Trump Lies, The Truth Dies

Donald Trump's lies became even more frequent during the recently-concluded campaign season.

On Tuesday of last week, President Trump reached his 649th day in office and the fact checkers at The Washington Post providing the latest update to their ongoing count took note by of the number of lies and misrepresentations we’ve gotten from this President since he took office in January 2017:

If President Trump’s torrent of words has seemed overwhelming of late, there’s a good reason for that.

In the first nine months of his presidency, Trump made 1,318 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day. But in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims — an average of 30 a day.

Combined with the rest of his presidency, that adds up to a total of 6,420 claims through Oct. 30, the 649th day of his term in office, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.

So that adds up to 84 claims on Oct. 1, when he held a rally in Johnson City, Tenn.; 83 claims on Oct. 22, when he held a rally in Houston; and 78 claims on Oct. 19, when he held a rally in Mesa, Ariz.

Put another way: September was the second-biggest month of the Trump presidency, with 599 false and misleading claims. But that paled next to October, with almost double: 1,104 claims, not counting Oct. 31.

The burden of keeping track of this verbiage has consumed the weekends and nights of The Fact Checker staff. We originally had planned to include Oct. 31 in this update, but the prospect of wading through 20 tweets and the nearly 10,000 words Trump spoke that day was too daunting for our deadline.

The president’s proclivity to twist data and fabricate stories is on full display at his rallies. He has his greatest hits: 120 times he had falsely said he passed the biggest tax cut in history, 80 times he has asserted that the U.S. economy today is the best in history and 74 times he has falsely said his border wall is already being built. (Congress has allocated only $1.6 billion for fencing, but Trump also frequently mentioned additional funding that has not yet been appropriated.)

But there are many curious moments, too, suggesting the president is walled off from contradictory information.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump emphatically denied he had imposed many tariffs. “I mean, other than some tariffs on steel — which is actually small, what do we have? . . . Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere,” he insisted. The newspaper responded by printing a list of $305 billion tariffs on many types of U.S. imports.

Nearly 25 times, he has claimed that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was No. 1 in his class at Yale University or at Yale Law School. The law school does not rank, and Kavanaugh graduated cum laude from the college — the third level, below summa cum laude and magna cum laude. At the time, Yale granted honors rather liberally, so nearly 50 percent of the class graduated with honors, with half of those cum laude.

This is one of those facts that can be easily checked with a Google search, yet the president persists with his falsehood.

Similarly, Trump attacked Richard Cordray, a Democrat running for governor in Ohio, for having spent $250 million on renovating the building for the agency he once ran, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That was almost double the actual cost. Oddly, Trump added that after Cordray spent “$50 million on some elevators, it turned out they didn’t work.”

Trump lives in expensive housing, but that’s a fantasy. The most expensive elevator ever is the 1,070-foot-high Bailong Elevator, set in a Chinese mountain range. It cost $20 million.

Thirteen times, Trump invented whole-cloth stories about Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the lead plaintiff in a steadily advancing lawsuit that could open up the Trump Organization’s books to lawmakers. Trump falsely claimed Blumenthal said he was a war hero and fought in Vietnam’s Da Nang province. “We call him ‘Da Nang Richard.’ ‘Da Nang’ — that’s his nickname,” Trump said. Blumenthal described his military record in misleading or false terms on a few occasions before he was elected to the Senate in 2010, but he never said he fought in the theater. Trump also said Blumenthal dropped out of the Senate race (no), barely won anyway (no) and was crying when he apologized (no).

The stories go on and on, and by now we’re all familiar with them. There’s basically a day that doesn’t go by where, if the President speaks publicly or sends a message out via Twitter, the President does not tell a lie, mislead, or, as is the case with Senator Blumenthal, simply invent things out of whole cloth. Additionally, as the Post notes, the closer we’ve gotten to the midterm elections, the more lies he’s told. In many cases, of course, these are repeats of things he’s lied about before, but every now and then something new enters his repertoire, and without fail becomes yet another one of the many lies he tells on a regular basis. Most recently, of course, Trump’s lies have centered around the caravan of Central American migrants currently making its way through Mexico which he contends, without evidence, is full of criminals and gang members, and which he has used as part of his closing message to Republican voters as we head to the midterms. Indeed, as the Post notes, over the past seven weeks alone, the President has made more than 1,400 false or misleading claims, an average of 30 per day which is far above the previous average over the whole of his term through Day 600 of 8.2 lies per day.

