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Trump and the Art of the Lie


#1

Trump and the Art of the Lie

Zephyr Teachout

As a presidential candidate last year, Donald Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” He didn’t shoot anyone, but proved that he could say whatever he wanted and still become president, without apology or explanation.


#2

Zephyr, not you too (Brute).
What is this bandwagon you're all on?
You of all people know what's really going on, don't you?


#3

What issues do you have about what Ms. Teachout wrote here? That she suggested that Vladimir Putin and Trump are very similar in their psychopathology? And that he tells his lies knowing that we all know he is lying - which belies a total disregard of other people as human beings at all!

Which, after all, is the definition of "criminal psychopath" to begin with.


#4

I assume you are referring to this as outlined by Daniel Lazare:

"But Russia-gate is not about democracy. Rather, it is about an inside-the-beltway battle over the direction of U.S.-Russian relations.
The battle is deadly serious. Since roughly 2008, Cold War II has expanded steadily to the point where it now extends along a 1,300-mile front from Estonia to the Crimea plus the Caucasus and major portions of the Middle East. It has intensified as well and would likely have reached a flashpoint if the hawkish Hillary Clinton had been elected.
But Trump’s surprise victory threw a wrench into the works. This is not to say that Donald Trump is a latter-day Mahatma Gandhi out to bring peace and brotherhood to the world. To the contrary, he’s a loud-mouthed ignoramus who can barely find Russia on the map. But amid all his confused mutterings about foreign policy, one thing that has come through loud and clear is his desire for a rapprochement with Russia.
Given the mounting war fever that has gripped Washington for the last ten years or so, this is nothing short of explosive. Once it became clear in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 that Trump was White House-bound, the pro-war establishment therefore went into overdrive. Every effort was made to undermine the President-elect’s legitimacy."
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#5

America: a nation ruled by ....... and reason, a thoughtful, human nation.
-- Perhaps in your alternate universe?


#6

And think of the business opportunities that the Russian billionaires and their stupendous oil and mineral reserves will provide us!

And regarding "Cold War 2" you seem to have forgotten what the real Cold War looked like. In those days, the US enthusiastically supported right-wing authoritarian capitalists like Putin in its fight against democratic socialism wherever it popped up.


#7

Perjury and other crimes are criminal acts only if the powers that be chose to prosecute. There is zero possibility that the largest organized crime syndicate ever to inhabit the planet (GOP) will prosecute Trump as long as he continues to provide the best smoke screen they have ever had, to give them the cover needed to destroy the last vestiges of democracy in Murka.


#8

I think this is the most on point explanation I have heard to explain Trump's constant lies. He has a lot of support because he is leading the charge against liberals. Of course members of Congress who believe in the US Constitution should start proceedings to remove an authoritarian figure from office, particularly as it seems more and more likely that Russia was involved in getting him into office, but today's politicians are mostly career politicians and only care about the next election. Any deviation from the fight against liberals by Republicans can put their political career in jeopardy. A few like John McCain have reached such a status that they can get away with it but he is an exception.


#9

Lying is not an "art," it is a personality defect, and in the case of DJT, OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. Regardless of the motivations behind the lies, the fact remains that this narcissistic sociopath denies reality by creating his own and crafts statements to cement his "reality." He is so delusional that he believes that the power he has been granted as President can make people believe his lies and if they do not, then that power can be used to punish them for disloyalty to the emperor. In any case, he is not fit to be president of the US nor of any entity excepting one of his own making. Perhaps Ivanka will hire him when he is summarily deposed, convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors, and after he is released from prison...unless, of course, her empire also crumbles.

"Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive" (Walter Scott from "Marmion")


#10

The author's analysis of what should be considered a pathological personality trait in Trump is spot on. I remember Ms. Teachout as an eloquent leader during the Howard Dean presidential campaign. I am glad to see her still engaged in the good fight.


#11

An acute analysis, Zephyr: Whereas 'The communists burned the Reichstag!' is a marker of demagogic hysteria that makes political movements 'untouchable' in one setting, it is the potent rallying cry of such movements in another setting.

