Month: March 2017

Insane or “Merely” Deceitful?

For the record, my Quote of the Day today is meant to be ironic.  Apparently Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the difference between working “even harder for less” and chattel slavery.

Also, today’s post is a rant that has nothing to do with employment law.

Last Saturday morning, Pres. Trump sent out six tweets in which he made this extraordinary and totally unsubstantiated claim: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”  He then claimed that Pres. Obama had been “turned down by court earlier.”  He asserted that Pres. Obama was “bad (or sick).”

FBI Director James Comey asked the Department of Justice to publicly refute that claim. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence between 2010 and January 2017, flatly denied that the FBI received any court order for any such wiretapping.  A spokesman for Pres. Obama called the accusation “simply false.”

More than 48 hours later, the White House still has not provided any support for this wiretapping claim.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, engaged in a bizarre semantic dance on Sunday morning talk shows.  To take one example, she refused to say whether in fact Pres. Obama ever wiretapped Donald J. Trump, either before or after the Presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016.  Instead, she said that “there certainly could have been” wiretapping” and that “it sounds like there’s something that we should look into and verify.”  Yesterday, the White House called for a Congressional investigation to determine whether this alleged wiretapping ever took place.

Let us not mince words here.  This wiretapping accusation is insane.  Pres. Trump and his allies have not presented a shred of evidence to support it.  They have not explained why Pres. Trump has not even asked Mr. Comey, his attorney general, Jeffrey Sessions, or any other Executive Branch official to verify whether a bug was placed in Mr. Trump’s New York offices or on any of his telephone lines.  He has not explained why he did not ask whether any other Executive Branch official whether there was any eavesdropping or wiretap order.  He has not explained why he made an extremely serious accusation — one he claimed to be a “Nixon/Watergate” plot — without any evidence to support it.

Notwithstanding that absence of any evidence, it appears that Pres. Trump believes that Pres. Obama surveilled him electronically.  That raises another question, one which has arisen before.  That question is whether the President of the United States is clinically insane.  He has made similar, unsubstantiated and demonstrably false claims before.  Among other things, he grossly exaggerated the number of spectators during his inaugural address.  He claimed he received more Electoral College votes of any President since Ronald Reagan, when the opposite is true.  He has made so many false statements that it’s difficult to count them all.

It is possible, as some have written, that Mr. Trump is using these false statements for strategic reasons.  I cannot rule out that possibility.  However, it is also possible, if not probable, that Mr. Trump believes that these statements are true, even though those statements are, to use a delicate phrase, “detached from reality.”

A person who is detached from reality is usually delusional.  Such a person will latch onto conspiracy theories to explain his or her understanding of reality, rather than to determine what actually is true.  That description fits Mr. Trump to a “T,” to use a bad pun.  It appears to be the way he views the world.  That would not be a problem were it not for the obvious fact that he is the President of the United States.  He has the power to destroy human civilization.  And he does not know the difference between his fevered imagination and the real world.

There is a way to end this nightmare.  If enough Republicans in Congress were willing to stand up to the President, if they were willing to force him to resign and were willing to impeach him if he were to refuse, we might be able to avoid disasters, up to and including nuclear annihilation, that could result because Pres. Trump does not recognize the difference between truth and reality.

Unfortunately, the President’s enablers in Congress will not try to remove Mr. Trump from office.  But that is another story for another day.

Quote of the Day, March 6, 2017

     “That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
— Benjamin Solomon “Ben” Carson Sr., M.D., Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, March 6, 2017