Stannard: How would we know?

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10,796.

Remember this number.

His tiny finger has too firm a grip on the hair-trigger increasing the chances that the gun goes off accidentally. One false move and history is repeated; and not in a good way. He needs to have the gun go off. He needs the distraction. The heat's coming down and he needs to do something; anything to deflect attention. But there's a problem. He's shooting blanks.

The first time you shoot blanks it does serve to distract people, for sure. However, much like the boy who cried wolf, after a while the act loses credibility, because it's fake; it's a lie.

Over the past 875 days the President of the United States has either misled or flat out lied to America 10,796 times. He lies about things easily proven to be a lie. He denies what we all see on video. He instructs those around him to lie, as we learned just last week when his own internal polling showed him losing to every candidate in the Democratic Primary. Every one of them.

The truth has never been a friend of this president. It's harder to recall a time when he has told the truth then it is the last time he lied. In his younger days he would call reporters using an alias and try to create a false narrative about his business dealings. He's lied about the height of his building in New York City to create the false impression that he owned the tallest building; as if anyone other than him would care.

Today when confronted with the truth he shouts from the podium "FAKE NEWS" and calls our constitutionally sanctioned free press the "Enemy of the people." The irony, of course, is that it is he who is fake and he who is the enemy of the people. When you lie or mislead people 10,796 times in only 875 days only the most na ve and gullible among us believe you. And when people cease believing you then your poll numbers go down. It's the logical progression.

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Much like his other self-imposed, fake crises it appears as though he may be going in for the big one; the most bigly, misleading lie of all-time — starting a war with Iran under false pretenses. It's no secret that his National Security Chief John Bolton has had it in for Iran for decades. Yes, Iran is a bad actor, but is Iran any worse than North Korea or Saudi Arabia or Russia? No. But what Iran has going for it is that they are vulnerable (they don't have nukes) and they have a ton of oil.

Last week we learned that a Japanese oil tanker was attacked in the Straight of Hormuz. Our Secretary of State immediately went on TV and without a shred of evidence accused Iran of the attack. It's hard to see what the upside would be for Iran to do this now.

What we do know is this. There are people in this country who don't trust, or are suspect of our government. There are a lot more people who rightfully do not trust anything this president says, primarily because he's a pathological liar. It was inevitable that at some point a real crisis would come our way that would require serious decision making and public involvement.

Sadly, it is impossible for America today to rally around a president who is so woefully untrustworthy and incompetent and who does not even bother to read his briefings. How can anyone expect to believe a president who has lied to us 10,796 times? Once or twice, maybe, but 10,796 is a lot of lying, don't you think?

Compounding this unfortunate dynamic is the fact that the majority of U.S. Senators have, to date, been completely unwilling to challenge their leader's lies. Serving as enablers they have made the calculated decision that they are better off turning a blind eye to the lies, the childish name-calling, the rude and degrading behavior than to push back. Thus far it seems to be working for them, but 2020 is coming up. The Senate has done absolutely nothing to protect us from yet another Russian attack on our elections. The reasons for their inaction should be clear by now. They benefited from Russia's interference, so why try to stop it?

Maybe dragging America into another war under false pretenses is just what we need to get American voters appropriately outraged. It was the protesters who ground the Vietnam War to halt. Maybe another brutal war waged under false pretenses will wake us all up. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.


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