Why so many *direct* lies from the Trump administration?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is only part of the argument, this one you really do need to read the whole thing (and carefully):

Trump’s supporters are indeed correct to point out that previous administrations also told many lies, albeit of a different sort. Imagine, for instance, that mistruths come in different forms: higher-status mistruths and lower-status mistruths. The high-status mistruths are like those we associate with ambassadors and diplomats. The ambassador is reluctant to tell a refutable, flat-out lie of the sort that could cause embarrassment, but if all you ever heard were the proclamations of the ambassador, you wouldn’t have a good grasp of the realities of the situation. Ambassadors typically are speaking to more than one audience at once, a lot of context is required to glean the actual meaning, and if they are interpreted in a strictly literal manner (a mistake) it is easy enough to find lots of misdirection in their words. Most of all, ambassadors just won’t voice a lot of sensitive truths.

Arguably those diplomatic proclamations are not lies, but they do bear quite an indirect relationship to the blunt, bare truth. Ambassadors and diplomats behave this way because they seek maximum flexibility in maintaining delicate coalitions of support over the longer run. And indeed it is correct to think of every incoming (and ongoing) administration of doing lots of “lying” — if that is the right word — of this sort.

These higher-status lies are not Trump’s style, and thus many of his supporters, with some justification, see him as a man willing to voice important truths. If Trump’s opponents don’t understand that reality, and the sociological differences between various kinds of misdirection, they are going to underestimate his appeal and self-righteously underestimate how much they are themselves mistrusted by the public.

Again, link here.


Wow. Darn good opening paragraphs.

Yes. Shorter TC column: there are lies and there are lies, there is doublespeak and there is Straussian truth.

I don't see any arguments presented in the article that anything Trump or people in his administratin said was not true. This is how propaganda works; assume an outrageous position, and then argue about minor details. I understand that Tyler, being on Bloomberg payroll, has to do what he has to do (we do not harass people who merely drafted Dr. Goebbels's speeches under his direction, either). Still, it's a bit sad that a self-styled libertarian, a prominent academic and a free thinking blogger would stoop to be a mere cog in a filthy propaganda machine, and all for a small salary... The real question is: how did it come to this? Is there more to the story? Blackmail, perhaps? What horrible secret about Tyler's life did the cathedral uncover? Will we ever get a confession from Tyler about his moral fall? In the meantime, we can only speculate...

"I don’t see any arguments presented in the article that anything Trump or people in his administratin said was not true. "
I am sure you don't.
"The real question is: how did it come to this? Is there more to the story? Blackmail, perhaps? What horrible secret about Tyler’s life did the cathedral uncover?"

It is funny how closely the minions try to emule Trump's style.

Trump has photos showing Tyler's role in the Kennedy assassination.

You've noticed Scott Sumner's repeated emotional meltdowns (which include trolling for discrepancies in Trump's public statements)? Trump's basically hit a spot in these guys which provokes a neuralgic reaction, and that in turn tells you what they really value (which, if you read Sumner, has little to do with liberty, at least the liberty to engage in adult pursuits like running a business).

This is TC's blog, not Sumners... Reminds me, did I ever tell you, "money is neutral"?

I'll agree with you when I see cabinet-level officials lying in this way for Trump. Right now it seems like this is a cat-and-mouse game with the media. Trump rightly had no expectation of anything but smears from the press once he got into office, because that is what they gave him throughout his campaign. He is playing tit for tat: paying them back and also neutralizing them (by making them look like the 27-year-olds who know nothing they are). Much less of a dark scenario than you are painting.

How does having his press secretary tell an easily-refuted lie on TV pay the media back for anything? I mean, if they wanted to hammer the NYT for getting some story wrong, I'd see that as looking like payback, but this looked like an entirely self-inflicted wound. In what sense was any media organ hurt by this?

Spicer is now shading it by saying if you include online viewings, it was the most watched inauguration ever. Which could very well be true. Not saying it is but it's truthier than the obvious lie of actual people showing up.

Oh, so you're a Trump apologist? Why doesn't that surprise me, Mr. Style Master. Style. What would I know about style, having lived in Frisco and LA? Ess Eff. I meant Ess Eff...

And you look like George Clooney!

It shows a lack of respect for and deference to the media. "We don't care what you claim to know."

It works well with a stupid and obvious lie like crowd sizes. The stakes on this issue are zero, so the lie doesn't matter per se. And the truth is basically objective, so likely the Trump teams knows they're lying. "We don't care what you claim to know, even when we know we're wrong and it doesn't matter anyway."

That's my take anyway. I thought this was a great TC column.

Yes. It is so far prompting the Grey Lady to tediously dissect obviously absurd bombast on the front page every day, honoring its pious pledge to be extra-vigilant with this administration. I don't see a way for the media to win, on this front at least.

What happened over the three days during which the media mob was panting and drooling over crowd numbers?

That's why this is happening.

Start from the assumption that telling CNN something that is an obvious falsehood is not lying to the american people.

The media is attempting to define the Trump administration, and the Trump administration is attempting to define the media.

Trump is rude & crude... which enhances his populist appeal in these anti-WashingtoDC times. Lack of style in his mendacity is unusual at the higher level of politics, but works now in clearly identifying Trump as not-one-of-those-slick-politicians (e.g., Slick Willie).

Politics is not about empirical realities or truth, but about popular images.

One of the things that makes politicians so dangerous... is that facts do not mean much to them or to their voters.

Well said.

While I agree with you, I think Trump has widened the spread between empirical realities and popular images (or perhaps just increased the rate at which it was widening). I also think that's clearly a bad thing for Americans along with the rest of the world.

Trump was right that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters. He is rich white trash, and Americans love rich white trash. His supporters vicariously live through him, feeling as if they have become rich while remaining trashy-- not having to do anything they don't want to, becoming rich while not having to make any changes or develop good manners, not having to give up their ignorance or obey social rules or obey the law.

He's the vicarious fantasy man.

White trash. This is the hatred the left has for the entire demographic of white people who aren't like they are.

With his choice of username, my guess is Trump supporter trolling by pretending to be the opposite.

Well, yay! The Left won the crowd-size competition! Were Obama’s Inauguration crowds bigger? Yes. Does that mean that the left is the "real" majority? No. Does that prove Russian hacking gave the GOP the presidency, both houses of Congress, 33 governorships, and control of 32 state legislatures? No.

Friday night seen and quickly deleted from Facebook - "Trump Replaces MLK, Jr. Bust With Notorious Racist!!!" That "notorious racist" is Winston Churchill, and the removal of MLK bust was a real lie.

During Obama's failed attempt to destroy America, Democrats suffered huge losses in state legislatures, state houses and congressional seats. Since Obama became president, the Democrats lost 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governorships. President TRUMP will fill 108 Federal judicial vacancies.

Please keep this up. Trump could carry all 57 states in 2020.

In fin, you people are gonna need a lot more vagina hats.

Are you complaining that the incorrect report removed or trying to give them credit for quickly correcting the inaccuracy?

I'm not complaining. I'm reporting both the hair-trigger to libel President Trump and the (I perceive) prejudice that Churchill is to be known solely as a notorious racist.

So... you think they did an admirable job removing the incorrect post so quickly? The text read as if you were complaining.

Whatever. If you read Facebook, you get what you deserve.

I love these false equivalencies.

One reporter on Twitter made a mistake and corrected it quickly. (Sure, they were probably more willing to believe it because of biases they have against Trump, but let's not pretend Trump has not done all that he can to make it easy to believe he'd do something like this.)

This is on par with the press secretary coming out swinging with easily verifiable "alternative facts"? Oh boy...

You do realize that 23% of the people who voted for Trump thought he was unqualified to be president. I don't see how Trump's strategy works out in the long run when nearly a quarter of his voters are already skeptical of him.

Why didn't them 23% vote for Hillary? Because she is less qualified? .

Lying, liberal (redundant) pool reporter (his lies rapidly sent to over 2,000 other liars) made a mistake: bullshit. This liar intentionally (or he is an imbecile - likely he's a liberal) missed seeing the MLK bust in a room that is, what?, 20 feet by 30 feet. So, that's a mistake, or a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet, Trumps' different crowd estimate is a lie. Yeah, false equivalency. And, the smaller Trump crowd is natural. Trump's enemies (government employees and numerous species of tax takers) and Obama worshippers are heavily concentrated in DC and its environs, while his backers have to go to work.

I know how you define "truth." It's that which validates liberal lies.

Is the fact that the GOP won control of all three branches of the Federal government a false equivalency?

Just to point out, only about 20% of the workforce in greater Washington consists of federal employees (and some of these are military). Greater Washington's devotion to the Democratic Party is likely driven by the same vectors you find in other large coastal cities, for the most part. Agreed, those vectors are more intense.

"Why didn’t them 23% vote for Hillary? Because she is less qualified?"

Yes. Exactly. They voted against Hillary. Both parties put forward weak candidates. One of the weak candidates won. He might not be so lucky in 4 years if Democrats can get their act together (but I wouldn't bet on that).

