Facts Can Be So Pesky

Santayana supposedly said that people who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. I think the even truer saying–one for which I don’t have an attribution–is “what we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

Which brings me to “the Big Lie.”

The big lie was a term used by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf. It was a propaganda technique: tell a lie so huge, so colossal, that no one would believe that anyone would have the gall to make it up.

The Saint Louis Post Dispatch recently took aim at Trump’s effort to use a “Big Lie” to escape responsibility for his incompetent response to Covid-19. 

It was all Obama’s fault.

I am not suggesting that Trump is strategic enough to intentionally employ a propaganda technique; given his grasp of history, I doubt he’s ever heard the term “Big Lie.” (Besides, he blames everything on Obama. His jealousy of Obama is such an obsession that if space aliens invaded, that would be Obama’s fault too.) I’m not even sure he is capable of telling the difference between the reality he prefers and the reality most of us inhabit.

That said, his constant attacks on Obama create a story that his base–still smarting from the outrage, the indignity, of living in a country with a highly competent and widely admired black President for 8 long years– desperately wants to believe.

Trump has repeatedly blamed Obama for his own administration’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that “The last administration left us nothing.” But an investigation by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that Trump’s own budget documents show the opposite ― exposing what it called “a lie of colossal Trumpian proportions.”

The newspaper’s investigators found Trump administration testimony to Congress in which it justified its request for big budget cuts in pandemic preparedness programs by explaining that the Obama administration had left it with everything that would be needed should a pandemic emerge.

Trump’s 2020 budget asked Congress to cut the pandemic preparedness budget by $102.9 million, part of $595.5 million in requested cuts to public health preparedness and response outlay.

Think about that.

Trump has also blamed Obama for lack of personal protective equipment and testing supplies, saying “our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile.”

But a chart provided to Congress by the Trump administration as part of its budget requests showed that by 2016 ―which was Obama’s final year in office ― the nation’s public health emergency preparedness was at least 98% on every key measure. And that 98% was the Trump administration’s own assessment.

As the newspaper’s editorial board wrote,

We’ve taken the time to dissect Centers for Disease Control and Prevention budgets from the year before Obama left office all the way to the present. Trump can lie, but the numbers cannot. Obama left office with an unblemished record of building up the nation’s pandemic preparedness. Trump systematically sought to dismantle it.

Perhaps because of his experience with the 2015 Ebola outbreak, Obama sought to leave his successor fully prepared to confront future pandemics. He asked in his fiscal 2017 budget request to boost federal isolation and quarantine funding by $15 million, to $46.6 million. Congress approved $31.6 million. In Trump’s three years in office, he has not requested a dime more in funding.

Obama asked to nearly double his own $40 million outlay for epidemiology and laboratory capacity. Congress balked, but Obama left Trump with that $40 million as a starting point. What did Trump do? In his 2020 budget, he asked Congress to cut that number to: Zero. Zilch. Nothing.

Let me repeat the newspaper’s most damning discovery: in the 2019 fiscal year budget, Trump asked for a $595.5 million dollar cut to the overall public health preparedness and response efforts. 

The one thing we all know about the Big Liar in Chief is that nothing is ever–and can never be–his fault.

The one thing we don’t all know is how many of “We the People” will eagerly believe the Big Lie.

 

29 thoughts on “Facts Can Be So Pesky

  1. “The one thing we don’t all know is how many of “We the People” will eagerly believe the Big Lie.”

    Or die on his hill for it.

  2. When nearly everything Republicans tout is a lie or, at best, plain wrong, it’s hard to decide which ones get the “BIG” label. Supply-side economics is a proven lie. Right To Work laws are a lie. Reasons for Voter ID laws are lies. So-called immigration reform is a lie. School Choice is based on lies. The failure of tough on crime, the war on drugs, and bank bailouts are all masked in lies.

    Maybe someone can point a few of their policies that can withstand the glare of truth.

  3. “The one thing we don’t know is how many of “We the People” will eagerly believe the Big Lie.”

    I do. It’s ENOUGH, and if we don’t attempt to change their direction RIGHT NOW and NOT LATER, there won’t be anything worthwhile to change in November, as we will have nothing left, but a ZERO FUTURE.

