, according to his practice (tweeting), calling  Representative Wilson “wacky” and denying that he had said anything at all that should have upset the grieving widow.

REP. FREDERICA WILSON

According to Wilson, the phone call was on “speaker phone,” and was heard by everyone in the automobile when the widow received the call.

The subject matter was not so much centered on “lying,” as it was on the lack of compassion and sympathy shown by the White House. And, it’s notable that no sort of apology for the whole affair was later offered to the Gold Star widow who said the president didn’t even know her husband’s name. Of course, President Trump denied this. The attention to lying came later.

To my way of thinking, the real problem is that the four-star Marine General who is now serving as the president’s chief of staff, publicly lied in an effort to excuse or explain President Trump’s behavior. As a result, until Chief of Staff Kelly offers an apology and/or recants his story before the White House press corps, he is a bold-faced liar–in other words, we cannot believe anything he has to say on behalf of the president.

It pains me, too, that we have a man sitting in the Oval Office who seems not to know the meaning of truth, to put it mildly. To be blunt, the president routinely discounts, misrepresents, and ignores the truth. And, to make matters worse, whenever he is called by the press corps on his obvious lies, he doubles down.

 

The president is a liar. And there is no more palatable term to describe him. It is most unfortunate that he is deliberately making those around him–especially his spokespersons–liars, too.

The time will come when nothing coming out of the White House will be believed. The time will come when other nations will hold Americans in official positions in contempt.

[(c) 2017, L. Milton Hankins. Hankins is the founder, publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He is a weekly contributor to the Huntington, WV Herald Dispatch and resides, along with his wife Deborah and Jose, their pet Chihuahua, in Ashland, Kentucky. His e-mail address is: amsmilt@windstream.net]

TRUMP ADMIN DISSES SCIENCE, DISMISSES SCIENTISTS by L. Milton Hankins

TRUMP ADMIN DISSES SCIENCE, DISMISSES SCIENTISTS by L. Milton Hankins

Most folks like you and me don’t give much thought to “science” per se. After all, we’re not scientists and we are not inclined to contemplate the importance of science in our daily lives.

Because of our lackadaisical attitude toward science and how it affects our everyday lives, many of us (not including this writer) are unaware that the present administration is stripping various agencies of the federal government of its scientists.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION DISMISSING SCIENTISTS

For example, a May 8, 2017 Associated Press article in the Los Angeles Times’ headline read “Trump’s EPA dismisses half of the scientists on its advisory board.” According to Science Magazine (2015), the EPA published “a controversial regulation aimed at improving protection for wetlands and small streams” in a “400-page technical tome assembled by agency researchers as the rule’s scientific foundation and justification.” In March, 2017, President Trump “signed an executive order aimed at gutting the rule.”

PETER THIEL

Although Peter Thiel, a biomedical research investor, is surprisingly one of Trump’s few supporters in Silicon Valley, he is an outspoken advocate for government-fostered science. He says, “Voters are tired of hearing conservative politicians say that government never works. They know the government wasn’t always this broken. The Manhattan Project, the Interstate Highway System, and the Apollo Program–whatever you think of these ventures, you cannot doubt the competence of the government that got them done. But we have fallen very far from that standard, and we cannot let free market ideology serve as an excuse for decline.”

The budget that Trump has sent to Congress “whacks 18 percent from N.I.H.’s [National Institute of Health] budget, and even more from the Department of Energy and the E.P.A.’s [Environmental Protection Agency] science programs.

According to the Editorial Board of the New York Times (March 17, 2017) a “$250 million annual grant program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ‘supporting coastal and marine management, research and education’ would be killed [in Trump’s budget], including programs that provide important resources to help coastal states prepare for the coming effects of climate change.”

The above paragraphs document my theory that the Trump administration is anti-science. It should come as no shock, especially in the last example, since President Trump admittedly does NOT subscribe to climate change.