"Lying, liberal (redundant) pool reporter." "This liar intentionally (or he is an imbecile – likely he’s a liberal)"

Oh boy. So there are no liberals who are honest or intelligent?

"This liar intentionally (or he is an imbecile"

Why would a reporter in this situation purposely say something that is easily verified as false? It makes no sense. He either missed seeing it or is an imbecile. I can agree with that.

"And, the smaller Trump crowd is natural."

I agree. Too bad his administration didn't point that out and instead trotted out easily verifiable falsehoods that made them look stupid in the eyes of most voters.

"I know how you define “truth.” It’s that which validates liberal lies."

I'm conservative, so I don't use this a measure of truth. (Crazy, huh? A conservative who doesn't like Trump...)

If it were a mistake, it would be random and we would expect to see mistakes in Trump's favor. Those mistakes will not materialize. How many mistakes did the press make that hurt President Obama?

You do know the for the Presidency and the Senate, more Americans voted for Democrats yet the GOP has both. Right? You know this? Ok. Please tell me you know this. That to me is the fundamental issue I have. Had he won a majority I would be like, oh well here we go. But the American people tried to reject the GOP agenda and now instead... Ugh.

Fine, you win by the letter of the law. But don't deny that more people voted for Democrats. You have to do some serious mental jumping jacks to say otherwise.

"But the American people tried to reject the GOP agenda and now instead… Ugh."

I don't think you can say this. You don't know what the counterfactual world where the Presidency and Senate were awarded/apportioned based on national popular vote totals looks like. Different campaigns would be run in different places and in different ways. There were likely campaign choices that hurt national popular vote but helped in achieving the right number of votes in the right place to win under the current rules of the game.

And of course, defining "the American people" as a slight majority of those people who voted seems questionable. Perhaps the lesson is not to have so much ride on the outcome of small shifts in voting results.

It hasn't occured to Nathan that geographic units have equal representation in the Senate. Even if there were a discrepancy over three electoral cycles, that's of no consequence. It merely means that Republican vote totals are distributed more efficiently (they are, by the way, in equipopulous and non equipopulous constiuency set ups) and / or concentrated in less populous states (also true, with exceptions).

You do know the for the Presidency and the Senate, more Americans voted for Democrats yet the GOP has both.

A majority of the Congressional vote this year went to the Republicans. Only 1/3 of the Senate is elected each biennium, so a divergence between the popular vote and the legislative majority in any year is unremarkable. Again, Hilligula did not win a popular majority.

Good article. Let me add one thing about the culture of lying:

Just yesterday, I saw a Time magazine article talking about a man giving birth. I suppose that men can give birth if you use an 'alternative definition.' If I respond publicly in any number of venues that "only women give birth; that person clearly was not a man," I am in danger of social ostracization. Others might be in danger of an email from the HR department. Go look at the case of Jordan Peterson in Canada.

The lies and tests of loyalty have been going on for a while and go far beyond particular lies put out by administration officials.

What a special piece of shit you are.

The first bolded sentence of the Time Magazine article reads:

"My brother Evan was born female. He came out as transgender 16 years ago but never stopped wanting to have a baby. "

So what you define as a 'lie' that makes all of Trump's lies ok is a disagreement over definitions. Any normal reader of the article would know from line 1 that it is about a person born female who later came out as transgender but nonetheless gave birth to a baby. They would know immediately that this was not an article about some super-rare medical condition that causes biological males to spontaneously spout a womb and give birth...that it wasn't an old World Weekly News type article that featured headlines about "Bat Boy" and "Alien endorse Bill Clinton for President".

So you are quite free to argue that 'transgender' should not override definitions based solely on anatomy and still the article would provide you with nothing but actual facts.

This is the nihilism of Trump and his supporters. For everyone else, any minor, nitpicking error is to be blown up out of proportion. No one may call Trump a liar least they first have an unimpeachable record of perfect honesty. This would be fine if Trump supporters wanted more honesty, wanted more perfection in all areas of public discourse but they don't. They want an excuse to be totally unbound by truth in any form.
Really if you think America is going to put up with this endless nihilism for 4 years you have another thing coming.

Did I mention that saying a man can't give birth leads to social ostracism?

That's funny, a few days ago a comedian tweeted a joke about Trump's absurdly named kid, Barron. Three hours later she took it down. Life happens, no successful comedian can get by never laying an egg just like no great quarterback doesn't throw an interception or get sacked sometimes. Trump folks aren't into this whole politically correct thing where you scrutinize everyone's statements about everything and use the slightest misstep to bring down hell on them right?

But after calls for her to be fired, boycotted, SNL to be cancelled, NBC to be destroyed, she was suspended.

Seems to me again those who complain about lies, political correctness, overbearing ideology aren't really complaining about those things... they are complaining that they would like more of those things but to employ them in service of their hobby horses.

"Trump folks aren’t into this whole politically correct thing where you scrutinize everyone’s statements about everything and use the slightest misstep to bring down hell on them right?

But after calls for her to be fired, boycotted, SNL to be cancelled, NBC to be destroyed, she was suspended.

Seems to me again those who complain about lies, political correctness, overbearing ideology aren’t really complaining about those things…"

I am against trying to destroy people for anything they say, whichever side they are on. I tend to think of this in absolutist terms. I'd like to think that even if someone tried to destroy me for my speech, I would at most feel justified in seeking retribution for the active steps (beyond mere speech) they took to destroy me.

But there is a reasonable argument to be made that my absolutism goes to far, and that this should be a form of disarmament that only applies so long as the opponent keeps up their end of the bargain. If an individual tries to destroy someone else for their speech, it could then be reasonable to say they are no longer protected from being destroyed for their speech. I think it is more tenuous to further extend it to anyone who seems to be on a particular side and say that, because that side has shown its willingness to destroy people for speech, anyone on that side is now subject to the same. But I don't think it would be a baseless argument.

"I am against trying to destroy people for anything they say, whichever side they are on. I tend to think of this in absolutist terms. I’d like to think that even if someone tried to destroy me for my speech, I would at most feel justified in seeking retribution for the active steps (beyond mere speech) they took to destroy me."

That might make sense if the comedian was a well known advocate of speech codes, safe spaces and soon except she isn't. So you're articulating a type of Tim McVeigh view of things here. If some BATF agents abused force over there, it's ok for me to blow up an office building with a daycare center over here.

"That might make sense if the comedian was a well known advocate of speech codes, safe spaces and soon except she isn’t." I didn't claim to know the details, just to argue that it needn't be a hypocritical view.

"So you’re articulating a type of Tim McVeigh view of things here. If some BATF agents abused force over there, it’s ok for me to blow up an office building with a daycare center over here."

I don't see how anything I said could be interpreted that way. You're just lazily tossing in a dumb analogy with some emotional baggage rather than engaging in an argument on the merits. Good job. You win. Enjoy your medal.

Now, you know how Obama got elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

Atheists don't believe in God. These vagina-hatters don't believe in biology.

Social ostracism from a really small group of people. Most of us don't care what you say.

Yeah. Not technically a "lie," just astonishing, delusional doublespeak. The Left is so far over the cliff they (zay? t**y? shey?) have to marinate in their own propaganda 24/7.

How is it doublespeak? The argument that biological sex and gender being two difference concepts is pretty simple and straightforward. You are free to argue that this is false or even if it isn't false biological sex should nonetheless be given a higher status than self-identified gender (whether or not it is followed up with body modifications).

But nothing in the article, if taken at face value, would deceive you as to what reality actually is. You would not have imagined that the article was about a discovery of a male who got pregnant. At the end of the day this is only a 'lie' if you assume not only you are correct in your opinions about transgenderism BUT that everyone else actually agrees with you and is simply pretending that they don't.

It's not a lie because we've changed the definition of man and woman. Got it.
So the girls (as young as 6) who encountered a naked man spread-eagled in the sauna at Evergreen State University simply didn't know the new definition of man and woman were being applied to the locker rooms. Bunch of haters.

Here's a link to a different episode-- please explain to all the haters why Justine is a woman and shouldn't have gotten confronted by the privileged cis-woman (probably cis-het):


You seem to think policy discussions should begin AND end by defining terms and reducing anyone who disagrees with you as a liar.

A person could very easily hold that the sex/gender distinction is correct but we should have policies about sex nudity in places of mixed genders (i.e. female only saunas).

Likewise many 'traditionalists' disagree with your view about anatomy. They do not believe in transgenderism for religious reasons hence they would be fine with your 6 year old daughter being confronted in the women's room by a 6"5' person with a visible penis and flat, muscular chest with beard if that person was born female and had 'corrective surgery' and hormone treatments.

Then why is it news, that a woman gave birth?

On a little "new baby" card when I gave birth, a kind acquaintance wrote something on the order of: "No less a miracle for being universal."

Not sure about birth being a miracle, though everything about the body is pretty amazing to me, but - please don't tell me birth is made more significant because of the clothes somebody wears.

The weight of things we're supposed to pretend is getting to be too much. No surprise we have a Great Pretender in office.

So ignore it, like we ignore the celebrity gossip in People Magazine. Does it matter one bit in your daily life what you think about that story?