  4. Trump’s “Big Lie” is changed daily; yesterday it was crediting the horrible public murder of George Floyd with the May job increase. The day before he quickly erected a new wall; walling in the fenced in White House grounds and added public pictures of bus loads of military police to add to his protection so as to appear he is in danger from Americans. An obvious cover-up for the police using tear gas, flash bangs, batons and horse patrols to force peaceful protesters from his path to St. John’s Church so he could hold up, backwards, “a Bible” as he identified it to a questioner.

    “The one thing we don’t all know is how many of “We the People” will eagerly believe the Big Lie.”

    His “We the People” will believe every word and action and they will not be found among the hundreds of thousands of protesters who are demanding justice for centuries of racism; making public the “Big Lie” which Colin Kapernick took a knee to uncover. The final words of the National Anthem that this nation is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

    Another “Big Lie” which needs to be confronted came out last night with Rachel Maddow’s interview with the Mayor of Buffalo, New York, about the 75 year old peaceful protester who was knocked to the cement by one police officer and left with blood running from his ear as another officer attempted to give aid to the victim but was pulled away by another officer. The Mayor gave the reason that “The troops are trained to stay in formation.” Would they have “stayed in formation” had it been one of their own laying on the cement with blood running from their ear?

    “We the People” can make our voices heard over all of Trump and his administration’s “Big Lies” on November 3rd if we are allowed to vote; by mail-in or walk-in at any remaining polling places.

  5. crichardalen,

    “Maybe someone can point a few of their policies that can withstand the glare of truth.”

    How about the main policy of Trump/Bannon to CORNER the American Jews as was successfully done to the German Jews in Nazi Germany between the Nazis and Communists, but failed to materialize against the South African Jews between the Afrikaners and Black Nationalists because of the efforts of one extraordinary woman, Helen Suzman, a member of the Parliament of South Africa.

  6. I strongly recommend “A Cricket in the Thorn Tree: Helen Suzman and the Progressive Party” by Joanna Strangwayes-Booth (Indiana University Press, Bloomington & London, 1976).

  7. Sheila,

    You’ve never seen the right wing conspiracy theorists so-called evidence that Barack Obama was a lizard creature alien?

    There were several so-called clandestine shots that supposedly showed him morphing, this was very popular years back, during his first term in office! Some of his secret service detail were also these lizard creature bodyguards.

    So, yeah, there’s that! Just give it time, it’ll cycle back around.

  8. To use the words “Big Lie” and “Trump” in the same sentence is totally redundant. He’s worse than just a liar. Trump, like Hitler, is a psychopath. The similarities and parallels are too many and too stark to ignore that conclusion.

    Look, speaking of Republicans and lies…thanks, CRICHARDALEN… the Republicans have trotted out two candidates who had NO business being president. George W. Bush was just a tool of Dick Cheney – until he discovered what an evil bastard he was. His colossal mis-handling of the Katrina disaster offset his posturing after the 11 September attacks. BUT, even though “W” was appointed by a corrupt SCOTUS (no news there) after losing the popular vote and having the Florida ballots fudged in his favor, he had a moral compass…sort of.

    Donald Trump has NO moral compass and was yet another accident of the electoral college. Even by the competence standards of George W. Bush – which are incredibly low – Donald Trump crawls under that bar on his belly. So, how do Republicans gain so much power from presenting to the world a House of Mirrors, Fun House, Carnival Midway of candidates?

    Now we have a psychopath hiding in his bunker like the frightened child he is. He builds a fence to protect himself from water bottles. What a guy! What a stud! Oh. Wait. There’s more. We also have, now, the second coming of Hermann Goering in the personage of Wm. Barr. Honestly!

    You can’t make this shit up. It would never sell.

  9. One has to wonder!

    Why dismantle the safety net to prevent uncontrolled spreading of any sort of pandemic? Why eliminate regulations on food safety? Why eliminate regulations to protect the environment? It can’t be about the dollar! Why? Because that’s just too easy.

    There is some sort of other issue going on here, whether it be the willingness to sacrifice large swaths of our population, hoping to eliminate all of the undesirable element that they deem so, or by weakening civil society and the system of laws and justice i e William Barr, so they can enact any sort of nefarious plan with very little blowback or or resistance from an extremely weekend and beat down opposition. Because any opposition would have to go through the courts, and the courts are being stocked full of so-called true believers!

