You are probably familiar with the children’s book series Where’s Waldo? It actually dates back to the late 1980s in England, where the original title was Where’s Wally? Anyway, the key to the books – and later the movies and games – is that despite his relatively easy-to-recognize red-and-white striped shirt and hat and glasses, as the saga progresses Waldo gets harder and harder to find. A lot of the illustrations depict deceptive red-and-white striped objects, aimed at throwing readers off the track. The challenge is to find the real Waldo hidden in the group.
And that, of course, is part of the lure and the fun. Except America just elected Waldo as president. Look here, look there, the shell game continues. The Great Deceiver took all the marbles – Trifecta! – and is running the show. Celebrity Inventor.
First, there are those sometimes Downright Diabolical Distractions. They started innocently enough, I suppose. On Day One, Trump gave a speech at that Deep State mecca, the CIA, where he exuberated about the million to 1.5 million happy people who showed up for his inauguration on the National Mall. “The largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” salubriated Sean Spicer, the incoming Press Secretary, quoting the Donald himself no doubt.
No matter the photos of those sadly empty spaces on the Mall, in contrast to the massive crowd that had shown up for Obama’s debut. But this oversight soon shifted to Trump tweeting about the millions who allegedly voted illegally in the election – all immigrants, no doubt! – but he’d be “asking for a major investigation” into this (fake-news) voter fraud.
That dropped from public discourse quickly, though it was soon followed by the executive order indefinitely banning refugees of seven Muslim nations from our liberated shores. Around the time the flack got heavy in the courts, Trump grabbed the limelight again by hanging up the phone on the Australian prime minister who happened to mention his country’s pre-existing agreement that we’d take in 1,250 refugees. Click. Tough love effused to the base, I guess.
The pattern continued to evolve. When Michael Flynn quit as national security advisor after talking sanctions with Russia’s Ambassador and lying to Veep Pence about it, Trump tweeted about all the fans who’s just turned out to see him in Florida.
Then came the Sessions scuttlebutt (true news), revealing that he’d fudged at his confirmation hearing to become Attorney General about his own meet-ups with Ambassador Kislyak. Kiss kiss yak yak yak. Well, Sessions did then recuse himself from masterminding the still-ongoing probe into that messy Russian meddling. Actually going against his boss’s (the president) saying he should stay the course.
So the Donald played a now-familiar card. Two days later, he dispatched his now legendary wee-hours tweets claiming that his predecessor had wiretapped the phones in his Tower. A flat-out falsity that’s since been denied by the CIA, the FBI, and a host of Republican “supporters.”
Just remember: Trump doesn’t know anybody who has anything to do with the Russkies. In his big news conference last month, he said: “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”
Well, they certainly have deals with him. Lucrative ones, too. As was reported on March 17, “A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records.” They can run but they can’t hide: Click here: Who are the wealthy Russians investing in Trump luxury buildings?
So I’m going to conclude by quoting from a piece I just read at the Alternet news site by Neil Barron, an adviser to global corporations and the federal government on economic issues. It’s headlined: “The Insidious Effect on the Psyche of Trump’s Torrent of Lies.” You can read the full article here:
Barron writes: “Psychological studies find that to conclude that a statement is a lie, our brain must first record the statement for an instant as true. We must accept something to understand it. Only then, can we engage it to process the refutation. However, the imprint of the statement endures, while the refutation fades in our memory. Also lucky for Trump, is that our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream.
“These phenomena are alive and well among Republicans. Eighty-six percent of them continue to support Trump despite the media’s repeated debunking of his obvious lies.
Joseph Goebbels wrote, ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it … The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the … consequences of the lie.’ Hitler coined the expression ‘the Big Lie’ in Mein Kampf. He wrote of a lie so ‘colossal’ that no one would believe anyone ‘could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.’
Trump seems to understand this. According to his ex-wife, Ivana, he kept My New Order, a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, near his bed and read it from time to time. Trump himself said in The Art of the Deal, ‘Tell people a lie 3 times, they will believe anything.’ He clearly knows that colossal lies attract colossal press coverage, and that it works for him even when the press refutes them.”
So when are we gonna call his bluff(s)? Or are we eventually to see a new book, The Art of Dealing With My New Order.