I'm a reluctant NY Times subscriber (our local daily having effectively shut down), so am unable to ignore such stories. They are not the meat of the paper, you say? No, but they've become the dominant running thread, in much the same way race did starting in the nineties. I recall - if someone on here can help my memory, that would be great - some newsman wrote a book about the top-down edict to find the racial angle to every story. Then some intrepid soul did a survey and found race had been a "theme" in some astonishing percentage of Times' stories and features over, say, a five-or-ten year period. Just the Times' little contribution to racial harmony, I suppose.

Is it meaningless? Perhaps. My husband works in a field about as distant from these concerns, in either direction, as can be imagined. Yet, TPTB now regularly tout the importance of shoehorning LGBTQ into the mission. If during one of these pronouncements he so much as smiled to himself at the absurdity of it, he would certainly be shown the door.

I should note that he is not a news reader and would completely agree with you, about the trans fad being easy to ignore; if pressed, he would say it will pass, the numbers being so insignificant; and that only women's issues will prevail, even over race, with the LGB part of the equation remaining only insofar as it supports women's lib.

"Then why is it news, that a woman gave birth?"

So what was the lie the first special piece of shit was citing? Did not one give birth to the baby in the story?

It does seem to me an interesting story to discuss a person called a 'transgendered man' who just gave birth, which is a biologically female thing only to do. People do in fact have positions on this that go in a lot of different, sometimes contradictory directions.

If you don't care to spend your time on that discussion so be it but how have you been lied too about it?

"It does seem to me an interesting story to discuss a person called a ‘transgendered man’ who just gave birth, which is a biologically female thing only to do."

Then the neologism itself is a lie. But apologies, we have definitely left "interesting" behind.

Except it isn't. There's no deception about the idea of a distinction between gender and biological sex. You can assert this is a wrong theory, you can assert it only applies in cases when a full sex change is done. You can assert that policies and language should be used in different ways but what you're doing is trying to con us into pretending from the outset that YOUR preferred policy/idea is the truth and all deviations are lies before the conversation has even gone there.

Now you want to argue gender theory go ahead. You want to say you have you view but don't want to give it any time, go ahead and do that too.

My Lord you are a loser.

In combination with Alby below, I saw a major newspaper for a major midwestern city have a front-page article about a heroic 6-year-old trans kid and her heroic activist mother, defending against the evil online trolls. I remember ~2 years ago the whole Trans thing hit the mainstream political discussion, and I thought it was still being discussed and hashed out what trans was, was not, and what was considered acceptable on both sides of the trans issue.

Apparently this issue has been democratically decided by our midwestern culture that it is ok to chemically castrate a 4-year-old if it thinks it is the other gender. Personally, I thought I was a cat when I was 4. My parents let me spend the night in the doghouse in a dog costume (cats and dogs were the same to me). If my parents had done cosmetic surgery to make me grow whiskers and sharpen my teeth, well... I don't think anything in my life would be healthy today, including my relationship with my parents. But apparently I'm in the minority, because I didn't even know how to begin talking about this to my coworkers.

I'm not clear how you think this is relevant to a discussion about lies. You seem to have no problem knowing what the article was about and expressing your feelings about it. Whether or not transgender children should get hormone or surgical treatments at 6 yrs old is a perfectly valid discussion to have. How did the article prevent you from doing that? If anything it seems to have spurred you to do so.

It's not like 'sex change' operations were invented in 2015. They've been around since the 1950's and 60's.

Regarding lies, some people think that boys are boys and girls are girls, but there are alternative facts out there that say gender is anything you want it to be. Some alternative facts have 63+ genders. I'd say that's a lie, but it's really just an alternative fact.

This was actually more fitting in response to Alby below. I don't even know how to publicly discuss my alternative fact that gender is biological, that doctors 'assign' gender in the same way that geologists 'assign' igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, but instead seek refuge in doing it semi-anonymously on the internet. But in any case, being off-topic is pretty much par for the course for me and the forum in general.

" I don’t even know how to publicly discuss my alternative fact that gender is biological"

Hmmm, well the way you do this is type in the comments on a public blog "my alternative fact that gender is biological". It seems like you're discussing it publically now. So what's your issue?


The Internet is not a substitute for real life. I could insult you and never see you again and it would be all the same to me - you are not in my monkeysphere, nor I yours. I have to go way outside my monkeysphere away from the dominance hierarchy to express my edgelord views.

Again, the internet is not real life.

So your day to day life is dominated by transgendered people ready to pounce on your should you express any opinion on the matter?

Nope! But there's a significant number of privileged white people in real life nearby ready to attack and berate me if I express anything other than admiration for parents who chemically castrate their children. I work in an office and sometimes fieldwork with a variety of people, which includes reasonable Democrats and insane Progressives, smug Republicans and insane Conspiracy Nutters. I can disagree with someone about chemtrails a lot more peacefully than I can about castration. I'm not terribly fond of confrontation for confrontation's sake, and so I'm silent. I had hoped people would, in time, mellow their attitudes. It does not appear to be the case.

It seems almost like there's a very angry, vocal (sizable?) group of people who feel necessary to treat trans, blacks, Muslims, and women as inherently oppressed, and anyone not that as inherently oppressive. Not that that's stereotyping or demeaning or anything.

This transgender battle amuses me. It's about such a tiny group of people. This isn't women's rights, or gay rights, or racial rights. Up until recently trans people quietly used the toilets where they fit in best, and no one cared. Now it's 24/7 on the internet. There are ridiculous fringe trans people and their enabling parents who are always held up for ridicule, just as there are ridiculous fringe haters who do the ridiculing. In the real world 99.9% of this country doesn't give a shit.

A lot of it is ridiculous but there is some room for genuine concern in it. "Enabling parents" encompasses a wide range of action. When it gets to the point of chemically or physically altering prepubescent children because their parents want to show how progressive and open-minded they are (or just want attention), doesn't it cross over some line where it becomes concerning? I try to ignore all of it, but when a "national discussion" emerges on an issue, it can be hard to avoid it.

Of course, but there are shitty parents doing shitty things to their kids all over the world and my paying attention won't stop any of it. Gotta focus on the world around you personally and be amused by the rest. Or pick one thing and do something about it. The transgender kids thing isn't it for me.

From a conservative's perspective, things are falling apart all over. When the dam has sprung 20 different leaks, it's difficult to focus on one and plug it. In a well functioning democracy that's exactly what we should do, of course, instead of running around in circles screaming about how you're going to get flooded and looking (and being) like a useless reactionary. It's mighty tempting, though, pardon (and chastise) me when I go Chicken Little on you.

If that same conservative lived decades ago but had the same media access to the various weirdnesses and travails of the world then, he would have felt the same. In other words he should relax a little.

The slippery slope is real. It was let gay adults be gay, now it is let parents alter their children's sex, what is next? Slate has already run human interest pieces on paedophile victimhood. I think it is clear where the left is headed.

Right, we never should have "let" gay people be gay. Big mistake.

Yes, obviously, this is all about "alternative definitions." And as Scott Alexander puts it: "an alternative categorization system is not an error."

The left is saying "let's define planet such that Pluto is a planet!" and then going around writing about how cool the planet Pluto is. You can get *annoyed* that the left is trying to change the definition of common words, but no one thinks the author's brother is a male in the sense of "this person has XY sex chromosomes" or "this person was born with a penis," and no one is misled by the article. The reasonable thing to do in such a situation is to just say "ah, the author is using the 'self-identification' categorization system for males and females, whereas I usually use the 'can-give-birth-predicate' categorization system" and to shrug and continue reading.

Very good point. But a bit confusingly, this post, because of the title, appears to frame those sentences as the answer to "Why Trump Lies". I don't think they explain it.

Trump could get this reputation for refusing to engage in diplomacy just by bluntly speaking the truth and stating his opinions in incendiary manner, without needing to outright tell falsehoods. The lying, if anything, seems to undermine such a reputation.

The rest of the article has good explanations of why he may be lying though. I liked it overall.

Kind of agree here lying esp when it's easily demonstrable that he is will undermine a populist reputation.

It could however be a diversionary tactic but that is more house of cards than I think he is\can be.

I had the same thought. If Trump's appeal is based on his being "willing to voice important truths," won't his telling obvious lies undercut that appeal? I think Tyler maybe giving Trump more credit than he deserves here.

Agreed. I think the explanation is that Trump has done well by spinning everything (literally everything) in whatever he thinks is in his favor. And that's it. Yes, he'll probably fire Spicer if he doesn't sell the spin like Trump wants him to, but I'm not sure it's some strategic plan to identify loyalty. He's just doing what Trump does because he's Trump and he's the best so why change now?

This is probably closer to the truth. People smarter than Trump (and there are a lot of them) are still trying to put his behavior and results in context of a scheming, deliberate genius using tricks like strategic lying and policy stances to advance a coherent agenda. It's not that complicated. The guy is a raging egomaniac with a lot of media talent and populist charisma. He is a 'genius' at marketing to a certain segment of the country. Now he's winging it in the White House. It's so weird.

Yes, msgkings, an incredibly talented snake oil salesman and extreme egomaniac. Amazing, as you note, that people try to make it more complicated than that.