Based on the Post’s numbers as of October 30th, the President is averaging roughly 9.9 lies per day over the 649 days that the Post based its numbers on. If he maintains this average, he will have told an astounding 14,474 lies for the duration of his first term in office. If he maintains this average over the course of two terms, then he will have told just under 29,000 lies over the course of an eight-year Presidency.  While I’m as cynical as the next person when it comes to the tendency of politicians tell the truth, this is an extraordinary number of lies coming from one person and it’s arguably consistent with the type of person who either does not believe he is obliged to tell the truth or that he is simply so used to lying that it comes as easily to him as putting on a pair of shoes.

This latest update should come as no surprise. Shortly after the Republican National Convention in 2016, Politifact found that nearly 80% of the claims that candidate Trump had made on the campaign trail since entering the race the year before had been a lie of some form or another. That trend continued for the balance of the campaign, including even during Trump’s Presidential debates with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While there were several points during those debates that either one of the moderators or Clinton herself called these lies out, their sheer number was almost impossible for any one person to keep track of without losing their mind. This trend continued after the election, of course, and Trump wasn’t even in office for twenty-four hours before he told the first of his many lies regarding the size of his Inauguration Day crowd. From that point forward, the trend was set and we’re now at the point where I’m sure that Glenn Kessler and the rest of the fact checkers at the Post and other similar outfits are glad to have access to a computer that can keep track of the numbers for them.

Given the extent to which he makes things up on the fly, whether it’s during one of his rallies, during an interview, or on Twitter, it’s hardly surprising that the President has faired so badly with the fact-checkers. From the start of his campaign, he’s made false and easily disproven claims about Mexicans and crime, about immigrants in general, about Muslims, and about policy issues ranging from international trade to foreign policy to history. Indeed, it can truly be said there are few politicians in American history who have been quite as skilled as Donald Trump when it comes to being able to lie so easily and so frequently. Additionally, the ease with which he does so makes it seem as though he believes what he’s saying, or that he simply doesn’t care if it’s true or not. It’s a skill he honed during the time he was considered a “celebrity” before becoming a Presidential candidate. Back then, of course, even his most obviously exaggerated claims about his own business success would be slavishly repeated by the media rather investigated to see if they were actually true. If Trump learned from that experience is that it largely did not matter if the claims he made were true or not. For the most part, the people reporting the “news” about Trump back then were not inclined to check just how much of what he said was true. Indeed, given the fact that it was his status as an ostentatious celebrity that caused the public to tune in or buy newspapers and magazines when they covered him, it was not in their interest to deflate him, but rather to build him up since the relationship between celebrities and the media that covers them is largely a symbiotic one where the media benefits by inflating the ego of the celebrity, and the celebrity benefits by letting the media cover him or her.’Throughout his pre-Presidential life, Trump took advantage of that relationship with the media to hype his “brand” even when it meant telling outright and obvious lies that only a handful of reporters bothered to try to verify.

That brings us back to the present day. There are some who have argued in the past that the media spends too much time trying to count or rebut the President’s lies and that the endeavor is largely pointless since the true believers who support him aren’t listening and will never believe he’s lying in any case. Tom Toles at The Washington Post made that point back in September, while others have claimed that, in pointing out the numerous occasions on which the President doesn’t tell the truth, the media only serves to help the President to spread these false and misleading claims and serves to further muddy the waters between truth and reality. Linguist George Lakoff, meanwhile, argues that the press feeds into Trump’s game plan by chasing his lies:

If reporters dedicate time and energy to investigating whether known lies might be true, they will continue to cede control of the news cycle to Trump.

Trump’s “big lie” strategy is designed to exploit journalistic convention by providing rapid-fire “news” events for reporters to chase. Trump spews falsehoods in a blitzkrieg fashion, but the lies are only part of the game. What reporters continue to miss is the strategy behind the big lies: to divert attention from big truths. The technique is simple: create controversy and confusion around politically-charged topics to stoke his conservative base and distract from stories that harm Trump.

It’s a numbers game. The more he can get his key terms and images repeated in the media — even as “fact checks” — the more he wins. That’s just how our brains work. The more we hear about something, the more it sticks. Even if it’s not true. When I say “don’t think of an elephant,” it forces you to think of an elephant. Repeating lies, even to debunk them, helps spread and strengthen them. The scientific evidence is clear.

