WHEN TRAPPED IN A CORNER OF YOUR OWN MAKING, BLAME THE MEDIA

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This morning (Thursday, 1/5/17), Donald Trump tweeted: “The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people.… to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!”

With apologies to readers who can’t stand the sight of Trump, here are screenshots of his actual tweets:

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Trump’s tweets are so full of fallacies that I don’t know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just dive in with several sets of questions.

First, whom is Trump calling dishonest? Why doesn’t he name anyone specifically? Is he, in fact, claiming that every reporter and all news media are dishonest, or is he leaving it to his Twitter followers to blame the ones that he’s attacked in the past? Is the ultimate purpose behind his blanket statements to sow distrust in news media as a whole?

Second, do the dishonest media—whoever they may be—actually say that Trump is “in Agreement with Julian Assange,” or do they do what Trump says he does, that is, “simply state what he [Trump] states” and leave it to “the people to make up their own minds as to the truth”? If he has examples of media quoting him falsely, why doesn’t he cite them? Granted, Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet, but Trump could add a screenshot of the false claim to his tweet or put links in his tweet to the stories that contain the false quotes—if there are any—or he could cite multiple examples in a series of tweets.

Third, does the following tweet look like the work of a “big fan” of U.S. intelligence agencies to you? Please note that the quotation marks Trump puts around the words “Intelligence” and “Russian hacking” indicate that he’s mocking the U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election.

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Fourth, if Trump is such a “big fan” of “Intelligence,” why didn’t he publicize the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russian interference in the election? And if he’s not in agreement with Assange, why did he go out of his way to tweet to his millions of followers that Assange said the “Russians did not give him the info”? (See screenshot of tweet below.) Don’t Trump’s actions indicate that he gives more credence to Assange than to U.S. intelligence agencies?

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So, what is Trump up to here? I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that he suffered a narcissistic injury when he—along with rest of the world—learned that all of the official U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia intervened in the U.S. election in order to harm the electoral prospects of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Worse still, the C.I.A. concluded that Russia actively interceded in Trump’s behalf. How humiliating! Well, Trump, who has deluded himself into believing he won a “historic electoral landslide” couldn’t let that stand. So, in a narcissistic rage, he lashed out at the intelligence agencies by publicly doubting their conclusions and having his transition team release a statement that, in effect, called the agencies incompetent.

But now (oops!), the intelligence agencies’ report is about to be released, and Trump has painted himself into a corner. What does he do? He blames the “dishonest media,” of course! He tweets: “The media lies to make it look like I am against ‘Intelligence’ when in fact I am a big fan!” Trump’s a big fan? Yeah, right!

Let’s not let him get away with it.

 

Procrastinators Rejoice! It Isn’t Too Late

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Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? Are you thinking about making one? If so, you’re among the 44 percent of Americans who, according to a December 2016 Marist poll, say they are likely to make a resolution for 2017.

The Marist survey asked: “What is it that you will resolve to do or not do in the New Year?” (Here’s a link to the poll in case you’re interested in analyzing the data: http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us161201/Marist%20Poll_National%20Tables_New%20Years%20Resolutions_December%202016.pdf#page=3).

The results of the poll show that many of the most common resolutions involve reducing some kind of consumption. While the top vow is to “be a better person,” resolutions to lose weight (that is, to eat less), spend less money, stop smoking, and stop drinking are also popular. Absent from the survey are resolutions to achieve materialistic goals. Apparently, Americans aren’t resolving to become rich and famous in 2017—or, if they are, they aren’t admitting it.

In addition to resolving to be a better person, people are vowing to improve themselves by exercising more, eating healthier, getting closer to God, going back to school, setting goals, and getting a better job. They say they want to use their time better, increase family time, enjoy life, be kinder to others, and get politically involved. Worth noting is the fact that, with the exception of the 1% who are resolving to get a new house and the less than 1% who want to travel, Americans are resolving to do things in 2017 that are either environmentally benign or environmentally beneficial.

So now that it’s January, and the super-duper, holy-cow(!), consume-like-there’s-no-tomorrow season is behind us, a lot of us are thinking about reducing our consumption of food and other stuff and spending our time involved in more meaningful pursuits. If we follow through with our resolutions, we’ll not only make our own lives better, stronger, and happier, we’ll also be reducing the strain our consumption puts on the natural world.