Friday, January 11, 2019

We know Donald Trump lies a lot, but why?



     “Why did we bother to lie?”
     An interesting question, not often asked, despite the Trump era being a Golden Age of Deception, a veritable Liapalooza, with the president telling a dozen fibs a day, or more. Lying so predictably that before his address to the nation Tuesday, dramatizing his demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall, the networks struggled to form a plan to address the rain of falsehoods certain to come. Fact checkers were standing by to refute the lies before they were uttered, the way that color commentators are in place to describe the action sure to unfold on a football field.
     But is this the only way lying can be handled? The media, with its dumb ox tendency to strain forward, plowing the rut it always plows, has for years kept careful track of each presidential untruth, counting them, tallying them up, as if points will be awarded at the end.
     “Why did we bother to lie?”
     While keeping score, the process of lying, itself, its utility, is rarely addressed. We prefer to shake our head at each one-that-got-away whopper, and ponder whether it is a deliberate, cynical fabrication or sincere delusion, as if that really matters.
     “Why did we bother to lie?”
     Yes, it is important to refute Donald Trump’s specific lies. Most immigrants, illegal or legal, are more law-abiding than natural-born citizens, despite the horror stories the president recited. Most drugs come through airports or checkpoints, hidden in cars and trucks, not across the desert. Most terrorists arrive on a plane or, let us never forget, are native born.
     “Why did we bother to lie?”

     The above question was posed in September, 1973, by Jerome Doolittle, a government spokesman during the Vietnam War. He continued:
     "When I first arrived in Laos, I was instructed to answer all press questions about our massive and merciless bombing campaign in that tiny country with: 'At the request of the Royal Laotian Government, the United States is conducting unarmed reconnaissance flights accompanied by armed escorts who have the right to return if fired upon.'"
     I have been returning to the Vietnam era as an ironic source of comfort. Because as hall-of-mirrors crazy as the Trump era without question is, the harm so far is mostly spiritual and symbolic. It could be worse. Trump's lies have not killed 57,000 Americans, the way Lyndon Johnson's and Richard Nixon's did.
     Doolittle categorized his response to the press this way:
     "This was a lie. Every reporter to whom I told it knew it was a lie. Hanoi knew it was a lie. The International Control Commission knew it was a lie. Every interested Congressman and newspaper reader knew it was lie."
     We find ourselves in a similar situation. Trump certainly knows that the misinformation he is delivering, into a chorus of correction, is false. His aides know it. The media knows it. His base, if they do not seem to know it, are highly incurious as to what the truth might be.
     Which leads to Doolittle's answer:
     "After all, the lies did serve to keep something from somebody and the somebody was us."
     Bingo. The assumption about lies is they are uttered to deceive others, and that does happen. But they also have a far-less recognized function: lies deceive the liar, or, rather, help the liar maintain a charade.
     In Trump's case, lies are not a flaw but a feature. They are mandatory. The Mexico wall began as a popular talking point on his campaign, a way to get the crowds to chant and cheer and give the love that this miserable, emotionally-stunted man obviously craves. In his dismal failure of a presidency, this wall—which no one actually wants, including himself—has taken on a weird totemic power. It is his triumph, or will be, if he can actually push it through, greased by the suffering of 800,000 federal employees and the nation they serve. And so he lies—about a non-existent crisis on the border, about immigrants who, with each addition, make our country less violent, not more; better, not worse; richer, not poorer. The truth isn't an option for him and his followers, and so they build an ever more convoluted wall of lies trying to block it out. They don't see the truth because they can't. The light would blind them.

12 comments:

  1. I believe he lies so much because he actually has extremely low self esteem.
    My guess as a totally amateur shrink tells me that his father giving him a million a year as a four year old & then several hundred million when he started out & even bailing him out at one of his New Jersey casinos, by buying millions in chips one night & then not using them, which was a secret & illegal loan has made him totally unsure of his self confidence & so he lies & lies & lies in a bizarre attempt to make himself look intelligent [which he certainly isn't].
    Just yesterday he called himself an expert in technology! This from a man who has repeatedly said he's never used any computer, never sent an email & then went off on a truly weird tangent about whether the wheel is older than walls & that he noticed that all the cars had lots of wheels, with the Secret Service cars having really expensive wheels.
    Add in that he appears to be in the early stages of some form of dementia, combined with what many people are claiming is that he snorts either crushed Adderal, cocaine or both, due to his constant sniffling.