RICK PERRY,  SECRETARY OF ENERGY

And, keep in mind, he appointed former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head up the Department of Energy, which is rich with scientists and thrives on scientific knowledge and input. Perry, you’ll recall, when running for the presidency, although he botched remembering the name of the agency in debate (Oops!), was FOR abolishing the Department of Energy…which he now heads!

Science is literally the backbone of technological development and underscores all of the advancements we have made in all of the areas for which the Trump administration apparently has little respect.

The decline of first-rate science and mathematical training in our primary and secondary schools, coupled with the growing disenchantment for these subjects at the highest levels of our government is frightening.

That the current administration is gutting national agencies of scientists is calamitous!

TRUMP:  AMERICAN PATRIOT OR PUTIN PROMOTER? by Richard Moberly

TRUMP: AMERICAN PATRIOT OR PUTIN PROMOTER? by Richard Moberly

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

What American patriot would advance and promote Russia and their President Putin over the reputation of the United States of America? What American patriot would defend Russia and their President Putin over the interests of the United States of America? There have been decades and decades of mistrust, rancor, disagreements, competition, conflicts, and, yes, cooperation with the two countries’ space programs. And yet over the past two years we have seen Donald Trump, the candidate (and again since his election) speak in defense and on behalf of this country’s antagonist. Why? How can this be? Is he so uninformed that he is not aware of Mr. Putin’s past and present atrocities against his own people and those of other countries? Or does he just look with a blind eye for some reason?

IS TRUMP BEHOLDEN TO PUTIN?

These questions will hopefully be answered in the coming months with the naming of the special counsel by the U. S. Justice Department. What we already know is that the Trump organization has relied on money coming out of Russia to fund their projects for many years. The two older Trump sons broadcast several years ago that their organization no longer needed funding from United States Banks, who quit writing the Trump organization loans because of their frequent bankruptcy filings.

A MOSCOW BANK

They had all the funding they needed coming in from Russia. Hmmm, so if you are beholden to Mr. Putin and his rich cronies for multiple millions of dollars in various projects around the globe, you are very likely not going to want to disappoint the man. Right? You are going to sell your soul to the devil to keep yourself from disappearing in the middle of the night only to be found floating face down the next morning in the middle of the Mockba River–like so many other Putin dissenters.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

The “dear” president of Russia, Mr. Putin, is a thug and a murderer, and has been for many years. He has his eye on world domination and becoming more than just the next czar of Russia. His climb to his self-proclaimed throne started in earnest with his last “election” to the presidency. He has demonstrated that he will stop at nothing and will use (and abuse) anyone to fulfill his dreams. Unfortunately, for the U.S., our hapless Mr. Trump has fallen into his web and cannot easily get out.

You are probably asking, how does a typical guy in Florida know this, and how can this guy make such outrageous claims? This is how….

I LOST A RUSSIAN FRIEND TO PUTIN’S “MARAUDERS”

Before making a trip to Moscow in 2011, to satisfy a personal curiosity, I befriended online a fellow from Moscow. We communicated for several months, and he agreed to be my personal guide during my stay in Moscow. Over the time we spent together and, afterward, we became good friends (albeit long distance). At that time he worked for an American architectural firm as an architect by day and an aspiring writer by night. Sergey was verbally fluent in English, though not confident with his writing skills in English. He would write his first draft in Russian, then go back and translate it into English. Several times over the years he asked me to assist him with some of his projects to make sure his grammar and sentence structure were correct.

I grew to greatly respect him. He was honest, caring, sensitive, intelligent and very generous. He lived in very modest accommodations, but had big aspirations. Sergey was fortunate to be able to travel abroad and visited his editor in Los Angeles fairly regularly. He also submitted his first play into a competition in London and was awarded first place in his category. I admired his determination.

