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January 2, 2017

[Update 12-8-17:  From “I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump,” By Bella DePaulo (NYT):

The most stunning way Trump’s lies differed from our participants’, though, was in their cruelty. An astonishing 50 percent of Trump’s lies were hurtful or disparaging. . . .By telling so many lies, and so many that are mean-spirited, Trump is violating some of the most fundamental norms of human social interaction and human decency. Many of the rest of us, in turn, have abandoned a norm of our own — we no longer give Trump the benefit of the doubt that we usually give so readily. ]

Is there such a thing as “truth”?  “Reality”?  (Does it matter?)  Or is there only a Supreme Winner, who tells us what is operatively “true” (i.e. what he wants us to think) at any given point in his negotiation of his reality?  Can the Winner be a liar?  Can a statement be a lie, if the President says it?

Currently a major portion of American journalism is negotiating with Trump about that.

As Greg Sergent put it today (in his WaPo column):

In this and many other instances, Trump barely even tried to make a fact-based case for his version of reality. Rather, he seemed to be trying to obliterate any possibility of shared agreement on what constitutes an authoritative source, and even on reality itself.  [And on 3-21, “deep rot of bad faith”] 

And with the loss of that “shared agreement” comes the loss of the possibility of human civil community, to be replaced by authoritarian organization of our lives.

Sargent cites this powerful essay by Marsha Gessen (NY Review of Books) about Trump’s Putinesque move to “assert power over truth itself.”

The pages of this episode [Index] chronicle the Republican effort to bring us to this extraordinary test of our democracy.

1-12-16  Bernie and others are right, T is a pathological liar, by which I mean that (1) he lies impulsively and spontaneously, whenever he thinks that, in the moment, what he says best serves his own interests, (2) his brain is unable, objectively, to know the difference between fact and fiction, internal and external, subjective and objective:  if he thinks a thought, obviously it is real, and therefore it is as true as any thought,  (3) he does not possess an anchoring set of criteria for assessing truth claims, (4) he has no understanding of why this is important, and (5) he does not care, anyway.

I’ve known two such people well.

So rather than try to keep up with him, page by page, I’ll keep a list of some of his greatest hits (on reality).  He lies:

About his relationship with Russia.  /  To the Director of the FBI.

Update 6-26-17  Turned out I didn’t need to spend time on this, because others are doing a thorough job of it: 300+ lies so far. / 8-3 And maybe we’re developing antibodies. / 8-7 NYT:  “Many Politicians Lie.  But Trump Has Elevated the Art of Fabrication.”  8-22  1,000+ lies.

[Page:  “Alt-Fact.”  Index page to “Lies” episode.]

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