    This does not bode well for our civil society here, or worldwide! Because there are other countries doing the exact same thing! Why? Why would these elected leaders use the same playbook? It’s because they are all connected! Whether it is the Russian connection, or some other nefarious alliance or allegiance, why would you need to eliminate the Free press? because they do the type of digging that Sheila mentioned in her thread.

    By time they all get done, the world is going to be a very ill and weak place. Where the strong men hope to rule from behind their iron bars and impenetrable bunkers!

    A hegemonic government or an affiliated hegemonic group of affiliated rulers or governors in a world that has been divvied up buy them.

    This is exactly the thing that Hitler was aiming for during his rule. State-sponsored Church, state-sponsored press (propaganda) every permission would go through government, whether you would own a vehicle, whether you would get to eat, whether you would have a place to live, whether you would get medical care, and the like!

    If you didn’t have the correct affiliation or allegiance or Mark, you might as well forget it!

    This is way more than someone being stupid, this is much more than someone being incompetent, this is a well-organized and thought-out plan to destroy and remake civil society! How could a yokel do all of this? Because, it’s not just a yokel, there is more to it!

  10. JoAnn, when people willingly buy into the “Big Lie” in order to go along to get along they are likely to spew their own “little lies” in order to maintain their status, like the Mayor of Buffalo. And the very worst of their “little lies” are ones they tell themselves about themselves.

  11. Marv, I’m going to check that out!

    Vernon, good morning my brother!
    I think everything was created by this intelligence that Obama was a part of, the space aliens, the lizard creatures, LOL, they’re just coming to take it all back! 😱

  12. Vernon,

    “You can’t make this shit up. It would never sell.”

    You’re right. Books can’t be the answer. No one will publish the truth beforehand in order to take PRE-EMPTIVE action. That’s the advantage that comes with the INTERNET, if accomplished quickly enough. Personally, I’ve found the winning formula through many years of trial and error to be: P2T [Pre-emptive Targeted Truth].

  13. The comment that JoAnn noted from the Buffalo mayor shows us just how far we have turned toward a totalitarian system. He needs to be reminded that his police officers are NOT troops. Then again, that is due in part to this administration’s dismantling another Obama decision. Obama stopped the sale of military equipment to police forces. That was one of the first things that Jeff Sessions reversed when he became Attorney General.

  14. We’re not involved in a political, “touch,” football game; It’s much more physical than that. Thus, you have to be ORGANIZED accordingly, unless you want to continue to lose which appears on
    the surface to be the safest thing to do. But, in reality, it is POLITICAL SUICIDE.

  15. P2T (Preemptive Targeted Truth) is spot on! We should all be practicing this. Just know, as I am sure Marv has learned, that there may be serious costs to yourself. Look what they did to that football player for bringing attention to the lie. Now, of course, the NFL has awakened, but only because they got called out.

  16. Peggy,

    “The comment that JoAnn noted from the Buffalo mayor shows us just how far we have turned toward a totalitarian system.”

    It is a totalitarian system. But it is still SOFT, not HARD. Just give it more time.

    See: “Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power” by Henry Ashby Turner, Jr. (Addison-Wesley Publishing, Reading, Massachusetts, 1996).

  17. Theresa,

    “P2T (Preemptive Targeted Truth) is spot on! We should all be practicing this. Just know, as I am sure Marv has learned, that there may be serious costs to yourself.”

    Thanks. Right on target. That’s how you win the big ones, especially when it involves racism, like breaking college football’s color barrier in the “Deep South” and instituting 1 man, 1 vote in local politics in Dallas.

    After more than 50 years of successfully applying P2T, I’m still alive. Other than a destroyed legal practice, I’m still breathing, no scars, and, only, a small limp when I walk over six blocks, which is not bad for being 82.

    Nothing of importance lost since I always wanted to be an ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGNER instead of an attorney. It looks like I still might get my big chance.

  18. Donny boy is crying on twitter this morning that all the lame media is lying. He doesn’t spell out what the Big Lie is all about but I suspect he told a lie and got caught once again.