That as until last summer, when I could no longer reach him. He was not returning any messages. In August, I learned from his Facebook page that he had abruptly “gone missing” in June. He was to meet friends for dinner and never showed up at the restaurant. Our last communication was in May–his requesting that I support an initiative he was promoting for President Obama. He had signed an online petition at the White House website requesting that the President intervene with Putin, as he may be able, against the erosion of personal rights which were under attack in Putin’s Russia. He disappeared approximately three weeks after that communication. We (Facebook friends) learned not long after this that the Russians had hacked into the White House computers and my guess is that the petition site was one of the non-secure areas that was breached. Putin’s thugs had Sergey’s name.

Sergey was also becoming more and more verbally anti-Putin in Moscow and online during this time.

RUSSIAN THUGS

He had told me of Putin’s “Marauders” who were attacking the Putin dissenters as, when it came to Putin, no criticism as being tolerated. We have since learned of the many names of the more well-known dissenters who have been found dead by one means or another over the last year or so. A Facebook friend in Helsinki shared that he had observed Sergey being “unwisely fearless” in his online activism.

My friend met the same demise as other Putin “enemies.” We found out in September that his cremated ashes were unexpectedly delivered to his family. There was no known, or released, information or explanation. We all “knew” what had happened. Last summer, according to some posts by one of Sergey’s friends, approximately 1,000 Russians were “going missing” every month!

THE TRUMP-PUTIN IMPERATIVE

So, is this the man President Donald Trump is defending?  A hideous murderer and power hungry madman? Sociopaths of a feather stick together, I suppose. Trump is power hungry, as well, with visions of grandeur. He has Putin’s power and fame, and I think envies the same thing for himself. He is either unwilling or unable (due to his delusion) to objectively look at the real Vladimir Putin. Then again, maybe he just doesn’t care. Trump also, on some level, realizes in his current predicament and indebtedness to Putin, that if he does not promote Putin, he could find himself or some members of his family…well, eliminated.

This socio/political experiment with Donald Trump in the highest office of the land must end!  Experiment results:  Failure! It never did compute!

[This narrative was received by Columnist with a View for publication at my (the editor’s) request, as I have known about Richard’s experience for some time now. I chose to do very little editing on this piece because I wanted it to be real, unpolished, and as close to the original manuscript as possible. My personal thanks to Richard Moberly for his being kind and generous enough to share his personal experience and editorial remarks.] 

 

 

 

GEORGE WILL PREDICTS OBAMACARE TO BECOME SINGLE-PAYER BECAUSE OF THIS INCONVENIENT FACT by Egberto Willies

GEORGE WILL PREDICTS OBAMACARE TO BECOME SINGLE-PAYER BECAUSE OF THIS INCONVENIENT FACT by Egberto Willies

GEORGE WILL SPOKE AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH TO THE TRUMP VOTER

George Will realized that America’s health care reality means that not only is Obamacare unrepealable but that we are on our way to a single-payer system. He seemed resigned to the fact that the failed market-based health care system he wants to retain is likely dying a slow qualified death.

“Barack Obama said as a candidate that he would prefer a single-payer plan but couldn’t get there,” George Will said. “As President when they were going through the Obamacare agonies, he said, look upon Obamacare as a starter home. The beginning, the thin end of an enormous wedge heading toward that. What does Donald Trump say? ‘Single-payer works fine in Scotland.’ So I don’t see any particular animus he has as you say against a single-payer plan. And, what we’ve learned in this debate about repealing Obamacare is that the essence of Obamacare is the expansion of Medicaid. Who has benefited from that? Probably disproportionately white working-class males, Trump voters.”

I have been saying that Obamacare was designed to be a stepping stone to single-payer health care for years. It is clear that it is the only solution.

It’s about time that Conservatives come to the realization that those that benefit the most from the policies enacted by Progressives are people in the Red States. Ironically if Trump, Ryan, and their Republican cohort were successful in repealing Obamacare and instituting their draconian health care policies, their constituents would bear the brunt of the pain. While that eventuality would likely flip both the House and the Senate, it is something we cannot wish on our brothers and sisters who bought into the lie.

This is why we #resist — not only for ourselves but the country as a whole.

