Living Large In Carson City: The Truth Is Out There But Not From Trump Edition

liar's pants don't actually catch on fire quote

 “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Mark Twain Quoting Benjamin Disraeli

The fiasco that was the G7 meeting in France this past weekend just keeps on giving. Quoting that paragon of wisdom duo, Brewer and Shipley, Trump might be said to be “One toke over the line”. How else can Americans square the outlandish behavior of Donald Trump anytime he comes into the proximity of world leaders. Leaders that are actually leaders and not political hacks of Trump’s ilk. Actually, Americans can only hope that Trump is sucking on the pipe behind closed doors, but judging by his Twitter behavior, it must be meth, not pot, that he his is imbing in on a regular basis.

There was one shining moment in the wrap up press conference that the president gave at the end of the summit among a flurry of lies, innuendos, and outright incomprehensible moments. Trump in his batshit crazy modus operandi continually called for the members of the G7 to allow Russia back into the fold. You will remember Russia was kicked out for attacking and annexing part of the Crimea, and you know, shooting down a civilian airliner.  Trump, however, fueled by what god awful substance he puts into his system claimed that Obama was somehow responsible for the Russian expulsion and that Putin had embarrassed the former president. In Trump’s third grade mental construct, this prompted Obama to call for his and Russia’s ousting from the G8.  This is a claim he repeated over and over.

At the height of the press conference, Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, stepped up to the mike and said this,

“Why do you [keep repeating] the misleading statement that Russia outsmarted President Obama when other countries have said that the reason why Russia was kicked out was very clearly because they annexed Crimea. Why keep repeating what some people would see as a clear lie?” Source

Ouch! What makes Alcindor’s question so relevant and poignant is a trend in broadcasting that has some, not a lot, but some, journalists no longer willing to allow Trump to simply say shit without being called the liar that he is on a daily basis. According to the Washington Post, as of June 2019, Trump told 10,796 lies to everyone from farmers, coal miners, businesses, everyday Americans, world leaders, and on and on. Think about that number: 10,796 lies told by an American president. It even defies Trump supporters’ credulity.

Yet, when journalist like Alcindor call Trump out his go to action is to, well, lie some more. His entire trip was one false statement after the other. We now know that his push for Russia’s acceptance back into the G7 was a bone that he could not stop gnawing on to the chagrin of other G7 members except for Italy who sided with the president’s demand for Russia’s readmittance. Still, Trump in his egomaniacal way would not let go of support for his old friend, even at the risk of alienating the G7, Americans, and even members of his own party. Sometime in the near future America will learn what is the impetus behind his selling out his own country and cozying up to one of the most brutal dictators in modern history. That time cannot come soon enough which brings up another new topic.

Deutsche Bank hints that it has copies of Trump’s tax returns raising the question if they might be available through the subpoena process for the House Judiciary Committee to get their hands on them. A minor kerfuffle came Tuesday night when Lawrence O’Donnell on his MSNBC talk show claimed that Russian oligarchs had co-signed bank loans that Trump took out several years ago which would have given plausible impetus to begin impeachment proceedings. On Wednesday, O’Donnell capitulated saying he should not have aired the oligarch angle when only one source actually claimed the statement was true. Regardless, the Deutsche Bank factor will surely play an ever increasing role in the Trump investigation as more information comes clear and open to public scrutiny.

Back to the lies. In an article by Calvin Woodward for the Associated Press titled “In 7 days of tweets, Trump lets the bedbugs bite” chronicles the seven days the president spent in France at the G7 and afterwards amid lies, Tweets, and countering claims that his Doral Golf Course did not, repeat, did not have bed bugs. Here is a sample of just one day, 


On the sidelines of the G-7 summit of world leaders, French diplomacy produces an unexpected meeting with Iran’s foreign minister, a potentially groundbreaking development with an adversary of the West.

As this unfolds in the halls, Trump tweets in honor of talk-show veteran Regis Philbin: “Happy Birthday Regis, a truly special man!” Trump plays up an opinion poll he likes and makes the improbable claim that the other world leaders mainly want to know from him “why does the American media hate your Country so much?” AP

No matter what one’s political leanings might be, it is obvious that Trump is slipping further into the dark depths of conspiracy theorists and the land of boogeymen. He really believes there are dark forces that want only to spread lies and falsehoods about his “legacy”.