    The creator of the public relations field was Edward Bernays in the 50s. One of his biggest lies was staging a bunch of models/actors smoking at a parade in New York. His notion was if women saw how cool it was to smoke they would all want to do it. It worked and was a major score for the tobacco industry who paid him well.

    Eddie was the nephew of Sigmund Freud who used his uncle’s analysis of the subconscious mind against us. His theories worked so well for industry, he was asked to assist the CIA in the late 50s.

    Since then, information and communications has all become spin or propaganda. Seeing that Freud and Bernays watched Hitler’s propaganda machine firsthand may explain why modern-day propaganda resembles that of the Ministry of Propaganda & Public Enlightenment.

    So with six decades of propaganda under our belt and used consistently by our state and industry, please point out what isn’t propaganda in our post-truth world?

  19. The Trump Presidency is a huge black stain on who the world now knows us to be but more importantly it will be forever. Arguably we, collectively, earned it. Our grandchildren didn’t but will suffer more as a result of our actions than we have, or at least for much longer that we will.

  20. Sheila’s reference to history reminds me of an observation I read somewhere in the dim past or that I conjured myself, to wit: We should be guided by history but not bound by it. Unlike the law, where we have stare decisis (contra, Justice Thomas), we can make our own history as conditions change. (See the New Deal following the laissez faire policies of the three preceding Republican presidents.) What worked yesterday (or some variant thereof) may or may not work today, and today (and a vision of tomorrow) are all we have.

    As to today, we are in 1932 Berlin with a Hitler in plain view and I for one will not be a Good
    German. I didn’t spend time in the South Pacific in WW II to come home to what I thought I was resisting there – fascism – but from within from the likes of a Trump-Barr conspiracy to destroy our democracy, as suggested by their ahistorical view of the Constitution and now proven beyond doubt with their turning troops loose on American citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and ply their grievances. If we let them get by with this, then what’s next for the constitutional trash bin, speech? The press? And if they can get by with removing those protections afforded us by the the First Ten Amendments, what is to keep the Tlrump-Barr coup from including nullification of the Constitution itself, as is suggested by Barr’s view that Article II effectively gives dictatorial rights to a president, and speaking of Big Lies, if Barr continues to restate such a Big Lie propostion, many may come to believe that there is something to such a ridiculous proposition unsupported by law, fact or history. There isn’t; it’s a softening process used by wannabe dictators to prepare the masses for the advent of Big Brother.

    I see resistance to this developing coup as more than political; it’s existential, and as Marv is prone to tell us, one that needs our attention today.

  21. The police, various organs of state security and apparatus necessary to enforce “law and order” have been with us since the slave patrols went North to round up fugitive slaves. The protection of “property” was of paramount importance.

    The labor unrest of the late 19th and early 20th century was met by the police, the national guard. The 1% made certain the law was always on their side. The anti-war and Civil Rights demonstrations in the 1960’s and early 1970’s were another threat to the 1%.

    The end of the draft signaled the end of the citizen soldier and the birth of the Defense Departments Warrior Cult. The attitude of the Warrior Cult spread from the Pentagon to our Police Departments. It is not surprising we see our Police and National Guard looking more and more like Star Wars Storm Troopers. There is also the tendency of if you have the weapons – Use them.

    A quote from the Buffalo police union head tells you all you need to know:
    But the local police union boss defended his officers. “Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, PBA president, according to WGRZ.

    The resigning 57 officers comprised the entire Buffalo police department (BDP) emergency response team. They will still be employed by BDP and be paid, but they will no longer work on the emergency response team.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/05/new-york-state-57-police-resign-to-support-officers-fired-for-shoving-75-year-old

    Executing Orders, where have we heard that before???

  22. ML,

    The Buffalo Police Department initially stated that one citizen was injured when he “tripped and fell.”

    This was despite video evidence the whole world got to see of the elderly gentleman being shoved to the sidewalk causing his head to bust open.

    Then they suspended the cops because video editors zoomed in on the cop’s nametag.

    A suspension?

    The cop should be facing assault and battery charges. This gentleman and his family will most certainly sue the BPD. And then guess who gets to pay for the claim?

    Make insurance claims like this go against the police department budget and their pensions, and we’ll quickly see the good cops banning together against the bad ones because it will hit them in the pocketbooks.