Lakoff isn’t suggesting that reporters completely surrender to Trump’s congenital lying, merely that they adjust the way they handle them and try to inform the public:

This doesn’t mean reporters should ignore the president’s lies. It means they must be extremely cautious about spreading the substance of the lies, because that rewards his lying strategy.

We recommend using the “truth sandwich” method. And maybe it’s time to take Trump’s circus of lies off of the front page and put them in their own special section of the newspaper, perhaps with the comics and the horoscopes. Document them, but don’t give them the power to overshadow important news.

When Trump tells a big lie on any particular subject it’s usually because he’s distracting from a big truth. The big truth he’s trying to cover up by making up lies about the election system is the massive voter suppression effort Republicans have undertaken. They are wiping voter rolls and doing everything they can to make it harder for people — especially people of color — to vote. Meanwhile, Trump uses his bully pulpit to accuse his opponents of doing exactly what he and his party are up to.

(…)

Faced with an authoritarian leader who uses lies as weapons, reporters must evolve to counter the threat. Protecting the truth requires more than fact checking. It demands that reporters take into account the strategy behind Trump’s blitzkrieg of lies and refuse to fall for it.

I understand the point that Lakoff is trying to make. Publicizing Trump’s lies does tend to help him to spread them, and all the fact checking in the world isn’t going to stop his true believer supporters from believing what he says, especially when he has told those supporters that the media that is doing the fact checking is “Fake News” and “the enemy of the people.” This is even further complicated by the fact that, long before Trump came along, these supporters were told by conservative pundits and politicians that the so-called “mainstream” media was biased against them. Indeed, we’re now at the point where many of these people aren’t even likely to be paying attention to the media outlets that are doing the fact-checking. Instead of watching CNN or MSNBC, or any of the broadcast networks, they watch Fox News Channel, a network that not only doesn’t call the President out for his lies but actually helps to spread them. Instead of reading The New York Times or The Washington Post, they’re reading The Washington Times or, worse yet, “news” sites on the Internet such as Breitbart and blogs such as Gateway Pundit or one of the allegedly mainstream conservative blogs that do little more than spread the President’s lies and engage in the proud conservative tradition of trying to “own the libs.” To that extent, the reporters who have taken it upon themselves to try to point out the truth are, sadly, largely preaching to the choir.

Notwithstanding that, though, I think it’s mistaken to suggest that the media should stop being so explicit in trying to challenge the President’s lies. The realities of Donald Trump’s America notwithstanding, the truth still does matter, and the fact that we have a President for whom lying is second nature is important. Taking the time to point out those lies, even when the Trumpidians aren’t listening, is exactly what the news media is supposed to do. My suggestion is that they keep doing it until people start paying attention, and it seems clear that outside of the GOP people are paying attention. This fact seems most apparent when you notice that political Independents, who are the decisive factor in most elections, have a far more negative opinion of the President than the American public as a whole. Trump’s base may be a lost cause, but then they always were, but the rest of America seems to be listening, and hopefully, that means that they’ll use the power they do have to send this President a message at the ballot box.

 

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. drj says:

    This is new, though: the White House used a doctored video to justify CNN reporter Acosta’s ban:

    The White House has been accused of using a doctored video made by far-right outlet Infowars to defend its decision Wednesday to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials. During a disagreement at a press conference, President Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person” and began to cut him off, but Acosta did not sit down or relinquish the microphone, even when an intern tried to pull it away. In the original footage, Acosta’s hand appeared to brush her arm and Acosta quickly said: “Pardon me, ma’am.” A 10:30 p.m. tweet by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, shared footage that didn’t have the audio, zoomed in on Acosta’s arms, and had its speed altered—making the brush appear to be more aggressive. “We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass,” Sanders said in her tweet of the video. “We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video.”

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  2. reid says:

    @drj: Even after all we’ve been through with these clowns, I’m still amazed at how low they will go. Not an ounce of integrity or shame.

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  3. drj says:

    @reid:

    I’m still amazed at how low they will go.

    To them, it will make no difference whatsoever, because they have brainwashed enough people to ensure that they can do without shame. The true believers will swallow anything. And they have already given up on the saner people anyway.

    So why should they let themselves be held back by an emotion that is no longer of practical use to them?

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  4. Scott F. says:

    It’s working for him within his echo chamber at Fox News and with the Trumpkins. It’s never going to get better until the target audience tires of being dupes.