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    1. While some of what you allege is based on news reports.some is pretty wild speculation. I'm no fan of Donald trump but he seems to posses some fairly high level intelligence . Not an eloquent man but he manages to manipulate people and events to his benefit very effectively.
      What I believe we are dealing with in the latest version of leader of the free world is a man who's public persona we dislike and whos opinions dispute and who's presentation we find annoying. But we find ourselves powerless to do anything about it so we speculate on his deficiencies and hurl epithets .

      Clearly he lacks a filter. We've grown accustom to americas spokesmodels in chief having one while they drone strike wedding parties , build a prison industrial complex unrivaled the world over, wreck the economy , strip us of our civil liberties etc.

      So long as they look good and talk nice while they smile and play the saxophone in a nice suit we're ok. but if they agree with our bible thumping relatives from Missouri they must be deranged or worse . Donald trumps not the cause of racism and misogyny, thats a national tradition with some folks here in America. he eventually will be gone but that shits gonna be a thing for a long time to come

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    2. No, he's not smart, he's a life-long conman!
      Con men aren't smart, except in their ability to con people into believing them.
      He's a crook & always has been.
      Several years ago, Forbes Magazine wrote that had he just invested all the money he claimed he has in a stock index fund, he would have 3-4 times the money he says he has!
      He's the perfect example of the old joke, How to make a small fortune?
      Start with a large fortune & piss it away!

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    3. the mans smart enough to be successful. very successful . and doesn't have a criminal record of any kind. I don't know how much money he has and don't are. in business, entertainment, romance and politics done very well. I don't care for him but he's in charge. so what are we gonna do? vote him out.hope the New Democrat congress keeps him boxed up so he doesn't cause too much more harm. 2 years goes by pretty fast.

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  2. Hey! I'm a Doolittle!

    Off on a tangent here, but there aren't a lot of us double O Doolittles.

    The Doolittles, including my great, great grandmother, immigrated to the US from Canada in a sleigh over Lake Erie.

    The ice was thin on the border, and the sleigh broke through. My gg-grandmother & the her familyhad to swim and wade through icy water to get here. It's a family tale all the disparate cousins hear.

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    1. Any relation to Jimmy, whose outfit raided Japan in 1942? Many early Boomer males probably remember building and playing with models of B-25s, and shouting "Bombs over Tokyo!" while dropping Lincoln Logs on Plasticville houses. All that was thanks to Gen. Doolittle...who actually did a helluva lot.

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  3. I think I'm your average run-of-the-mill liar. I've prevaricated on many occasions mostly to cover up errors, misdeeds, or flaws of myself or others. But I can't imagine lying to exaggerate or create personal qualities or to make statements the falsity of which is apparent or easily ascertained. I guess one could say I have less imagination and less courage than Donald Trump. I believe that even if Trump gets his wall and pushes through all of his outrageous policies, or conversely if he gets caught in Mueller's web and leaves the presidency in disgrace, he will always be known as the "Lying President." Our grandchildren will shake their heads in wonder and dismay that we tolerated such.

    john

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  4. The "wheel are older than walls" was, to me, among the top weird Trump rants. I can't even image how his mind works. Nor do I want to.

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  5. I think he lies because he's been a liar and a con artist and a bullshitter all his life, and it's best not to try to bullshit a bullshitter. I've known quite a few, and that tactic doesn't work. His rationale for lying and making stuff up is undoubtedly: "Hey, it works for ME!" And it has--all the way to the Oval Orifice. Plus, there's the word "ME" in that last sentence...it's always about him, and always has been, all his life.

    He was probably the original Kid Charlatan when he was very young, and started out by lying to his father. The more he got away with it, the more lies he told, and the bigger the whoppers became.

    I speak from experience...I lied to my old man plenty while growing up, mostly for self-protection and self-preservation. But, unlike The Donald, I never got any millions of dollars from my lies--just a few Jacksons, and free packs of cigarettes.

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  6. I think Trump's nonstop lying is an addiction, pathological. He lies even when it's not necessary, as if he can't help himself. Surely, his staff believes this, as his press secretary seems mildly surprised when anyone complains. I fault the media for the same acceptance, their willingness to post, broadcast every word, every untruth, with a slight disclaimer: "Oh, by the way, this is misleading, not factual." But, clicks, ratings, are more important than demanding the truth, and refusing to air his sick fabrications.

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  7. He is not a complete idiot. He has had many successful projects. One of his contractors on the Chicago tower says Trump accepted their bid, with a caveat. He would purchase the fixtures himself and add back a profit to them. He knows the bottom line. As to his lies. Possibly, during his life, people have just not called bullshit enough. Most of us tend to avoid guys like him rather than confront them. He is in the habit of telling lies when the truth would suffice. Either he gets away with it so easily that it has become general practice, or he has no shame whatsoever. Could be he actually enjoys it.

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