The one thing Americans can be certain about is the president has no clue about how irony works. In a Tweet earlier this week, he attacked all things Puerto Rican in this Tweet,

Donald J. Trump


Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is
broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved
Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to
Crooked Pols.
No good!….      Aug 28, 2019  CNN
His statement “Their political system is broken  and their politicians are either
Incompetent or Corrupt. . . . Crooked Pols” is beyond self delusional. The fact is
America’s political system under Trump could easily be described in the same words. 
As CNN noted in the same article, he followed the above Tweet with this little nugget of
“And by the way,” he added, “I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”
It defies logic that this man is allowed to walk around in public much less be allowed to
comment on anything of substance and be heard. When I think of Trump and Puerto
Rico, I will always go back to the image of  Melanie and Trump standing behind a table
stacked with rolls of paper towels surrounded by a room full of desperate Puerto Ricans.
His idea of help at that meeting was to mimic shooting free throws into the crowd using
the paper towels as balls. Some legacy . . .
The week ended on a bright note, however, when Trump turned on his favorite fake
news outlet, the disreputable Fox News Network. In a statement aimed at his shrinking
basket of deplorables, the president lashed out at the network stating, “Fox isn’t working
for us anymore” in reaction to a discussion about recent polls showing all of the current
Democratic presidential front runners handily beating him in the race if the vote were
taken that day. Fox commentators like Shepard Smith, Bret Hume and Neil Cavuto took
umbrage with Trump’s implication that the network owed allegiance to the president
and said so in blunt, no nonsense terms.

No one knows what will become of this latest brouhaha, but it’s a safe guess that Trump will find a way to lie about the dust up regardless of what happens going forward. If things go as they have over the past week, the president is already teeing up his next Tweet denying he ever said anything about Fox News or that the fake media cooked up the lie to make him look bad. Regardless, the crazy house remains open for business with the head clown running around with his head stuck up his behind with no attachment to reality. Happy September, winter is coming.


Living Large In Carson City: Rocky Horror Donald Style Edition


It’s astounding/Time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll/But listen closely  . . .
                                   (Not for very much longer)/I’ve got to keep control                                    Time Warp: Riff Raff (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

If you listen closely and sit very still, you will hear the inexorable winds of change blowing over the horizon. These are harsh winds that bring with them the caustic cleansing that the nation so badly wants and needs right now. The unsettling sound you detect is those same winds slamming into Trump’s sickly coiffed head like a California wild fire scraping over the landscape charring everything in its path. It’s been that kind of week, hell, month and year.

There is no better place to begin understanding the magnitude of this week’s revelations than in an article posted last weekend in the Washington Post. The article began with this statement,

“Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation.” Washington Post

The perennial optimist may ask just how bad can that be in the real world. Well, actually, pretty bad when Americans consider that the Trump and his privileged clan of hucksters are facing  17 ongoing criminal investigations. A betting person would give even odds that at some point due to at least one of these investigations Trump is going to catch it in the groin and be doubled over with pain and an indictment.

Then there was former FBI Director James Comey’s comments Monday as he emerged from yet another grilling by House Republicans over Hillary’s emails and the Steele dossier. Clearly perturbed and angry, Comey held nothing back as he lambasted the Republican Party as the spineless sycophants they have become under Trump’s reign.  MSNBC correspondent Steve Benen quoted Comey as saying,

“Republicans used to understand that the actions of a president matter, the words of a president matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters. Where are those Republicans today?” he asked.

. . .

“At some point someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement, but stand up and speak the truth.” MSNBC

Add to that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s wacko remarks this weekend to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. In a discussion about former Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, Giuliani stated that Cohen had changed his story four or five times to which Stephanopoulos replied so has the president. Giuliani’s come back was a classic misdirection and a response that normally intelligent people assign to liars and con artists. Giuliani   stated,

“The President’s not under oath. And the President tried to do the best he can to remember what happened back at a time when he was the busiest man in the world.” CNN 

So? He can lie with impunity and not be called out about his tarnished veracity.