  23. Hey Vernon,
    Let’s make this perfectly clear so you don’t misunderstand anything that I said earlier, and I don’t think you could misunderstand it anyway. I am not a creationist,,
    I don’t agree with the creationists, I don’t agree that there were 6, 24 hour days in which the world was created, I agree there were different time periods that stretched billions of years, and the Earth is billions of old.

    That being said, facts pointed out yesterday, Life did not lend itself to accident! And, if you decide you want to explain that to me and how it did happen by accident, I’m all ears! You can get a hold of Marv, he has my contact information.

  24. Jo Ann:

    Thank you for bringing up Rachel Maddow’s interview last night with Buffalo, N.Y. Mayor Bryon Brown — the first African-American elected to that office. I couldn’t believe what Brown was saying on national TV in the midst of nationwide protests over police brutality. I was literally shouting at the TV (something my wife hates).

    Among other totally amazing things Brown said was (paraphrasing): “They are trained to keep moving in formation. No problem with the terrorist guy they pushed to the ground and walked over his body lying prostrate on the ground bleeding from his head. We have medical personal coming behind our storm troopers to deal with those sort of things!” Really?

    Just when you think you heard every lame ass attempt to defend the indefensible, along comes this guy. Think even Maddow couldn’t believe what she was hearing. When Maddow pressed Brown a little, it appeared even he knew what he was saying was total BS. I think by the end of the interview, Brown was sorry that his P.R. team got him to agree to do the interview. Mayor Brown must owe a great debt to the Police Union. The Daily Beast has a report about the history of bad cops in Buffalo:

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-terrifying-history-of-bad-cops-in-buffalo

    Of course, “Emergency Response Teams” are heavily armed para-military units that usually arrive in armored vehicles (military surplus donated to local police forces by the federal government that Obama stopped but Jeff Sessions immediately resumed). Dressed in black with bullet proof vests and helmets. Carrying tactical gear and military weapons. They have been trained to intimidate, dominate, and use deadly force against whatever their target is. Sure want to deploy them against peaceful protestors. Again, the over-militarization of the local police.

    The only good news is that the two cops directly involved were charged with Second Degree Assault today.

  25. The big lie is nothing new. Propaganda is nothing new. Public Relations is nothing new. The over-sized truth is nothing new. We should be immune to it by now. But maybe we’re more prone to submit to it now than ever before. Ugly. Very ugly.

    Hell, there is even a Museum of Public Relations at Hoffra University. It traces institutional public relations to pre-Egyptian dynasty days.

    The MPR displays, for instance, Moses, “God’s spokesperson”, you could say, who returned from the mountain to his people carrying the chiseled stone tablets with their TEN TALKING POINTS.

    Thinker-philosophers known as “sophists” in ancient Greece organized schools and created libraries for the purpose of teaching noblemen seeking public office the THE ART OF PERSUASION (PR) THROUGH RHETORIC.

    “Propaganda”, the Latin word for plant and animal reproduction, was formally repurposed by Pope Gregory XIII (1572–85) when he created de propaganda fide, a commission of cardinals TASKED WITH SPREADING CATHOLICISM to non-Catholic countries.

  26. I probably should have said SOME OF US may be more prone to the big lie now than ever. I’ve had time to give that some thought. And thinking about that brings my head to the present immensity of the INTELLECTUAL GAP in the USA. And thinking about that brings me to the “superior race” myth.

    Yes, it’s not true, there is no superior “race”.

    But there is a SUPERIOR POPULATION.

    The superior population is not identified by its color, creed, or culture, and cannot be called a race; it is identified by its intelligence, learning, thoughtfulness, and its willingness to keep learning. And the superior population may be far more superior than any myth of a superior race could have dreamed. Superior race enthusiasts base their false claim on human characteristics that to them produces a winner by a very thin margin.

    But the superior population is superior by a monstrous margin, and I purport that that reality is the fundamental issue beneath all of our major issues. The intellectual gap must be dealt with in some functional way or our present issues will never go away.

  27. reminds me, the checkout stands,natl enquirer.. peckers dream.
    trump tell aliens from planet {*#!|€\€]€$$$, that we welcome them
    with open arms….and will tell obama they fianlly made it..

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