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At Least Choose Better Lies

For a guy whose obsession with “the best” and “the greatest,” President Donald Trump demonstrates a shockingly poor sense of selectivity when it comes to bald-faced lies. It would be easy to dismiss his behavior as compulsive or reactionary, off-the-cuff denials and distractions wrought by an egocentric blowhard, but this latest in a long line of flamboyant humdingers is no spontaneous misrepresentation, no middle-of-the-night twitter ejaculation.

When White House Spokesman Sean Spicer strutted to the podium and proceeded to not only angrily insist on a string of easily debunked untruths, but to lash at the media for fairly and accurately reporting facts, we witnessed a step towards Orwellian newspeak which, frankly, surprised even a cynical old bastard like me for its venom as well as its brazenness. I’d be impressed, if it wasn’t so insulting.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/21/media/sean-spicer-press-secretary-statement/index.html?sr=twCNN012117ean-spicer-press-secretary-statement%2Findex.html1126PMStoryLink&linkId=33646406

The question of the moment is: why lie about this?  Of all things, why, with so many witnesses, and so much documented video, so many images, choose this issue to squander the Trump  adopt the angry defense of a blatantly and easily debunked untruth? It is troubling to consider what else they might lie about, when they cling so tenaciously to something so small and petty.

A few pundits have speculated that these responses–doubling down on obvious lies–is part of a calculated strategy to systematically undermine non-partisan journalism in America, so that when Trump and his band of flying monkeys wreak truly horrible and heinous acts upon our nation the seed of skepticism has been thickly sewn, at least among his unquestioning followers. My college-age daughter observed that her twitter feed was aflame with accusations of media duplicity regarding the inaugural crowds, not to mention a throbbing anger at the audacity of the Women’s March on Washington. Her followers, a notoriously non-selective cross section of former classmates, athletic competitors, acquaintances and friends of friends collection that, by definition, amounts to a pretty broad cross-section of America, with a slightly Trumpish tilt (we live in The Thunderdome, after all), but the gullibility and/or headstrong denial in those voices is chilling. By extension, the “undermine the media” motive must be considered.

Perhaps I’m naive? I don’t believe in vast conspiracies. Small secrets on a broad scale are common enough, but the idea that a group as broad, independent, and accomplishment-driven as “the mainstream media” could perpetuate a vast conspiracy against any public figure is just absurd. These people, after all, are driven by the goal of out-truthing each other. It is an industry defined by “scoops” and it would take just a single reporter to blow the entire deal. The greater point of this argument is that Trump is so incapable of introspection that he cannot see how his own behavior is rallying the media against him, and so paranoid that he thinks conspiracy lurks around every corner. And we won’t mention the old maxim my grandmother taught me about pots calling kettles black–Trump sees duplicity because he bathes in the stuff.

Ultimately, I suspect that what is truly at work here is nothing more than externally-enabled full-blown narcissism. It is so important to Trump that he be the biggest and the greatest and best-est and the most-est that he has no reservations about sending his mouthpieces into the glare of the spotlights with simple instructions: lie! He wouldn’t be the first. The Neo-Conservative movement at its heyday was famous for the mantra of eschewing “reality-based politics,” a stratagem that advocates should talk about the world as they want it to be, not as it actually was. In short, tell the lie and deny the truth long enough and eventually the lie becomes the truth.

It is a powerful and effective tool. Minds are malleable, and Trump knows this. What will matter, in the end, is whether or not the frustration of those who are opposed to Trump becomes stronger than the dogged determination of his supporters, enablers, and lackeys to swallow whatever buffalo patties he drops in our way. And what of his credibility, and that of our nation as a whole. Allies and adversaries alike are watching and will judge him accordingly. His behavior–whether today’s senseless and petty lies, or his history of broken contracts, bullying, and strategic manipulation demonstrated as an unscrupulous real estate developer, will color treaties and deals and all comers fully understand that this is a man whose word means nothing.

 

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Commentary Photo I Like

The King Is Dead. Long Live The King!

B. B. King  1925-2015.  The King of The Blues.
IMG_4565 bbkchi BB-King-In-Memphis 1963-bb-king_1420394i kin2-014

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Commentary link Photo I Like Yinzerism/Pittsburgh Advocacy

Is Pittsburgh The New Austin?

pittsburgh

Clickhole poses the question, making a compelling argument:

http://www.clickhole.com/article/pittsburgh-new-austin-austin-we-hoped-and-dreamed–1227

…but no, gentle readers, Pittsburgh is neither the new Austin nor next Portland.  Those places were just plain old rough drafts for the final, perfected product.

http://www.pinterest.com/chuckjunk9/pittsburgh-king-of-cities/

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The Shortest Best Story Ever

This post originally appeared in Old Road Apples’ very first week of existence. No one noticed it. No one even read it. So, I’m giving it a chance at new life, as I will be doing with other, carefully selected posts in the coming weeks.