Still, I think your analysis errs in being too 'Trump-centric' - not until the end of your piece do you turn to the enabling Republican representatives and, by implication, the mass right wing U.S. electorate - almost all traditional Republicans - that voted for him.

The sickness of U.S. politics runs deep - it may be morally satisfying to fairly characterize Republican fence sitters as cowards, but that doesn't solve the problem.

The U.S. right is inveterate - to push through their longstanding agenda, they'll tolerate any amount of bullying, lying crap, and, in fact, many of them will thrill to it. As I said earlier today, it is one thing to 'disapprove' of an elected official; it is quite another to vote against him/her when they say they'll carry out your longstanding agenda.

So the besetting task for progressives is how to form a movement and a politics that can combat the inveterate right and attract its confused working class elements.


#12

Trump is surely a pathological liar. But as for the "art of the lie," have we forgotten the following?

--Weapons of Mass Destruction
--"Ariel Sharon is a man of peace."
--Gaddafi "gave his soldiers Viagra" and "bombed his own people"
--"Russia invaded Ukraine"
--"We are the indispensable nation"
--"Assad gassed his own people" (cf. UNWCC and MIT reports)
--"moderate rebels"

And on and on it goes. And the most recent cherry on this cake is, of course, Russiagate. You can't call people out for lying if you utter or support lies yourself. Most government statements since the Bush coup of 2000 have been lies, whether Republican or Democrat. And I won't even mention the Mother of All Lies.


#13

Don't forget the big lie of the democrats under Lyndon Johnson. The normal vote for me lie was, American boys should not go to Asia to fight for the freedom of Asian boys. The big art lie was the war had nothing to do with freedom other than democratic party destruction of American freedom.


#14

Lots of lying, for sure. LBJ couldn't end the Vietnam War to fund his Great Society Programs because he needed both. Military Keynesianism is a real policy and does function to " keep priming the pump ". ( A phrase I just invented, btw. Would I lie to you?:wink: )
Anyway, please reinvent the very liberal Republican who attends the Unitarian Church and also accompanies his Buddhist wife to the temple. And, I'll see you at their next national convention.
Meanwhile, I'll remember what my grandfather said about politics, " In that business, and it is a business, the first liar doesn't have a chance in hell ".


#15

You mix couple actual lies with fake lies and a number of facts that are not lies at all. Russian forces really did enter eastern Ukraine in 2014, Gaddafi really did bomb domestic insurgents, Assad really has used chemical weapons numerous times against Syrians, and there really is a moderate, democratic, anti-oppression resistance which would have prevailed had the US not sided with Assad against them in 2011-13.


#16

That's a pretty US-centric way of looking at it. The real loss in freedom here was the 3 million-plus Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians who dies under the US bombs.


#17

Right, and the moon is made of green cheese. There isn't an iota of evidence for anything you say. There might be a (slight) moderate opposition to Assad, but they're not the ones with guns in their hands.


#18

Lies imply intent. Some of things you are calling lies are backed by evidence but not totally definitive evidence. They may be best possible explanation on what happened given the evidence. There doesn't seem to be any doubt that Bush and Cheney lied about the weapons of mass destruction or at the very least they expressed certainty when the security agencies had doubts. The Gaddafi and Viagra is a new one to me. I think there very strong evidence that Russia sent soldiers into the Ukraine. Certainly no lie is involved on that. At the worst there is a misinterpretation of the evidence. There is also very strong evidence that Assad gassed his own people although here the evidence may not be quite definitive. A wrong analysis is not a lie. Neither is an honest error. Trump intentionally lies. The I have to agree with Zephyr Teachout on the reason for his lies.


#19

Yes, and crimes of Suharto, Pinochet, The Shah, The Argentine Junta, Marcos, the Colombian Death squads, the the Contras are also just lies from the liberals too, right?


#20

I think the evidence is pretty definitive that the Syrian military - and therefore Assad who is the commander in chief, have committed numerous chemical weapons attacks against Syrians.