In other comments, Giuliani claimed that discussion of the Trump Tower Moscow project with the president went on until November of 2016. This is problematic for several reasons. Trump has previously disavowed any communications with Russia during the 2016 campaign, and Giuliani’s revelation supports Cohen’s claims of a timeline that puts the president in jeopardy concerning collusion or at best emolument issues. Either way, Mueller must be having a field day high fiving his team of lawyers and thanking their lucky stars that Rudy Giuliani is a blabber mouth of the first order.

So, how is Trump holding up in this mine field of accusation, faux pas’, and damming innuendos? Typically, he made it all about him. He called for the courts to investigate Saturday Night Live’s programming choices. You can’t make this up. After last Saturday’s now famous cold open which parodied It’s a Wonderful Life (It’s a Wonderful Trump), Trump tweeted,

A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion? Elite Daily

A year and a half ago or even a year ago, a statement like this would have been met with hilarity and glee to think that a grown man would actually say these words aloud. Today, world weary and befuddled by this president’s lack of basic understanding about decorum and appropriateness of being circumspect in one’s speech, especially the most powerful man in the world, Americans can only shake their heads and wonder how we have sunk so low. The idea that a comedy skit is the equivalent with collusion, obstruction of justice, campaign finance allegations, misappropriation of inauguration monies, or supporting a despot who kills journalist in a bizarre Friday the 13th scenario has taken its toll.

Note that Trump is quick to point out networks that call him out on his misdeeds, lies, and corruption but panders to those sites that heap praise on him which is more than a little hypocritical. Fox News comes to mind. The website Media Bias/ Fact Check states that “Nearly half of consistent conservatives (47%) name it as their main source for government and political news.”  Skewed hard right, Fox is not above spreading lies, Republican and presidential talking points (often indistinguishable from lies), conspiracy theories, and employs a host of objectionable personalities who would rather suck up to the president than cultivate their journalistic bona fides. The website finds,

Fox News typically looks at the issues from a conservative perspective and also has a number of on air personalities that are strong supporters of Trump, such as Sean HannityTucker CarlsonLaura Ingraham, and Tomi Lahren. Fox News typically skews conservative as there is less criticism of Trump, therefore the majority of stories are pro-Trump.

In review, Fox News publishes stories with emotionally loaded headlines such as “’They Wanted It to Blow Up’: Limbaugh Says Success of Trump-Kim Summit Caught Media Off Guard” and “Tucker: 2016 Russia Collusion ‘Witch Hunt’ Now Extends to Jill Stein.” When it comes to sourcing they typically utilize pro-Trump pundits such as Rush Limbaugh who has a very poor record with fact checkers, as well as credible sources such as the Wall Street Journal. Fox News is also known to publish right wing conspiracy theories, although after being sued they retracted the story. Fox News has also been deemed the least accurate cable news source according to Politifact.

Overall, we rate Fox News strongly Right-Biased due to word and story selection that favors the right and Mixed factually based on poor sourcing and spreading conspiracy theories that later must be retracted. (7/19/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/15/2018) Media Bias/Fact Check

Trump isn’t singling out Fox News as unfair, but this is the way of a bully operates. Turn the enemy into the bogeyman, ridicule and spread false narratives about them, and set up a pity party where he is the one harmed and place blame on others. The sheer obtuseness of Trump is breathtaking. On one hand, it is hard to believe a grown man could see the world through such false entitlement; yet, it’s hard not to believe it when we see this scenario played out day after day. Trump should be happy that the American journalism community holds it duty sacred and does not engage in the underhanded, slight of hand antics he is so fond of using on his perceived enemies.

Honestly, it’s exhausting watching the Trump Titanic super tanker sailing into unknown waters and knowing it is destined to run aground when the Democrats take over the House come January. Yet, the thought is heartening if not liberating. Trump’s ghost of Christmas past will be with us long after he is perp walked out of the White House and into some country club prison. The only hope America has is that that time will come soon.

Living Large in Carson City: The Truth Is Out There Edition

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An interview with Jeremy Scahill on YouTube titled, Fear and Loathing in Trump’s America: A Deep Well of Anger, the moderator  makes a great point about journalism and the responsibility to tell the truth by quoting a 1997 article from The Atlantic. The interview was with Hunter S. Thompson where he presented his view on the state of American journalism. Thompson stated,

If you consider the great journalists in history, you don’t see too many objective journalists on that list. H. L. Mencken was not objective. Mike Royko, who just died. I. F. Stone was not objective. Mark Twain was not objective. I don’t quite understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.