    I remember a world where people took being lied to as an insult.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    He is a pathological liar, having been married to one for 5 years, I well recognize the pattern of behavior. With every lie that is accepted by his base, the more he knows them for the chumps that they are and the more he knows he can roll them for all they’re worth. The people who challenge his lies, they are a threat to be feared and attacked. I played the first role the first year of our marriage, the 2nd role the 2nd year of our marriage, and a 3rd roll the last 3 years, that of quiet acceptance.

    Guess what? Between quiet acceptance and being a chump, there was no difference in the results. It was only when I reverted to challenging the lies that I regained my life, and my self respect.

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  6. Teve says:

    Trump’s abhorrent behavior, and that of his supporters, resulted in record turnout, a record number of women being elected, half a dozen scientists, two lesbians, and so on.

    And they’re not done. Expect more of the same in 2020.

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  7. MarkedMan says:

    Ever since the days of Jerry Falwell and Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, I’ve changed my thinking about the people who follow these charlatans. I used to think that they had been unwittingly fooled but now I believe that they have been “wittingly” fooled. There is simply a certain segment of the population that actually look for, and blindly support, the most obvious liars, whether on a conscious or unconscious basis. I have a few theories as to why that is, but my psychoanalysis is worth about as much as Lucy Van Peldt’s so I’ll just leave it at that.

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  8. reid says:

    @drj: I don’t doubt you’re correct, I’m just surprised and saddened that we find ourselves in this position and that there’s basically nothing that we can do about it. This after one of the most ethical, upstanding administrations.

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  9. Kathy says:

    I’m reminded of cavalry charging a machine gun nest. Regardless of the intent on either side, the machine gun always wins.

    I’d recommend the media report hings like “Today Mr. trump lied about the migrant caravan, saying it’s made up of criminals and terrorists. This is not true…” But there are problems with this approach.

    As noted, all politicians lie to some extent, or spin tings, or tell half-truths. If the media starts reporting on El Cheeto this way, then God help the next Democrat who even makes a tiny factual error.

    I have no hope the age of Trump will lead to more truthful politicians. After all, they can all claim, when caught in any kind of lie, to be paragons of honesty compared to Trump.

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  10. Teve says:

    @reid: There’s an old saying, “After a fat pope, a thin one.” After we have basically the best president of my lifetime, we have the worst.

    But FWIW I expect this to cycle again immediately and we’ll get Klobuchar or similar in 2020.

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  11. JohnMcC says:

    @Kathy: Caravan? There’s a caravan somewhere? How would I know about it if I had no memory other that what I was told today?

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  12. Emphasis says:

    @Scott F.: yes like “if you like your doctor you can keep it” or your hospitalization premium will go down by $2,500 a year or …what is the use, you would not see the difference between an exaggeration and a lie. One you can laugh about the other will cost you.

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  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    SHS knowingly advanced a doctored video to the American people.
    As a christian, her conscience should force her to resign, today.
    Buhwahahahahahahahaha…
    I crack myself up.

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  14. Teve says:

    “I think I am a great moral leader.” — Donald Trump

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  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Emphasis:
    After Obama served 8 years as President, you guys can only keep going back to the same old tired saw…which wasn’t even a lie, because I did, in fact, keep my Doctor, and my rates did, in fact, go down.
    Sycophancy is so pathetic.

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  16. Mikey says:

    @Kathy:

    the migrant caravan

    Kinda funny how all the Republican concern about that magically vanished Wednesday morning, innit?

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  17. KM says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I have several family members like this as well and they’re incredibly quick to spout (and internalize) BS if it’s against someone they can’t stand. For instance, two of my aunts are fighting and one’s crappy cellphone died. She immediately started blaming the other aunt (who’s several states away) for having done something nefarious to destroy it. When confronted with why she thought that, she replied she was sitting next to my cousin who got a text that she didn’t. Therefore my aunt was *obviously* cut off from a chat group (maliciously, dontcha know!) and then the other aunt somehow convinced her son to send a “text-virus” to remotely brick her crappy flip phone. As for why, “well she’s bitter, you don’t know her!”