He doesn't lie strategically. He even lies when the truth will do. He has no coherent agenda, since he cares about nothing but his own power and enrichment, and he also seems to have something like untreated Attention Deficit Disorder or else mania, or some disorder where you can't stay focused for more than a few seconds.

I do think he has some underlying agenda. In 1990, Playboy interviewed Trump and asked what a President Trump would do. He's doing it. Immigration wasn't there, which is ironically is one of the issues that he talked a lot about but also tried to pivot on (but unsuccessfully). But he's been consistent on the other issues he brought up:


But if the grass ever did look greener, which political party do you think you’d be more comfortable with?
Well, if I ever ran for office, I’d do better as a Democrat than as a Republican-and that’s not because I’d be more Republican-and that’s not because I’d be more liberal, because I’m conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me. When I walk down the street, those cabbies start yelling out their windows.

Another game: What’s the first thing President Trump would do upon entering the Oval Office?
Many things. A toughness of attitude would prevail. I’d throw a tax on every Mercedes-Benz rolling into this country and on all Japanese products, and we’d have wonderful allies again.

And how would President Trump handle it?
He would believe very strongly in extreme military strength. He wouldn’t trust anyone. He wouldn’t trust the Russians; he wouldn’t trust our allies; he’d have a huge military arsenal, perfect it, understand it. Part of the problem is that we’re defending some of the wealthiest countries in the world for nothing. . . . We’re being laughed at around the world, defending Japan–

You categorically don’t want to be President?
I don’t want to be President. I’m one hundred percent sure. I’d change my mind only if I saw this country continue to go down the tubes.

Call me when Trump says "if you like your plan you can keep your plan".

Related is this. https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/top-10-ways-obama-violated-constitution-during-presidency

Dude, don't you think we are far beyond that in 3 days?

Trump told Congressional members, yesterday, in an official meeting, that he would have won the popular vote, had it not been for "3-5 million fraudulent ballots."

We should all know that this is b.s. pulled from thin air, and we should all worry about why he says it to Congress and expects them to accept it.

In 2014, the WaPo had an article about illegal immigrants voting. They estimated 6%, so based on 22 MM illegals, that gets you to 1.3 MM votes. Given the influx of illegals and unwillingness of the Obama regime to check the voter rolls for illegals, the number could be much higher. Obama also encouraged illegals to vote on Mitu.com.




Good Lord, you give us a page that begins thus:

"Note: The post occasioned three rebuttals (here, here, and here) as well as a response from the authors. Subsequently, another peer-reviewed article argued that the findings reported in this post (and affiliated article) were biased and that the authors’ data do not provide evidence of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections."

Now I just feel sorry for you.

Of course, the way to resolve this question would be to compare voter rolls to a database of citizens. Do it now, well before the 2018 midterms.

Ignore previous studies, ask a new question.

A good tactic for a liar.

Anon, Trump supporters live in an alternate reality, with their alternative facts. You can't expect them to accept facts from the real world that the rest of us live in.

anon, how do you know that this is bullshit. See my message below. You don't.

No links there to data. I expected that much.

I will give you a chance before you too get the L word.

You don't understand the point. Where is *your* link to data? Asserting that a statement is false is the same as asserting that the negation of the statement is true. Both needs proof. I don't say I have a proof of Trump's statement about Fraudster, no more than I have (yet) a proof of the Riemann hypotheses. Both are conjectures, or if you prefer, questions. You can give evidence that make them plausible, as I have done, but that will never replace a proof.

Or to quote Hitchens, "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence". The first assertion here is that Clinton did win the popular vote. No evidence of the citizenship of the voters (of *any* voter)
was provided, or even researched. Trump may very well dismiss it without evidence, until you provide some argument
that your initial statement is correct and that the final count was not heavily influence by non-citizen voters.

Two above. One from me and one unintentionally from Rich.

"Subsequently, another peer-reviewed article argued that the findings reported in this post (and affiliated article) were biased and that the authors’ data do not provide evidence of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections.”

Can you accept that now?

Of course not, that would be stupid. I know many articles (in fact almost all articles) that do not provide evidence, let alone a proof, for the Riemann hypothesis. This is not a good reason to believe that it is false.

We are not talking about lack of evidence. We are talking about audits.

Audits that you reject, liar.

anon, I read your politifact link and really the analogy with the Riemann hypothesis seems even better. Basically, a certain guy named "Phillip" came up with a tweet saying that there were 3 million fraudsters, and Politifact explains us that because this guy has not explained his methodology or given his data, we should not believe him. I agree wholeheartedly.

But guess what: I receive every week papers by cranks asking me to help them publish their new two pages proof of Fermat Last Theorem or the Riemann Hypothesis. I don't need politifact to throw them away (after a very quick overview to see if they are not more serious than usual -- which they never are). And those papers don't make me think that Andrew Wiles was wrong or that RH is probably false.

Now the question is: are you willing to think by yourself and give us with an argument (not a link, an argument that you fully know and understand -- or really if you can't do otherwise, a link to a text with a real argument) why you believe that there was (almost) no fraud in the last election?

I made a search using the find button and there was no mention of the word "audit" in comments before yours. Nor was the word mentioned in the politifact link that you provided. So no, we were not talking about "audits".

I guess "liars" is how the "believers" calls those who don't share their faith. So I don't mind you calling me this. Now if you have a reference to an audit, I would be very interested to know its methodology and findings, so please don't hesitate to provide it.

Are you really only accidentally ignoring the meat of that article which begins after:

"Other research contradicts Phillips’ tweet?"

Studies, audits, no fault found. Who cares about the Tweet, that IS the insubstantial claim, but it IS countered with data.

This is absolutely "an audit":

"In 2012, Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration started an effort trying to crack down on noncitizens voting by comparing driver's license data against voter rolls.

Through this process the Florida Department of State created a list of 182,000 potential noncitizens that had voted. That number was whittled down to 2,700, then to about 200 before the purge was stopped amid criticism that the data was flawed given the number of false positives — including a Brooklyn-born World War II vet.

Ultimately, only 85 people were removed from the voting rolls. State officials began to pursue a second attempt at a purge in advance of the 2014 election but then abandoned that effort, too."

Thank you for the pointer to the Florida 2012 "audit". I had to teach (Elliptic Curves First!) and then to feed my kids etc, so sorry for the late answer. I tried to understand the story politifact summarizes in one paragraph. If you're not already a believer, there is nothing that can convince you of anything in those short sentences. The two links given by politifact are broken, so there is no way to check the source.

Fortunately, Google is my friend.
Here is an article in the Miami Herald about this on May 2012: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/05/hunt-for-180000-possible-non-citizen-voters-exposes-partisan-divide.html

Extracts: "Amid an increasingly partisan dog fight, Florida elections officials say the number of potential non-citizens they’re examining on the state voter rolls is far higher than what was initially reported: 180,000." How did they find this number? "Florida [...] performed the searches by comparing its voter rolls with its Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle database, which now reflect citizenship status of relatively new drivers."
Note this number of 180,000 is only among the relatively new drivers. The number among the population at large has to be greater. However, someone who is not a citizen when he gets a driver's license can become a citizen later -- which is why citizenship should be proved by the citizen when he registers to vote, not by the state long after. So the list of 180,000 has to be reduced after checking. Is that what happened? Not really. Instead of helping, the democrats obstructed in every possible way: "Democrats and liberals are suspicious of what they see as a “purge.” State Rep. Dwight Bullard, a South Miami-Dade Democrat, said targeting non-citizens on the voter rolls "is going to be problematic"

Two month laters, a new article in the same journal: "The state's release of a much smaller list of 2,700 individuals whose right to vote was in question set off a furor in May and has led to several lawsuits, and county supervisors of elections halted a purge of suspected non-citizen voters, calling the list unreliable. The state has sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, seeking to gain access to a federal citizenship database that would make it easier for the state to track voters' citizenship status."

If I understand well, the state sent to 2700 first people (whose names it published) a letter asking them to prove their citizenship in the next 30 days or face removal of voter's list. There were some false-positive in the list, people who got the citizenship in between (the newspaper mention 3 of them) and genuine errors (at least one: a person of 91 years who had been a citizen all is life). But what stopped the process is not the fact that there were no fraud, but the huge political backslash that it induced and the forceful obstruction of Democrats (political attacks, law suits, refusal of the DHS to help).

I haven't found yet later articles that explain how all this ended. But for what I see already, this is not an "audit" determining that there was no or a very little fraud, but on the contrary an inquiry showing massive problem, inquiry that was stopped for political reasons. The simple fact that Democrats opposed this inquiry is extremely problematic.

For you, Joël


Predictions of the future are tricky. Obama was lying if he made the statement in bad faith. But this isn't clear to me. The ACA was an insanely complicated law and surely Obama didn't even know all the details of what it contained, never mind have the ability to predict how it was all going to play out. It also contained a (wholly inadequate) provision to grandfather in existing plans. Add in some wishful thinking that is inevitable human nature. He may have believed that statement at the time.

I believe the Republicans tried to codify the grandfathering, but the Dems blocked it. Obama knew for sure.