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Among the students voted “best…” and “most likely to…” for the Senior Class Personalities in my kids’ yearbooks, I noted what has to be the most flattering and impressive designation, “Talks the least. Says the Most.”  I can’t think of a higher salute from one’s peers.

Now I’m thinking about the writer Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway was one of those “gateway writers” who collectively inspired me to study literature and read obsessively.  An early selection of my adolescence-generated prose stinks of derivation, but as I stumbled into my pretentious twenties I mocked him along with other, equally unsubtle critics.  He ate a sandwich.  It was a good, moist sandwich with meat and cheese. The cheese was yellow and good. He had eaten kind of sandwich Nick ate in Italy.  I fell in love with bombast, magical realism, what I jokingly called “maximumism.”  That passed, too, and I’ve come full circle to recognize the subtle  genius behind the man who writes the least  and says, or at least edits, the most.

My favorite story about Hemingway involves him sitting around a table, possibly at The Algonquin, with his friends, a few of whom were towering talents in their own right, and betting the house that he could write an entire story with just a few words.  His eager companions bade him put his money where he mouth (and pen) was.  Hemingway replied with a 6-word novel, hastily scribbled onto a napkin  It read:

“For sale: baby shoes.  Never worn.”

His companions read the words, probably grumbled a little, and paid the man.

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Best Damned Quotes: Anne Lamott

“I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman’s name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it.”
–Anne Lamott

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Commentary video

Friday Morning Rock & Roll Idols: The Jam

The Jam were the coolest, and not well known here in the USA, but even after all these years I’d argue they were one of the great bands of their generation.  I can’t help thinking how much better my youth would have been if their music had been bombarding all of us from the radio instead of all that disco and classic rock.  Of course, in western Pennsylvania some of the radio stations are still keeping the same 20 or 30 songs in heavy rotation as they used in 1980.  Listen and believe….

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Commentary Quote Uncategorized

Quote From The Other Side: My Favorite Ann Coulter Zingers

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“I’m more of a man than any liberal.”

I’m not a fan of Ann Coulter, but I’m a huge admirer.  She is perhaps the most brilliant entertainer of our time, slinging out foul and seemingly unfiltered, acerbic, utterly heinous and gratuitously venomous right-wing propaganda that mesmerizes her audience and goads them to ever-increasing frenzies of despicable hatred, flaunting the truth with every hyper-enunciated syllable, every flippant flip of her bottle-blonde bangs.  Her exaggerated arrogance and utter disdain for fact and truth drive her detractors to equally intense spasms of spittle-flying fury.  All the while, the conflict between fans and foes feed the fires of her speaking engagements and book sales.  It’s a great gig.  She says whatever the hell pops into her mind, regardless of veracity, and watches the fitful masses fill her piggy bank.  Though not as prominent of late, she’ll re-emerge at some time to incite more riots of adulation/apoplexy she can ride all the way to the bank.  See you in hell, Ann!

You’d think these were April Fools Posts, but if you did you’d be wrong:

“We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.” –arguing that it would be better if we were all Christian

“I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.”

“God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'”

“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women. It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it’s the party of women and ‘We’ll pay for health care and tuition and day care — and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?'”

“People like you caused us to lose that war.” — Speaking to a disabled veteran on MSNBC

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”–on dealing with conflict in the Middle East.

 

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Functioning Hoverboard–Changes Everything

What they’re not telling you here is that the current HUVr Boards are not yet commercially available and face years of testing before they will be.  The prototypes in the video cost more than $1 Million each–but the fact of the matter is that this changes EVERYTHING.  Once the costs come down, we’ll see this sort of tech added to everything from shopping carts to automobiles, from hospital gurneys to battle tanks. 

http://huvrtech.com/about.html

https://www.facebook.com/huvrtech

The military is already working on a “trackless hover tank” prototype.

travhsbtank

Cut Away Previews.indd

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Video For Another Cold Freaking Morning

Wake up, put the dog out–brrrrr.  Another morning with the mercury on the wrong side of zero. Take the girls to school at 7–or, worse–to the gym at 5:50–that cushy leather upholstery in the truck sucks every ounce of heat from my butt. (two words: heated seats).  I don’t wish my life away, and I know that soon enough it will be muddy, squishy, rainy spring, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little taste of summer now.

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Cowboy Junkies 32.20 ; After All These Years

It’s hard to believe it has been almost 28 years since I bought a record, having no idea what the music inside would sound like, took it back to my drafty college apartment, placed it on the turntable and dropped the needle, and fell in love.  This is magnificent.