[The interview this piece excerpts first appeared on MSNBC and can be viewed in full by googling “George Will on Healthcare.”  Recently progressive-leaning, Trump critic George Will is a long-time, noted Conservative columnist and pundit.  This excerpt first appeared in Daily Kos and is reprinted here with permission.]

 

IS “FLIP-FLOPPING” AND LYING NOW ACCEPTABLE FOR A PRESIDENT? by Milt Hankins

IS “FLIP-FLOPPING” AND LYING NOW ACCEPTABLE FOR A PRESIDENT? by Milt Hankins

“Flip-flopping” once sounded the death knell for presidential candidates or politicians. President Donald Trump holds the record for “flip-flopping” and outright lying. It doesn’t seem to hamper his relationship with his base constituency. According to Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, during the campaign, Trump flip-flopped so often it was impossible to determine his actual policy positions on anything. President Trump still flip-flops and lies on a regular basis!

Candidate Trump asserted many times that he would not reduce funding for Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. He tweeted: “THE REPUBLICANS WHO WANT TO CUT SS & MEDICAID ARE WRONG.” Now, the president embraces congressional plans to replace Obamacare (ACA), changing the financing base for Medicaid to a block grant system.

In a Fox News interview (Aug. 9), Trump discussed the stock market. “If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty. It’s all a big bubble.” Campaigning in Ohio on Sept. 5, he said: “We have a very false economy. The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.” Now that the stock market is reacting somewhat positively, presumably, to the Trump presidency, the president has repeatedly celebrated the continued rise of the stock market as evidence that his presidency is positively affecting the U.S. economy. (Kessler, The Washington Post)

Trump maintained that unemployment figures are “a complete fraud as evidenced by the jobless claims number.” He claimed during his campaign that the real unemployment was anywhere from 15% to 43%. He tweeted in August, 2016, the employment rate is “ONE OF THE BIGGEST HOAXES IN MODERN AMERICAN POLITICS.” Now, accepting unemployment numbers as reported, he told WH spokesperson Sean Spicer, “[unemployment statistics] may have been phony in the past, but [they’re] very real now.”

Trump often declared NATO outdated because it doesn’t cover terrorism, and, because the various countries do not pay their dues. After a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jan Stoltenberg, he changed his tune, saying it was no longer obsolete. “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”

Trump has frequently stated that China is a currency manipulator–as recently as ten days before he announced China is NOT a currency manipulator. He said China was a “‘world champion,’ of devaluing the yuan.” Trump flip-flopped following his meeting with China’s president in Mar-a-Lago, his posh Palm Beach, Florida resort.

 

In more than a dozen tweets in 2013 and 2014, Trump consistently opposed U.S. military action in Syria, urging then-President Barack Obama against launching air attacks on Syria for allegedly deploying chemical weapons. Trump said the United States should focus on domestic issues instead. President Trump took military action days after a chemical weapons attack in Syria, mocking Obama for inaction after declaring a “red line in the sand.” About his decision to order the airstrike [against a Syrian airbase], Trump offered no acknowledgment of his previous strong stance against such action.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN

Does President Trump know Russian President Vladimir Putin personally? As recently as April 12, 2016 Trump claimed: “I don’t know Putin.” In November, 2015, Trump repeatedly asserted he not only knew Putin, but knew him “very well,” and that he had a “relationship” with the Russian president.

Candidate Trump stated several times that he would be in the White House essentially “all the time” since there is so much work to be done.  President Trump has spent nearly every weekend of his presidency, at tremendous taxpayer expense,  at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida playing golf!  

DONALD TRUMP–A LIAR!

Additionally, he is flying his wife Melania (who is a “more-or-less” First Lady) from Trump Tower in New York City along with members of his staff to Florida for the weekends.  He is holding top-level meetings with foreign leaders at Mar-a-Lago, while the White House in Washington, D.C. (which is staffed and maintained by the United States government for such purposes) stands virtually vacant.  Is the president billing the taxpayer for the use of his “winter White House?” Who knows?