The final ACA did include grandfathering, though. It's just that the restrictions on changes and the sunset date caused most of these grandfathered plans to be dropped quite quickly.

"The final ACA did include grandfathering, though. It’s just that the restrictions on changes and the sunset date caused most of these grandfathered plans to be dropped quite quickly."

So? The Obama Administration created those rules.

@JWatts, I'm not interested in defending Obamacare or its implementation, both of which stunk royally. However I think it's better to assume good faith without compelling evidence to the contrary, and I don't see sufficient evidence that Obama lied when he made that statement, as opposed to being mistaken about the law's effects.

""You can't do it political, you just literally cannot do it. Transparent financing and also transparent spending. I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies. Okay? So it’s written to do that," Gruber said. "In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in, you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get for the thing to pass. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.""


Obama was referring to the overwhelming bulk of Americans with health insurance who get it through their employer. In retrospect, the statement he made was absolutely correct in that the overwhelming majority of Americans with health insurance still get it through their employer and were not impacted by the ACA.

Remember how Trump claimed that his employees were hurt by Obamacare when it turned out that not a single one of his employees were covered under Obamacare because they get their health insurance through their employment by a Trump company.

The whole point of insurance isn't that "it works the majority of the time." If the private insurance companies only denied claims to 1% of people, that would be an outrage.

But it's good to know that if you are a minority, of any kind, it's okay that you don't get something as long as "most people do."

The statement makes no sense in reference to employer-provided coverage, since employees with such coverage typically don't get to pick their plans. It was clearly a statement about the individual market, which turned out to be massively wrong.

I thought “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” was a really odd thing to say.

Either before or after the ACA, your ability to "keep your plan" was never there. I get my health insurance from my employer. I can't keep it if my employer makes a decision to change to a different plan and that has always been the case. Insurance companies also can, and do, make unilateral changes to health plans.

An odd statement, but not much of a lie. I think the point was that the ACA was a fairly modest change that did not seriously disrupt existing insurance markets. Almost everyone did keep their plan, and maybe that is what was meant by “if you like your plan you can keep your plan”.

I kept my individual plan. It passed minimum coverage rules.

Obama will always have to wear that one, because that's politics. When you make simple declarations like that, people remember them. Like Bush I's "Read my lips...no new taxes" or Bush II's "Mission Accomplished" or Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman". Hyper partisans will trot out the other team's all day and ignore their teams. Which is part of the stupidity of hyper-partisans.

"Trump's lies don't matter because Obama once said x". Sad.

I guess Bloomberg pays its columnists by the word.

WE are back to "Take Trump seriously but not literally"

But hey at some point the literal must become serious. If Hillary was corrupt for smoozing with Wall Street bankers, at some point you are not longer serious as you staff up with Wall Street kingpins. "I'm going to release my taxes later" becomes a lie when it becomes "no I'm not releasing my taxes".

Boonton, welcome to partisan America. If Hillary did it, it's bad/good. If Trump did it it's good/bad.

Yes, when Yours Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe, then 100% of what your tribe does is perfectly acceptable, even wonderful.

You probably think this only applies to Republicans though.

Read the entire post at Bloomberg. Cowen is suggesting that Trump's lies are a form of loyalty oath: those not willing to accept Trump's lies, and to lie themselves by repeating them, are tagged as disloyal. The consequence of which is a reciprocal distrust: Trump doesn't trust his supporters and they don't trust him. And they shouldn't. And for what purpose does this serve: according to Cowen, a short-term strategy by Trump to get the maximum done in the first 100 days, the long-term consequence, loss of credibility for his many lies, irrelevant after the triumphant 100 days. People who have known Trump the longest agree that the man is a psychopath. If Cowen is correct, and there really is a method to Trump's madness (bald-faced lies), he is a psychopath. Of course, history is replete with psychopaths. What they have in common is a penchant for self-destruction, along with a penchant for destroying their supporters. Trump attracts supporters because they believe Trump will destroy their common enemies, the "elites", whoever they are. That might be true, but it's likely he will destroy himself and his supporters as well.

I think the insightful line was that this is just Trump's mode of operation, it has worked for him, he will keep doing it even if it proves sub-optimal.

Tigers, stripes.

Perhaps it would be interesting to ask Chris Christie how reliably Trump rewards his supporters.

Simple arithmetic on whose support mattered more ; clearly that of a bitter son-in-law did. Christie's prosecution of the son-in-law's father was a festering wound.

Sorry to break it to you, rayward, but if Trump hasn't destroyed himself by now at age 70 sitting literally at the apex of the world, it ain't gonna happen.

It doesn't matter whether the people who have known Trump the longest think he is a psychopath, as only qualified psychologists and psychiatrists can diagnose someone as such, and then only after extensive interviews, psychological tests, etc.

So, basically you're painting Trump as a cult leader.

I think 'Trump as Cult Leader' hits the nail on the head. It explains the misogyny, the loyalty tests, the lying, the paranoia, the chaotic management, and the monstrous ego.


Hannah Arendt Explains How Propaganda Uses Lies to Erode All Truth & Morality: An Incisive Quote from The Origins of Totalitarianism


give 3 examples
I didn't find any in the bloomberg article but maybe I didn't read it carefully enough

You forgot about narcissistic personality disorder.

Normally it's facile for us to play armchair psychiatrists, but in Trump's case it's simple truth. If Trump doesn't have NPD then the term has no meaning.

Probably most people in politics could be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, tho.

There are all kinds of degrees to narcissism and I think most politicians are going to be high on the narcissism scale, and a few wlll have genuine narcissistic personality disorders, Trump's is way into the pathological. He is an incomplete human. There are whole areas of dysfunction in terms of seeing reality and feeling basic human feelings. He is mentally ill.

Interesting. Theodore Dalrymple wrote:

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is...in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

Same topic, but more refined (less model, more strategy): Trump, the Press and the Dictatorship of the Trolletariat.


At the end of the day the underlying principle of Trump and his supporters is to make a play for freedom. Not liberal freedom but freedom from boundaries. Namely freedom from any boundary that truth creates.

Unlike any other previous person politician or not, Trump asserts he is unbound.

Think not? Let me ask you what acts do you think would cause even Trump's partisans to turn and brand him a liar or crooked? If 2 years from now it is discovered he has a private email server in Trump tower that he uses to email back and forth with the CIA on classified reports, you think that's going to sway anyone? If Saudi Princes or Russian cronies book lavish meetings at Trump resort properties paying above market rate, what do you think will happen?

I could play-pretend a "Hillary did it so why not?" argument, but as it happens I will stick with my previous belief that high officials should have private emails.

Separately, we will have to rely on whistle blowers, good reporters, and brave columnists, to tell the truth.

missing the point, if Trump campaigned on "I'm not crooked Hillary" and crooked Hillary means private email and Saudi funds in the Clinton Foundation then that presumes he is bound by some standards of behavior. Your opinion on private email doesn't matter, you didn't run he did.

Yes, there is that.

There are of course many ways to 'save' private email servers.

Trump could say he was wrong.

He could say he is ok with them provided they are audited by gov't IT agents.

He could say he is ok if Congress passes a special law authorizing them under certain conditions (i.e. being registered, auditable, backups being archived by the gov't etc).

He could do these things and still assert he was right when he said 'crooked Hillary'.

"Unlike any other previous person politician or not, Trump asserts he is unbound."

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

I think that example is instructive. It took years to back Clinton into a corner where he lied about sex.

It took hours for Trump to send a press secretary out to lie brazenly and officially.

Clinton was (and is) a damned good and charming liar.

My point is Clinton's partisans did not desert him then. I don't think Trump's partisans are of a unique strain. I think they are the same as a Clinton or Bush or whoever else partisan. To the extent they are unique, I would say it is that they may make up a smaller portion of the voting population than they did for our most recent Presidents.

As a moderate, I flipped my vote, based on Clinton's public morality. "Partisans" I don't know.

Still, I think you might be verging on a false equivalence that we will see for the next 4 years. Will every lie be countered with the same tired examples?

I advocated and voted for Perot in my 1992 and 1996 elementary and junior high elections. I believe in one of those years my advocacy helped him tie for the most votes.

I don't think there is a false equivalence here because I don't think Trump's partisans are of a unique strain. If anything I think there are fewer diehards than with most recent Presidents.

It is a false equivalence because it is 1:N all over again.

Trump showed himself unfit N ways, and every damn time the 1, the emails "balanced" it.

Even sicker because you are going back 19 years to pick up your 1.

Trump is "balanced" in all his lies by one thing that happened19 years ago.

As I said, "I don’t think there is a false equivalence here because I don’t think Trump’s partisans are of a unique strain. If anything I think there are fewer diehards than with most recent Presidents."

That it was 19 years ago is irrelevant. His partisans remained with him then. That is the point. Partisans are partisan for their partisan reasons today, yesterday, and tomorrow. They excuse things for their guy that they fault in the other guy, and praise things in their guy that they hate in the other guy.

"As a moderate, I flipped my vote, based on Clinton’s public morality. “Partisans” I don’t know."