When teaching English composition to college students, the formal essay is sold as depending on objective analysis of the material, especially the argumentative essay, the Cadillac of college English writing. The use of first person (I, me, mine, my) and second person (you, you, you) are discouraged. The first can give the impression of an ego driven screed and the second simply offensive (i.e. You will agree abortion should be banned.) The latter is fine if you are writing to the moral majority audience, not so much to supporters of Planned Parenthood. These two approaches are seen as subjective and not proper for professional writing.

But that is academia. Composition, especially in the freshman and sophomore years, is more about teaching recalcitrant young people how not to make fools of themselves in their future work environments. Objective analysis is rooted in what is observable, fact- based and measurable. In the quasi-empirical world of academia, this is understandable. When most freshman and sophomores approach a topic, first person is the order of the day. Their sense of self-worth is at once endearing as they struggle to find their voices, yet decidedly disturbing in the manner in which they think their ideas are unassailable   . . . facts, observation and measurable data be damned.

It is the college professor’s task of harnessing that youthful zeal and mold it into a work of composition that takes into account that there are a multitude of opinions afoot in the world, and the only way to get their message across without alienating a huge swath of the population is through objective analysis of the topic. Tell the reader what you can prove. Keep the tone one of enlightenment, rather than adversarial. And always remember, academic argumentation is never about winning. It is about sharing one’s ideas with the opposition, if not convince them, to make them understand the writer values their stance, while effectively communicating their own diametrically opposite position.

Facts, measurable data, and observation art the roots of objectivity. In journalism the objective approach was the tender of the realm for years until the 1960s when writers like Thompson, Joan Didion and Tom Wolfe (among others) arrived on the scene and changed the course of journalism forever. No longer was non-fiction mired in unassailable dry facts, measured data and observation. It was still those things with the added element of the writer becoming a distinct part of the story itself. Here is the final page of Thompson’s wicked little book, Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga:

With the throttle screwed on, there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right… and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are the wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it… howling through a turn to the right, then to the left, and down the long hill to Pacifica… letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge… The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others- the living- are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it’s In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.

This is vintage Thompson. The facts are there. The observable is there. The measure of the experience is there, yet, Thompson has become a part of the storyline. Does truth suffer for his presence? Is the objectivity of the experience in some way sullied by placing himself in the narrative? Not really, the key is keeping subjectivity in line with the factual, observable and measurable. In other words no matter how a writer approaches a topic, the truth is always the foundation of the narrative.

Getting back to the objective versus subjective approach to writing, subjective writing can no longer be seen as not being a valid approach to journalistic writing. Certainly, subjectivity is dependent on one’s personal feelings, sensitivities, and interpretation of the situation being observed, measured or the facts that surround the topic. However, as Thompson states above “just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.”  This one truism is what differentiates subjective writing from conservative outlets that skew their content, if not to lie outright, but present the facts in a way that might be misleading or slanted. Think Trump’s tweets.

So, why does this matter? First, many people digest the information thrown at them simply out of lack of motivation to question their beliefs. For example, if a person has always listened to Fox News because their immediate family or co-workers do, they are prone to continue doing so. This is not just a conservative malady, but one that liberals also suffer from in their choice of news outlets. Both objective and subjective writing suffers when people accept without questioning if the truth is being represented fairly. Not to single out Fox News as the only culprit, but when commentators spew hate, misinformation and subjective viewpoints not based in reality, how can a huge swatch of the public not come away without being adversely influenced?

Second, in the world that Trump created, journalists cannot help but write in a subjective voice. The crisis that our democracy faces is not one that can be approached strictly through objective analysis. Truth, in this case, is hard not to filter through a subjective perspective. What Trump has done is demean the reality of American democracy to an Us and Them class warfare. America is no longer a place where equality is the prism to view the hopes and dreams of the lower class, or increasingly, the lower and middle-class citizens. What is in place now is the wealthy ruling 1 percent of Americans control the lives, future and happiness of the rest of the country.

Facts, observations, and measurable incidents are important, however, how those objective elements subjectively change the American Democracy is what is important.