    I listened to this conspiracy theory develop right in front of me and the rest of the family present just soaked it up. All of them are tech-illiterate; as far as they are concerned, it’s voodoo that can do anything instead of code and hardware with limitations. Nobody listened to me when I explained none of that was possible and she was making it up on the spot. They’ve since gone and spread this nonsense like gospel among family and friends because I’ve heard it from at least 3 other sources. That it was bad luck and terrible tech literally didn’t occur to her – she was fighting with someone so therefore that someone was the cause of the random bad thing that happened to her. She will never admit that the text she used as an excuse was never meant for her nor that her phone dying was random chance. Facts won’t matter – all that’s important is that she was “attacked” and she knows who did it.

    Watching Trump is like listening to my aunt all over again. Clear BS being generated to cast blame, which is then accepted as truth by the faithful and internalized against the other. It’s not even really lies – it’s hurt feelings and anger crystallized into a weapon to cut their enemy. Lies are words and words ultimately have meaning – what spews out of Trump’s mouth is his mental illness made manifest and all the bitterness that backs it.

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  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Last week 7,000 honduran women and children were invading our country and it was a nat’l emergency that required 7,000 military to stop.
    Now? Crickets.
    I hope every single media outlet realizes how badly they were played.
    Fvcking embarrassing.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    then God help the next Democrat who even makes a tiny factual error.

    I hope so, because Glenn Kessler, the fact checker at WAPO, will show them no mercy. He desperately wants to appear non-partisan. As his business is identifying lies in modern America he has to work really, really hard to dump on Dems when he has the slightest opportunity.

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  20. gVOR08 says:

    One of the elements of kompromat is sowing confusion. The goal isn’t to spread some particular falsehood, but to create a fog of confusion in which nothing appears true. Trumpsky learned well.

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  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott F.:
    Actually we demand lies and we get them. Voters create a market for bullshit because they don’t want to be exposed to anything that challenges their presuppositions. If you doubt that, look at how people still manage to buy the idea that tax cuts are self-financing. We live in a country where the majority of people believe in angels and a magic sky daddy who loves them so very much he may send them to eternal torment. People are idiots and idiots want reassurance, not facts. Isn’t that right, @Emphasis:

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  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    After Obama served 8 years as President, you guys can only keep going back to the same old tired saw…which wasn’t even a lie, because I did, in fact, keep my Doctor, and my rates did, in fact, go down.

    To be fair, there was also the 57 states thing. They had two from eight years. How many volumes of Bushisms did we end up with? And WAPO has to maintain a data base on Trump. I have to change doctor, but only because I moved out of state last month.

    Gawd I miss a President who had a WH fact checking operation and used it. And could speak ex temp in well formed paragraphs.

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  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    The realities of Donald Trump’s America notwithstanding, the truth still does matter, and the fact that we have a President for whom lying is second nature is important.

    On the other hand, the reality of a country where 47% are okay with the lying and an additional 15-20% are oblivious to it makes an argument that the lying doesn’t actually matter possible and even viable. The press needs to report factually and truthfully still, but we may need to realize that the press is “preaching to the choir.” That factor will diminish the utility of the reporting.

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  24. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Though I can appreciate your cynicism, you use the terms “we” and “people” too broadly here. Regardless of the faith-based beliefs of the US majority, it is a minority in this country that are either buying Trump’s lies or profiting from them and they now have power due to the minority-rule flaws in our system that Steven has documented well here.

    I would not disparage potential allies in the fight to overcome those flaws by painting with such a broad brush. Dupes like Emphasis shouldn’t be given that satisfaction.

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  25. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08: Oh, you should fact-check all public officials.

    But there are lies and there are errors. I’m not worried about what a fact-checker affiliated with a respectable journalistic organization may do with factual errors. I’m concerned about Republicans pouncing on them to besmirch an otherwise decent politician (as far as politicians can be decent).

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  26. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: When they assemble a list of Obama “lies” equal in number to the lies Trump told on any random weekday, I’ll pay attention.

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  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “…a magic sky daddy who loves them so very much he may send them you to eternal torment.”

    FTFY. Details are important. Especially when denigrating the beliefs of others, no matter how intellectually impoverished you see those beliefs to be.

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    To be fair, there was also the 57 states thing.

    Of course, there’s a difference between a lie and an error–a distinction that, unfortunately, fact-checkers often fail to make sufficiently clear. For example, Herman Cain claimed incorrectly that the Constitution contained the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I don’t think he was lying; that’s a common misconception.