As an actual moderate i recognize this for the sociopathic lie that it is. Well that's not fair anon is likely far too aspergery to be a sociopath.

Hey now, that's not fair at all. I think both Aspies and sociopaths would be willing to throw the switch that kills 4 person to save 5. I'm not even criticizing throwing the switch, but it would be nice if Anon understood that the 4 don't really appreciate his public morality. Because it kills them, you see.

lol, Sam you can always be counted on to make up your own reality.

Two Sams now. FWIW, I would not throw the switch. That would be "actively killing" and I would desperately try to save, even if that proved impossible, instead.

Regarding Sams: the few, the proud.

As the philosopher Rush once said, "If you choose not to decide You still have made a choice". I really don't know how I'd react to the switch problem. Your proposed solution would be ideal (to my ears at least), but sometimes a 3rd option isn't really on the table.

What exactly is your public morality, anon? What was Clinton's? What is Good, to you? If you say that Clinton's Honesty made you switch, you're discrediting yourself right off the bat. Her incorruptibility? Please. I'm not even saying that Trump is better in these regards, but what virtue or public (and/or private, you know how she made the distinction to her banker friends) morality does she and you actually hold in common?

We were talking about the other Clinton. I had voted for George H. Bush in 1992, but in 1996 was happy with the direction of the country. Bill was conservative enough, moderate enough for me. Were it not for the "lie" above I would have voted for him. But I decided I should vote for a better public morality, and went with Robert J. Dole.

In terms of this new Clinton, I don't think critics laid too much of a glove on her, certainly less than was actually and in fact laid on Trump:


But never believe facts, am I right?

Hmm, I was still coming of age, I thought Bill's BJ lie under oath was after the 1996 elections. Slow burning scandal, then.

I'd view Bill Clinton's NAFTA and globalization steps as a switch problem. It benefited the US as a whole, but had a disproportionate effect on a few. Increasing the purchasing power of everyone by 10% is cold comfort to a group of people earning 100% less. I don't think NAFTA was a bad idea at the time, but the utter disregard for the people it hurt is, well, contemptible. The elites had at least 16 years to give a damn.

Again, what public morality are you talking about? What exactly do you value as Good? This is becoming an essential question in our society. Honesty, Justice, Mercy, Liberty, these are things I value, and yet I voted Trump (and your increasing derangement is transforming me from a reluctant voter to a relieved one). Why this schism between us? Also, when I get home I can get some hilarious mismatching on Politifacts rankings - they are not as nonpartisan as you may believe, but I don't know if I can persuade you of that even with evidence.

I guess I am a loose Utilitarian, with limits for individual .. dare I say sovereignty?

My position may not be far from a guy named Tyler.


On PolitiFact, it is just sad that so many told us to ignore it. And yet it predicted exactly where we are. It presaged this sad article by Tyler.

Maybe if you call Tyler "deranged" you can be relieved again?

That is, if you ignore the obvious self-protective self-deceit.

"I’d view Bill Clinton’s NAFTA and globalization steps as a switch problem. It benefited the US as a whole, but had a disproportionate effect on a few. Increasing the purchasing power of everyone by 10% is cold comfort to a group of people earning 100% less. I don’t think NAFTA was a bad idea at the time, but the utter disregard for the people it hurt is, well, contemptible. The elites had at least 16 years to give a damn."

Here's a factoid. There was once about 200K coal miners in the US. Then it became 100K. I guess that's an example of the elites not giving a dam and now they got theirs blah blah blah.

Except the 200K figure was from the late 70's and the 100K figure was from the early 90's. So basically the Reagan era was the era of coal miner economic genocide. Where was the revolution for not caring about the coal miners?

Closer to today the figure is something like 97K. So basically the end of the Regan era was the end of the economic collapse of coal miners...yet you'll often hear coal miners profiled as an example of 'the type' that put Trump in office.

But here's another fact. There's maybe 100K+ dog groomers in the US. Unlike coal mining, dog grooming offers a lot of flexibility in location (just about everywhere you move has room for someone to groom dogs). Is much safer (though dogs do bite). Also offers more opportunities for starting your own business (kind of hard to buy your own coal mine, even if you save a lot). But no one talks about the 'dog groomer vote' or asks what would improve or hurt their lot economically.

That being said it's almost impossible to find anyone who lost their job because of NAFTA. In fact I recall funds allocated to job training for those who might have lost their jobs to NAFTA and they couldn't even find people to spend them on (and since it was 'free money' it wasn't like you had to really work hard to prove you lost your job because of NAFTA as opposed to the normal ups and downs of life in the US).

So before you go further with this narrative, who exactly are you talking about? How many? Can you even get to 100K jobs/people (which would put you in coal miner territory, which is not really economically relevant)? Or are you trying to measure how much higher the Atlantic Ocean is on the east cost of the US because of people on French beaches peeing in the water?

"Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1993, the rise in the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico through 2002 has caused the displacement of production that supported 879,280 U.S. jobs. Most of those lost jobs were high-wage positions in manufacturing industries. The loss of these jobs is just the most visible tip of NAFTA’s impact on the U.S. economy. In fact, NAFTA has also contributed to rising income inequality, suppressed real wages for production workers, weakened workers’ collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions, and reduced fringe benefits."
- Robert E. Scott (November 17, 2003)

"The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, and retirement security. To achieve this goal, EPI conducts research and analysis on the economic status of working America. EPI proposes public policies that protect and improve the economic conditions of low- and middle-income workers and assesses policies with respect to how they affect those workers."

Proponents reject the claims of some that the free trade agreement is destroying the manufacturing industry and causing displacement of workers in that industry. The rate of job loss due to plant closings, a typical argument against NAFTA, showed little deviation from previous periods.[17] Also, US industrial production, in which manufacturing makes up 78%, saw an increase of 49% from 1993-2005. The period prior to NAFTA, 1982-1993, only saw a 28% increase.[14] In fact, according to NAM, National Association of Manufacturers, NAFTA has only been responsible for 10% of the manufactured goods trade deficit, something opponents criticize the agreement for exacerbating.[18] The growth of exports to Canada and Mexico accounted for a large proportion of total U.S. export gains.[19] However, the growth of exports to Canada and Mexico in percentage terms has lagged significantly behind the growth of exports to the rest of the world.[20]


The actual figures seem pretty hard to get beyond economically trivial levels (defined as 100K but probably should be much higher).

"the rise in the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico through 2002 has caused the displacement of production that supported 879,280 U.S. jobs. "

Sounds like weasel language. At first glance that sounds like 879,280 jobs lost due to NAFTA inspired trade. Yet 'displacement of production that supported' sounds like they are casting a wide net. If a coffee shop went out of business and two blocks away there was a factory that shut down that maybe had previously lost some sales due to NAFTA then we're assuming both the factory, the coffee shop, hell even the guy who collected bottles outside the trash can to get to 879K (ok take that seriously but not quite literally friends).

NAFTA wasn't just one sided.


The US does export goods to Mexico. Pre-Nafta Mexican tariffs of 30%-250% were common in addition to a host of non-tariff barriers. I'm not finding an easy source for the common tariff rates the US put on Mexican goods pre-NAFTA but I suspect they were much lower.

It hardly seems clear if you re-ran the clock with NAFTA defeated you'd see a dramatic difference in jobs or job structure in the US

"It hardly seems clear if you re-ran the clock with NAFTA defeated you’d see a dramatic difference in jobs or job structure in the US"

Well we're talking about a but-for world that never existed, involving millions of independent individual actors, thousands of independent businesses, and many events and changes that are hard to properly account for even on a short-time scale and on their own. That it isn't clear what would have happened but-for NAFTA doesn't mean Sam the Sham's position is an unreasonable position for someone to take. There is evidence they can point to supporting their case.

Like coal miners, Sam's position sounds like a reasonable narrative until you start asking yourself how do you get to a sizeable number of people who could turn elections. NAFTA just doesn't seem to fly. At best you might get a few hundred thousand spread over multiple states. Sure you can claim in a state that was close that could have swung the election a few thousand votes made the election, but you could cite any number of other hobby horses to pin the election on (campus PC speech, gay cake bakers, email servergate, FBI-gate, hacked emails etc.).

Even if you found half a million who became rabid Republicans post 1995 out of anger at Bill Clinton for NAFTA, it doesn't shift the political landscape over the last few decades or even this election.

Now what you might be able to argue is that NAFTA plays a plausible scapegoat for lots of people who haven't done as well as they would have liked over the last decade and that is what shifted the election....even though NAFTA had about as much economic impact on them today as FDR's changing the gold standard does today. But then NAFTA really isn't the problem then is it?

anon, yes of course every lie, and every misdeed of Trump's will be countered with the same tired examples. Trump supporters are not ever tired of defending him in any nonsensical way that occurs to him because Theirs Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe.

Boonton, also keep in mind that some people do not vote selfishly, and throw a wrench in the whole works. Blacks only make up 13% of the population - how did they get the right to vote? Why would a man vote to dilute his vote with icky girl votes in the mix? If we voted to sacrifice a virgin every year to the ancient Vorlon god Booji to make the rains fall, well, that's only 1 vote you're losing every year. 150 max, if you include friends and family, and yet I suspect throwing Susie into the volcano would make you lose an entire election. We've only had 5,000 deaths from the Iraq war, but that seems to have cost significantly more than 5,000 votes. That may be a good question - are people selfish enough voters?

