Bearing Witness to Trump Week 18

Week of May 21 – 27, 2017

In his visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump tells his hosts to eject the radical Islamists out of the holy land. Hum, I think that is what they did with Osama bin Laden. Maybe Trump thinks Iraqis or Iranians or America-hating Democrat’s were responsible for 911, instead of a rich Saudi oil family from a country that has never paid a price for breeding terrorists. Not surprising, he is silent on human rights violations of the Saudi kingdom, but again seems to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of being treated like royalty. Do his conservative voters realize that the first country he visits as President has the strictest implementation of Shariah Law?

Trump in his first new year budget proposes massive cuts to the safety net of so many Americans who helped to elect him. Medicaid, anti-poverty programs, disability, and SNAP food stamps. The EPA, State Department, Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, Medical Research, Housing, Transportation, and more all take cuts, some over 25%. Of course the military, like that of most aspiring autocrats, gets a huge increase of dollars.  He claims that a revitalized economy based on tax cuts for the wealthy will actually create an extra 2 trillion dollars of federal revenue, which many economists dispute as voodoo economics .

I close with an ever so appropriate passage from Hannah Arendt, “Lying in Politics” in Crises of the Republic (1972)

“[W]hen we talk about lying, and especially about lying among acting men, let us remember that the lie did not creep into politics by some accident of human sinfulness. Moral outrage, for this reason alone, is not likely to make it disappear. The deliberate falsehood deals with contingent facts; that is, with matters that carry no inherent truth within themselves, no necessity to be as they are. Factual truths are never compellingly true. The historian knows how vulnerable is the whole texture of facts in which we spend our daily life; it is always in danger of being perforated by single lies or torn to shreds by the organized lying of groups, nations, or classes, or denied and distorted, often carefully covered up by reams of falsehoods or simply allowed to fall into oblivion. Facts need testimony to be remembered and trustworthy witnesses to be established in order to find a secure dwelling place in the domain of human affairs. From this, it follows that no factual statement can ever be beyond doubt – as secure and shielded against attack as, for instance, the statement that two and two make four.

It is this fragility that makes deception so very easy up to a point, and so tempting. It never comes into a conflict with reason, because things could indeed have been as the liar maintains they were. Lies are often much more plausible, more appealing to reason, than reality, since the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience wishes or expects to hear. He has prepared his story for public consumption with a careful eye to making it credible, whereas reality has the disconcerting habit of confronting us with the unexpected, for which we were not prepared.”


The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.