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In the Realm of Alternative Facts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jack King, BT Contributor   
February 2017

Pix_JackKing_2-17Hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy four years

Hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy four years

WPix_JackKing_2-17hile a whole bunch of Americans weren’t paying attention last fall, we ended up with a very strange president who was elected with a minority of the vote. I know you’re thinking about the difference in the Clinton-Trump vote, which was about three million more votes for Clinton, but I’m not.

You see, Trump got about 60 million votes and won, but that 60 million number is only 25 percent of the adult population of the United States. So 25 percent of the adults in America actually elected the president. Pretty sad.

How do we get more people to vote in this country? I don’t know, but it’s something we seriously need to do. More about that in a future column (or columns).

How did Trump get to the top? Not any normal way. He did it by starring on a reality TV show, screaming “You’re fired!” and running against 16 of the most incompetent Republican challengers that could be assembled.

He also showed that he’s a prolific liar. When caught lying, he’d shrug his shoulders and say something like: “Well, that’s what I heard.” For the brain-dead middle of the country (mostly white voters), it worked great. They just wanted change, no matter what they got. And this is what they got.

Sadly, he’s here now and we have to put up with him for four years. And his lying seems to be an integral part of the scheme. Before the inauguration, Trump repeatedly boasted that his crowds would be exceptionally large. In his words, we should expect an “unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout.” Then came inauguration day, January 20, along with notably sparse crowds scattered across the Washington Mall.

Not satisfied with the media reporting facts that could be verified, his White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave an angry, nasty lecture saying that media had lied about the crowd sizes. It was another situation in which Trump’s people blame the media for just about everything. An elementary principle of epistemology is that merely saying something doesn’t actually make it true.

Spicer has a long history of playing fast and loose with the facts, and getting mad when he is not believed, going all the way back to his college days. As a member of the Connecticut College student government in 1993, he introduced a piece of legislation regarding smoking on campus. When the student newspaper reported on the measure, his name was spelled “Sean Sphincter.” Spicer went ballistic and made a federal case of the error. To say the least, he was not well liked in college -- and not much better now.

Then we have Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump advisor, who offered maybe the best comment of the entire presidential election. After Spicer made his ridiculous comments about crowd size, Conway defended him, saying he was giving us “alternative facts.” She did not actually define what is an “alternative fact.”

Conway has been a master defender of Trump from the first day of his run for the presidency, and to her credit, she never let the facts get in the way of a good story. I’m not sure that she actually knows what a fact is, but she’s adept at talking for hours without ever uttering a single truism. That’s really hard to do.

And one last Trump selection for his cabinet. How about Betsy DeVos for secretary of education? It’s not that she is well-educated (middle of the road), experienced (none), but she is anti-science, climate denying, evolution rejecting, and anti-intellectual.

She tweeted recently to Trump that she was “Honored to witness the historical inauguration and swearing-in ceremony for the 45th President of the United States.”

For someone who wants to be the secretary of education, she should know the difference between “historical” and “historic.” Apparently she does not.

However, she has one redeeming value that few others have -- she has married into a family that is worth $10 billion. They own one the largest pyramid-scheme companies in the world: Amway. And they give generously to the Republican Party.

Are we to expect Trump’s cabinet to be 25 percent military, 25 percent career government officials, and 50 percent campaign donors? Could be. This could end up being the new normal.

And we even have one of our own from South Florida (sort of) in Reince Priebus. He became Trump’s chief of staff, mostly by attrition. Everybody who was considered for the job went away for one reason or another.

The last man standing turned out to be Priebus, who went the University of Miami Law School some 20 years ago. Priebus could be the man for the job, but he needs to stop whining. He sounds like a ten-year-old who just had his Pokémon taken away because of a bad report card. By all accounts, he did well at UM Law, but he’s still a whiner.

 

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