Ok, anon, I'm home and I didn't have some of my hilariously biased politifact "mistakes" bookmarked. I remember one was about Hillary re: open borders, rated false when she'd already had her speech leaked about how she had a dream of open borders. If I produce 5 examples of Politifact playing it fast and loose with facts, would you believe that it is possible that the Ministry of Truth is not actually nonpartisan?

Good example, Bill Clinton was quite bound by the truth. In order to lie you gotta work pretty hard with the truth.

Clinton wanted to lie about X. In order to do this he had to assume most people care about the truth. He had to present facts that are consistent with X being true (or would be consistent). When he presented untrue facts, those too had to be tracked and carefully monitored to avoid conflicting with facts known to be true and to prevent contradicting future statements said in support with X. As Judge Judy says, a liar must have a good memory.

It's sort of like Chesterton's famous quote about thieves:

""Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it." "

Traditional liars respect the truth, they merely wish their lies to also share in truth's respectability.

Trump is quite a different type of liar. He lies not because he wants his lies to bask in respectability. He lies because he wants truth itself to cease to be respectable. As that happens there is no need to have a good memory, no need to cross check verifiable facts with the story you're trying to spin. He will be completely and totally free, and that type of freedom is a zero sum game.

"Traditional liars respect the truth, they merely wish their lies to also share in truth’s respectability."

I don't think this is quite right. I think they respect the truth's respectability and power. The goal is imitation because they want that same respect and power, not because they have an underlying respect for "truth" in an abstract sense.

Regardless, extending an examination of Trump's relationship with the truth to that of his supporters/partisans, and suggesting that they must uniquely share this relationship because of their partisanship, is baseless. I don't believe that you can possibly know that about his particular partisans or make a genuine comparison with Bush or Clinton partisans to deduce that Trump's are of a unique type.

A traditional liar needs to preserve truth's respectability and power because that will mean his lie, if it is successful, will share in that power.

To do this then requires the lie to be hard to uncover (his relationship with Monika would have probably remained nothing but low level rumor if she had not spoken to her 'friend' thereby letting the cat out of the bad). Failing that other lies may be deployed to case doubt on the truth (think of A Few Good Men when the outgoing flight log was doctored to make it appear the victim was scheduled to be transferred off the base the next morning). Failing that hyper-precise or specialized word play might be deployed to keep something technically true (Clinton's lawyers, in fact, got Jones's lawyers to agree to a definition of sex that was convoluted enough to exclude blow jobs).

But this does in fact leave a problem. You are bound and governed by the truth at the end of the day. In order for the lie to work lots of other truth's must be maintained. A really good liar then uses lies as a type of wild card or cheat code to strategically score an edge.

But hey Trump's most partisan partisans tell us his strength is that he isn't like any traditional politicians. What better way to disarm all the other politicians and neutralize their strategically preserved and cultivated lies than by the go after truth itself? The moment truth ceases to be important then ironically most politicians are disarmed.

Yes, Bill Clinton was a more skilled liar than Donald Trump. When Bill Clinton lied it was harder to tell, which means his lies had more effect, because they were perceived as truth. This is somehow a good thing because Boonton is a piece of shit and really hates low SES white people, like really.

Obama said he'd be the most transparent president evar!

Then his minions destroyed hard drives, asked if IMs would be recorded, stonewalled requests from Congress etc. (Keep in mind, Obama could have called up the IRS at any time and ordered them to cooperate fully. He didn't.)

We even find Cordray filing FOIA to see if any text messages he himself sent are lurking at the CFPC. LOL. Why?

I can't imagine there is much risk of a press secretary rebelling or being disloyal. Typically they are supposed to be "good" at lying, in the sense that it isn't blatant, although it isn't quite ambassador-level soft either. So I think your initial paragraphs are off the mark.

The better reason to have a press secretary state blatant lies rather than softer lies shares something with your final paragraphs. There will, by necessity, be a constant "scandal of the moment" for the next four years. If only one such "scandal" can capture the media/public's attention at once, it is better for the administration (in terms of achieving its substantive policy goals) to try to choose that scandal, and make it about a meaningless issue completely detached from substantive policy. The way to choose a scandal is to be particularly blatant in lying about it.

So this is how liberty succumbs, discussing whose lies are the best.

No, liberty succumbs when Bloomberg rejects that column.

The so-called America has become a nightmarishly dysfunctional regime.

And yet if we wanted to repeat the invasion of 1891 we'd do even more damage to Brazil today. You should be thanking us for our forbearance.

This is how liberty succumbs:

Hannah Arendt Explains How Propaganda Uses Lies to Erode All Truth & Morality: An Incisive Quote from The Origins of Totalitarianism


The Place Guard has turned on Dear Leader, after only two days: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-first-days-inside-trumps-white-house-fury-tumult-and-a-reboot/2017/01/23/7ceef1b0-e191-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumpturmoil-0902pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.7b4957aa1fda Here's a summary for those who don'[t wish to read the entire WP article: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/01/trump-aides-cant-stop-blabbing-about-how-hes-a-madman.html Trump is a psychopath.

You haven't been reading the Post the last several months, I see. Why not give us a link to DNC press releases while you're at it.

Nice to see TC suddenly so interested in lies from the White House. [I told you this would happen.]

Former President Obama was always truthful of course when presenting important policy matters.

Remember when he repeated over 50 times, "If you like your doctor, it's possible you will also like your new doctor." ?

Oh, how I miss that honesty.

Since this has come up twice, there is a difference between being wrong and lying. The new law required insurance, most had insurance, it was an entirely normal expectation that everyone would keep their doctor. After all, the main structure of medical funding, by insurance and insurance network, did not change.

It was a surprise for many, probably including Obama, that the "minimum coverage" rule bit so many.

And yet you can't understand the mechanism, can't let the "lie" go.

If Yours Is the Only Virtuous Political Tribe, you have to find ways to keep bashing your opponent tribe. Even unfair, illogical or totally wrong statements will do. You just say that this ___________ (anything you can drum up) proves that your opponent tribe is lying, incompetent, weak, stupid etc. And/or this proves that your own tribe is far better, in comparison.

All criticisms of the Only Virtuous Political Tribe must be answered in this way.

Do you get it now?

Obama was just "wrong."

LOL. Except we found out he had people saying "don't say that, its not true."

But Bush lied, and people died.

President Obama, in a large meeting, told Eric Cantor that millions would be displaced, thereby demonstrating awareness that millions would lose their coverage. He later repeated the line about liking the plan and keeping it.

President Obama said he became aware of Secretary Clinton's private email in media reports. Later, it was revealed that he personally sent emails to that server.

An early publisher of President Obama's printed that he was from Kenya despite President Obama's birth in Honolulu. I wonder where the publisher got the idea, however.

President Obama lied repeatedly throughout his life. He will continue to do so. TC's distinction about the status of lies is important because the status governs partisan reaction.

And yes, President Trump lied about the number of illegals who voted and the numbers of attendees at the recent inauguration. However, illegals vote, just in unknown numbers. Also, the media misrepresented the number of attendees at the inauguration. Mr. Spicer pointed out several sound examples.

No, I do not remember Obama saying that.

Can you cite a single one of those 50 times for the rest of us to see?


You're welcome!

the essence of whataboutism distilled

Whataboutism is actually very important.

If you want an honest press holding parties to account, they must be fair in doing that.

Thus, if you see defection from this regime, it must be punished, tit for tit.

Sorry, but Obama got away with far too much. You can't let his stuff slide and now expect people to care about your deep, deep concern.

Except it's not an effective retort to Trump lying. Yes, hold the press accountable, but that doesn't make Trump's lies any less egregious.

There is some wisdom in this post, but there is a simpler important point which is not made. Many things that the media such as the NYT call "lies" are unproved, but also unrefuted statement. What we mathematicians call "conjectures".

To take as en example that last one, the assertion that there was a massive fraudulent vote by non-citizen, it seems to be a very
plausible statement in need from a proof from those who claims it, and a refutation from those who qualifies it as lies. What makes it plausible is simply the electoral law: even in the states with the most restrictive ID law, you can basically register and vote with a simple driver license. Now a driver license has nothing to do with citizenship: you may have one without any problem if you're a permanent resident (that's my case), or even with most temporary visas. So many millions of people who are not citizens can register and vote. Do they do it? I don't know, but even in democratic countries with much more stringent condition to vote (like you have to prove your citizenship to register for voting), fraud exists and is documented. The assertion, repeated many times by the NYT and other media, that there is no fraud to speak of in USA is gratuitous and just reminds me of Ahmadinejad at Columbia saying that there were no homosexuality to speak of in Iran.
Back to the US, it is very difficult to check after the fact if this kind of fraud occurred massively, since there is no systematic way to check if someone, known by name and address, is a citizen or not. There is no "unified registry of citizens" in the US, nor for that matter in any country I know. So if you don't check before hand that some people is a citizen and let him/her vote, it is practically impossible to check after the fact that there was fraud. Which doesn't mean that it does not exist, and that it won't be proved some day by hard work and ingenious indirect methods.

