Peter Cavanaugh

We don’t need to be reminded that smoke means fire. Same logic applies to Trump and lies

President Donald Trump speaks about the economy on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford
President Donald Trump speaks about the economy on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford The Washington Post

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

George Orwell – “1984” (1948)

“Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

President Donald J. Trump – (July 24, 2018)


Everyone loves tariffs. Stormy Daniels does not exist. Truth in government does. There was no meeting in Trump Tower between Russians with “dirt on Hillary” and Junior. If there was, Senior never authorized or knew about it. Where’s Russia on a map? Montenegro is our enemy. Those last two syllables say it all. Who is Michael Cohen? What Playboy Bunny? When is “Fox and Friends” on again? Where’s my Coke? Not that – the one I drink. Presidential ponderings abound – unencumbered by reality. The obvious becomes obliterated.

In Oakhurst, we need not be told, “Where there’s smoke – there’s fire.” With Deadwood disappearing everyday, that’s hard to forget.

The Trump/McClintock administration scoffs at the proven human impact on climate change. Trump has announced withdrawal from The Paris Agreement of 2016 signed by 179 other countries. The United States thus joins Syria and Nicaragua in not supporting the pact – a major change in direction since it was we who initiated the whole idea. Does anyone possibly believe the USA continues to lead the free world? Does anybody really think we are still trusted by our friends? Is thinking itself not an endangered exercise?

It seems quite clear many folks don’t like to think. Or judge. It’s not their fault. They’re not wired that way. Sometimes the hardest thing to believe – is in yourself. It can feel much safer to go along – not go alone.

Psychologists claim the hardest thing for most of us is to stand up and address a crowd. It’s a subconsciously programmed, inherited fear. For dozens of centuries, heads were hacked – not hard drives. Even in these times, many would rather be ruled than ridiculed. For these, there are few things more comfortable than acquiescence and acceptance, yielding with quick, defenseless release to swift, sweet surrender.

A fatal German flaw leading to the rise of Hitler was not philosophical agreement or racial hatred, nor outright complicity. It was obedience.

Congress is now on a five-week, hardly-earned vacation.

After two years of calling Russian election meddling in 2016 “a hoax,” Trump’s final act before the jokers left town was to hastily convene a meeting of the National Security Council. With 2018 November elections now a hundred days away, it was to be their first official group discussion on voting integrity. The session lasted a half-hour, then the president left to play golf, honoring precious priorities.

The position of White House cyber security coordinator was eliminated in early May with no replacement deemed necessary. There is no single individual or agency currently taking the lead and overseeing strategy. Accountability is absent. No one’s in charge.

Now comes word that Russian hackers have upped their game, concentrating on power grids and other critical aspects of American infrastructure, including nuclear facilities – possibly impacting target settings. Change that “M-O-S” to “L-A-X.” Sweet.

A glaring national vulnerability has exponentially increased in recent years with ever more sophisticated intricacies of connection, collaboration and coordination. We only need look about. A brilliant cyber attack would not bring about simple, passing inconvenience. Properly unplug us and we are doomed.

But perhaps Trump’s magic will never stop. There he is, just before dawn, high on a hill, live on cable news. He bellows, “Sun! Arise! And it does. Everyone cheers. Another big win!