    Trump is incredibly ignorant and does make errors at least as often as he lies outright. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to tell which is which, because there’s never a moment when he’s arguing in good faith. Take, for example, his claim that if not for John McCain’s thumbs-down during ACA repeal, the country would have had excellent health care. In fact McCain merely killed a “skinny repeal” bill that eliminated the individual mandate penalty and a few taxes but otherwise left the entirety of the ACA in place–this after two more far-reaching repeal bills failed in the Senate, the first of which McCain supported. Does Trump understand that? I doubt it. But even he’s not dumb enough to believe that repealing the ACA would have led to “excellent health care.” So his claim is a combination of ignorance and dishonesty–but none of it, let’s be clear, is an innocent misunderstanding. He makes no effort to understand things properly; he just says whatever the hell he thinks will benefit him or feed his multiverse-sized ego, and the truth value of his claims is simply irrelevant to him.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod:

    So his claim is a combination of ignorance and dishonesty

    It is ignorance in service of dishonesty.

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  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    Linguist George Lakoff, meanwhile, argues that the press feeds into Trump’s game plan by chasing his lies

    This is because there’s really no such thing as a journalism industry anymore. We have a “news-y” branch of the entertainment industry. It’s all just a big pro-wrestling styling kayfabe thing to them with the “journalists” as the faces and the administration as the heels. So no matter how much Corey Lewandowski lies on air, CNN will keep inviting him back and Anderson Cooper will pretend to be outraged at being lied too, and it’s all compelling drama.

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  31. Todd says:

    We read these things, we lament how awful it is, but we don’t know what to do about it. We are decent, calm, thoughtful people. We’re not in favor of things like taking to the streets, and certainly not anything that could even be remotely construed as revolutionary changes to our system of government.

    But the simple fact is, our system is (possibly irrevocably) broken. The American experiment is over.

    We just had an election that resulted in the Republican party gaining seats in the Senate, which will allow them to continue to tilt the courts to the right … an effect that will be felt for decades (even if future elections go a different way) This was only possible because a significant number of people in these states believe the lies that Donald Trump and his administration tell, while disbelieving (and pushing back against) actual objective facts.

    I’m still not quite ready to say “tear it all down” and start over, but I’m getting close … and I’m about as far from a “revolutionary” type as they come.

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  32. Teve says:

    “I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American”

    -Sarah Sanders

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  33. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Todd:

    We read these things, we lament how awful it is, but we don’t know what to do about it. We are decent, calm, thoughtful people. We’re not in favor of things like taking to the streets, and certainly not anything that could even be remotely construed as revolutionary changes to our system of government.

    Actually, people ARE taking to the streets today as a protest to express the importance of the rule of law:
    https://www.trumpisnotabovethelaw.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response/search/

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  34. Todd says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: The irony is, some of the most enthusiastic protesters probably contributed to the situation we are in today. They drove people to the polls on Tuesday alright … the problem is, many of those who voted because of the protests were Republicans voting against Democrats.

    Some of them were probably also among the people who spent the summer and fall of 2016 protesting against … Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.

    I’m not quite ready to join them just yet.

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  35. Teve says:

    Ezra Klein

    Verified account

    @ezraklein
    3m3 minutes ago
    More

    TIL House Republicans changed the rules under Obama so 14 different committee chairman can issue subpoenas with no cross-party consultation. That’s going to make the Trump admin’s life fun now that Democrats control the House.

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Todd:

    We read these things, we lament how awful it is, but we don’t know what to do about it.

    I know exactly what to do about it. Challenge every single lie, every single untruth, every single fabrication the moment it is uttered.

    Every press conference SHS gives should begin with the question of, “Sarah, the Bible says “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. As a Christian, do you believe you are going to Hell?”

    This is not hard. The only thing that is lacking is the balls to face the unknown (of what might result).

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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Todd:

    The irony is, some of the most enthusiastic protesters probably contributed to the situation we are in today. They drove people to the polls on Tuesday alright … the problem is, many of those who voted because of the protests were Republicans voting against Democrats.

    Oh, bullshit. “They hurt those poor unfortunate racist, misogynist people’s precious fee fees, there for it’s their fault for forcing those poor poor people to vote against them. If they had only just stayed in their place, things would be soooo much better.”

    Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better when you say it.

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  38. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Todd:
    On this question Digby quoted Lincoln’s Cooper Union address.

    what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly – done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated – we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas’ new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.

    Digby added,

    Replace “arrest and return their fugitive slaves” with “separate and deport the illegals” and you have our present situation.