These are merely a few examples. It’s difficult to know what policies, or lack thereof, are “firmed up” in President Trump’s mind. If we don’t know precisely where he stands on important policy concerns, how can we expect to be functional in our dealings with countries around the world? It is paramount that countries, and particularly adversaries, know where the United States stands while dealing with crucial questions–war and peace depend upon it!

According to a survey (April, 2017) Pulse (MSNBC) over 90% of responders agreed that violence is on the rise since Donald Trump was elected. I believe one of the reasons for this is a growing uncertainty about where we are going and what lies ahead with an administration that is becoming increasingly hawkish; while, at the same time, becoming obviously more and more unstable. Is President Donald Trump flying by the seat of his pants? We don’t know!

AN INSIDE LOOK AT CHINA by Diane W. Mufson

AN INSIDE LOOK AT CHINA by Diane W. Mufson

This winter, Maury and I completed another “bucket list” adventure, which included visits to China, Japan and South Korea. Two decades ago Maury and I spent a week in China, which then appeared to be a sleeping dragon. Now, that dragon appears to be breathing economic fire.

A week in China and conversation with informed sources does not make me any type of authority on China’s economy, but some things stand out. Whether the United States likes it or not, China is determined to be the world’s major economy. Our country must make sure that the current American isolationism stance does not catapult China into the world’s trade leadership position.

HONG KONG SKYLINE

In 1996 we visited Hong Kong, long a British possession, to see this region before the communists took it over the following year. It was lively and economically prosperous; the American expectation was that it would be ruined by communist involvement. Today there is political conflict between old Hong Kong attitudes and Mainland Chinese, but the 40 square mile area with about 7.5 million people is thriving with construction and ultra modern skyscrapers.

Two decades ago, when we visited China’s capital, Beijing, it was in an early state of 20th Century growth and was dominated by bicycle traffic. Roadways were being constructed. Pollution from coal burning plants was high. It’s worse today; many Chinese wear protective masks, not just for illnesses, but also to cope with the frequent bad air quality. Now, traffic jams abound; one highway reportedly has 50 lanes of traffic.

This trip, we also visited Tianjin, a city of 12 million, about which we had no previous knowledge. It had traffic congestion and a majestic art museum. The most amazing part was its port area, about an hour from the city center.

The area has been identified as the Free Trade Zone of Tianjin, which The Wall Street Journal covered extensively in early March. It is immense and under development. Recently paved unused streets, vast numbers of new sparsely occupied high rises and shipping containers stacked like Legos abound. By the way, Lego has recently announced that its sales are now flat in the U.S. and so they will be concentrating on China. The port of Tianjin is part of China’s trade future.

The main thoroughfares of major Chinese cities are illuminating. It’s not the occasional McDonald’s that makes one wonder about this brand of communism, but the large numbers of truly upscale stores. Tiffany’s and world-renowned upscale clothing stores with sky-high prices are common. All sorts of vehicles are clogging the roads; BMWs and Mercedes are everywhere. China rules its people with an iron communistic fist, but it understands business and capitalism.

From a country that was building roads by hand in the 1990s to the city of Shanghai that now has about 30 million residents, a skyline of skyscrapers and boasts an elevated expressway that runs above the city for 135 miles, China is no longer a third world economy or one that is just producing inexpensive merchandise.

Our brief experience in China shows that our government needs to develop long-range, realistic economic trade policies. Writing in the Miami Herald, Andres Oppenheimer noted that, “Trump’s isolationism is pushing countries into China’s arms.” China is serious about becoming the world’s dominant economic power. America will suffer if it simply embraces isolationism and avoids mutually beneficial trade agreements.

[Diane W. Mufson is a regular contributor to the editorial page of the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch.  This article first appeared in the H-D Thursday, April 6, 2017.  We felt it was so interesting our readers around the world (even in China!) would enjoy it.  Diane and her husband Maury live in Huntington, West Virginia.  Diana is a retired psychologist.]