    Or “Lock up all the LGBTQ” or “Vote for our stupid tax cut for the .01%” or “Silence anyone who doesn’t support Trump” or whatever.

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  39. Todd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I didn’t say the protesters didn’t have a point, or that the people who voted specifically against the protesters aren’t idiots. I’m just saying that generally speaking, many of these protesters are much more concerned about their feelings in the moment than the long-term implications of their actions. One specific instance was with Susan Collins. I’m not naive enough to think she was ever a good bet to be a “gettable” vote against Kavanaugh, but from her floor speech it was obvious that he groups that ran ads against her and people who screamed at her had the exact opposite effect … if their actual goals was ever to try to persuade her to vote no in the first place. I also personally know people who went to Philadelphia to protest against Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention. Then once Trump took office they were also organizing protests against him.

    I think there is (or will be) a time to take to the streets and literally shut the whole country down. I just fear it won’t be as effective if it can be written off by large segments of the population as “oh the crazy lefties are protesting again … just like they do every weekend.”

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  40. Todd says:

    @gVOR08: The proper recourse in our system is to win elections … and as I stated in my original comment, whether fair or not, some of these protests very likely did have the effect of making that ultimate goal at least somewhat more difficult.

    No Republican changed their mind if they had been planning to vote for the Democrats … but it’s pretty likely that there were many who voted after the Kavanaugh hearings (and all that surrounded) it, who might have otherwise stayed home.

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  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Todd:

    One specific instance was with Susan Collins. I’m not naive enough to think she was ever a good bet to be a “gettable” vote against Kavanaugh, but from her floor speech it was obvious that he groups that ran ads against her and people who screamed at her had the exact opposite effect … if their actual goals was ever to try to persuade her to vote no in the first place.

    Susan Collins was looking for an excuse, and just as she was always going to vote in favor of Kavanaugh, she was always going to find one. DON’T blame the protestors for making her do what she did. They didn’t.

    it can be written off by large segments of the population

    Those are the same segments of the population who say “trump is making America great again!!!!!!” Why do you give even a rat’s ass for how they feel? They are at best indifferent to the realities of our situation, the realities people are protesting against.

    Basically, your objection to the protests is “These protestors are making some white people uncomfortable. They should stop it. They need to behave!”

    Sorry, no. Just no.

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  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Todd:

    The proper recourse in our system is to win elections … and as I stated in my original comment, whether fair or not, some of these protests very likely did have the effect of making that ultimate goal at least somewhat more difficult.

    And we just won a buttload of elections. Did we lose a few? Sure. But Claire McCaskill was never going to get re-elected this time around. Neither was Heidi. The protests did not hurt them in any way shape or form. I am sure you will say they may have hurt Gillum or Abrams, but you have no evidence for it, just your vague sense of unease about people not behaving as you think they should. It is far more likely that Gillum and Abrams, assuming they both lose, will have lost because of latent racism on the part of white people and there is plenty of evidence for that.

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  43. Teve says:

    It is far more likely that Gillum and Abrams, assuming they both lose, will have lost because of latent racism on the part of white people and there is plenty of evidence for that.

    sarah sanders earlier this week:

    “I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American,” Sanders

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  44. Mikey says:

    @Teve: That wasn’t Sarah Sanders, it was Bernie-from-the-Whitest-State Sanders.

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  45. Teve says:

    Ah. I saw clueless racism and assumed it was SHS.

    That helps explain why black people don’t care much for the Berninator.

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  46. gVOR08 says:

    @Todd:

    The proper recourse in our system is to win elections …

    How many of the women who won this week do you think were inspired to run, or encouraged in running, by the Women’s March?

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  47. Todd says:

    @gVOR08: @OzarkHillbilly:

    To be clear, I think things like the women’s march have been effective. My problem is with the screaming idiots who make spectacles of themselves … especially the ones also refused to vote for Democrats who weren’t “progressive enough”.

    In hindsight though, I will just admit that I might have this topic a little wrong, and/or it’s a thought I should have just kept to myself.

    Hell, as I said in my original comment, we’re getting close to the point where there’s likely to be a protest one of these days that I feel compelled to join myself.

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  48. Todd says:

    BTW, while I, a voter, can criticize some of the more outlandish protesters, I honestly believe that shit like this had much more to do with why Claire McCaskill (and Joe Donnelly) ultimately lost: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/30/us/politics/claire-mccaskill-crazy-democrats.html

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