Now the effect on this on Trump supporters is that they don't believe the media when they caught Trump saying a real lie.

"What makes it plausible is simply the electoral law: even in the states with the most restrictive ID law, you can basically register and vote with a simple driver license. Now a driver license has nothing to do with citizenship: you may have one without any problem if you’re a permanent resident (that’s my case), or even with most temporary visas"

Most states demand proof of citizenship for a driver's license so your 'plausible' theory falls flat on its face.

Here's a deeper problem with your otherwise reasonable sounding comment. You seem to be giving all the home field advantage to the liar. I can lie about anything, you can't call me out on that lie unless you can show that there's no way my lie might be true....even with infinite about of retconning shoe-horning.

Like maybe the KGB is forging perfect birth certificates and decades ago started using them to get official social security numbers and over the years built up a huge database of fake people. Perhaps now Putin, inheriting this massive deep cover asset from the wreckage of the USSR is working with a team of deep cover agents and dupes in the US to use these fake identities, Jason Bourne style, to vote over and over again. Perhaps those fake voters are also under instructions to lie to pollsters so the general vote count doesn't deviate too much from pre-election polling!

Of course it may be kind of hard for you to prove that hasn't happened so you basically have to shut up when someone says the general election is rigged we can ignore the vote if it doesn't go our way or accept it if it does.

You are mistaken, it is not "most states", it is *absolutely no* state that demand a prove of citizenship for a driver license. Or do you believe that "most states" forbid its permanent residents to drive a car?

The rest of your argument is more reasonable. It is about the question of who gets the burden of the proofs in an honest debate. I think the problem is the same when you debate with yourself, when you think to determine the truth. What weird hypotheses are you going to dismiss without ado, or what are you going to try to refute convincingly, perhaps to discover that they are not so easily refutable, and, sometimes, are true? A Bayesian approach may help clarify the question. You don;t start with a blank mind. You have priors, an a priori probability, you attribute to a certain "event", say the event: "there ware more than a million non-citizen voting in the last election". Below a certain threshold, the evidence available, which is real but weak (for example, the fact that the state with the laxer rules for voting voted much more Clinton than the average state), won't make the a posteriori probability much different from the prior -- that's how Bayes' law work. But if you start with a prior of say 10% chance of the said event, then you should look at the evidence more carefully. And that's true whatever you "wish to be true", fraud or no fraud.

What I was arguing, and that anon clearly missed (which excuses him to lose his temper and become insulting so fast), is that the prior of a massive fraud should not be so low: Fraud happens in many elections, are not always discovered (but are sometimes discovered by chance after the fact, that's how we know they happened), and the law makes it incredibly easy
in the United States. Moreover the notion that Trump was extremely dangerous for the nation, and for immigrants in particular (despite the fact that his mother, his wife, and his four grandparents are immigrants), was widespread, providing a song motivation to vote against him even if you were not allowed to vote because not a citizen.

"You are mistaken, it is not “most states”, it is *absolutely no* state that demand a prove of citizenship for a driver license."

No, most states most certainly do ask for proof of citizenship or legal status when granting a driver's license. Of course, non-citizens can get driver's licenses but the license will typically be annotated with the individual's visa status. Look up the Real ID Act for more information.

His formulation of the theory is off, but (1) there are 12 states and DC that allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, and (2) there are 19 states which do not have any ID requirement to vote and 12 more states that do not have a photo ID requirement to vote.

A simple compromise remains requiring a photo ID that demonstrates citizenship status in order to vote (which could include a driver's license in states that require proof of citizenship to get a license), and having this ID be available free to US citizens once per X time period.

"You are mistaken, it is not “most states”, it is *absolutely no* state that demand a prove of citizenship for a driver license. Or do you believe that “most states” forbid its permanent residents to drive a car?"

True, however all states require voter registration. While the driver's license itself doesn't have a big stamp on it that says "non-citizen resident' , that information is with respective DMV's.

"12 more states that do not have a photo ID requirement to vote"

You're missing the link that says 'therefore that plus these additional facts prove that the popular vote is rife with 'illegal voters'.

"A simple compromise remains requiring a photo ID that demonstrates citizenship status in order to vote "

Actually the Constitution gives states the right to determine the time, place and manner of elections AND that the House be chosen by the People (not citizens) of each state. You'd have to show that a non-trivial portion of votes cast in a particular state violated that state's law. Not that some states lack the laws you'd like to see.

"What I was arguing, and that anon clearly missed (which excuses him to lose his temper and become insulting so fast), is that the prior of a massive fraud should not be so low: Fraud happens in many elections, are not always discovered (but are sometimes discovered by chance after the fact, that’s how we know they happened), and the law makes it incredibly easy in the United States."

Lots of things may seem 'incredibly easy' but really aren't. After Tim McVeigh and 9/11 it seemed like terrorism is incredibly easy. Car bombs, public bombs, etc. are not hard to make. If you target places that are not high profile you could probably set off one without getting caught. The Unabomber and anthrax bombers got away with it for quite a while before law closed in on them and even then it was more luck on law's side. So there should be lots and lots of terrorism....but in the US at least there isn't.

One problem with your prior is that getting away with a single act of voter fraud might in fact be easy. A wife might use her recently deceased husband's ballot to vote twice, for example. Getting away with massive voter fraud, though, is not as easy as you might think. It either requires a very small number of people to command a huge number of votes or it requires a huge number of people to act in a coordinated manner but avoid all the human behavior that would cause them to be exposed.

"Actually the Constitution gives states the right to determine the time, place and manner of elections AND that the House be chosen by the People (not citizens) of each state. You’d have to show that a non-trivial portion of votes cast in a particular state violated that state’s law. Not that some states lack the laws you’d like to see."

My compromise solution is only for the perceived problem of non-citizens voting. Now I think I see what you're arguing. Joel said "massive fraudulent vote by non-citizens," so you're saying that these states can allow and do allow non-citizens to vote, so it wouldn't be fraudulent even if non-citizens are voting? Fair enough, but I think most people who argue about this issue are trying to say "only citizens should be able to vote."


Most states have Republican governors OR are states where Republicans are a sizeable and still significant political force (California might be an exception but it's a recent one, it wasn't so long ago they had Arnold as governor). It seems to me if a state wanted to allow permanent residents to vote they could do so. I don't think any state actually does but if they did that would be what 'the people' want.

But when you get a driver's license, you show the DMV documents that establish who you are (i.e. birth certificate, permanent resident status etc.). So if a state issues 10M licenses, 1M are to permanent residents and 500K of those residents vote illegally because the registration system allows you to just register with a driver's license it would be pretty easy to demonstrate that.

Why, despite this data being either directly available to Republicans or indirectly has anyone failed to produce it?

I would think there would be substantial privacy issues in doing so. You'd have to get everyone's citizenship status from the DMV and compare it to the voter rolls. Are there states where that can legally be done?

I don't know all the details about the issue because I don't care much about it. My preference would be that citizenship would have to be proven with a photo ID in order to vote. I think it is a very reasonable restriction on the franchise and that making the photo ID available for free from the nearest government office would counter any concerns about this being targeted at the poor. I think most people who care about the issue on either side who don't offer that as a compromise solution are trying to either trying to favor people who will largely vote for them, or disfavor people who will largely vote against them.

"I would think there would be substantial privacy issues in doing so. You’d have to get everyone’s citizenship status from the DMV and compare it to the voter rolls. Are there states where that can legally be done?"

Yea every state. Just like the IRS can compare the income you report on your tax return to what your employer says they paid you on your W2.

"I don’t know all the details about the issue because I don’t care much about it. My preference would be that citizenship would have to be proven with a photo ID ..."

Since you don't care why should anyone else? Stop wasting your time then.

I don't care much about a lot of things that society should probably care about.

"Yea every state. Just like the IRS can compare the income you report on your tax return to what your employer says they paid you on your W2."

I haven't looked a ton but I can't find anything saying that in every state someone has statutory authority to compare DMV records to the voter rolls. That the IRS has the statutory authority to compare W2s to tax returns doesn't mean that all states allow someone to compare the voters rolls to citizenship status from the DMV. What are you basing the "every state" claim on?

"I haven’t looked a ton but I can’t find anything saying that in every state someone has statutory authority to compare DMV records to the voter rolls."

this is an absurd statement. Every state writes their own rules for DMV and voting. Unless you can show me actual statutory authority that says states are not allowed to conduct voter fraud investigations, the presumption is that they can.

"this is an absurd statement. Every state writes their own rules for DMV and voting. Unless you can show me actual statutory authority that says states are not allowed to conduct voter fraud investigations, the presumption is that they can."

The presumption is they can go on generalized fishing expeditions to see if anyone on a voter roll has DMV info saying they are non-citizens? You seem to be changing the topic by referring to "voter fraud investigations," which would presumably involve specific suspicion about an individual or individuals fraudulently voting, and allow for gathering data from the DMV, voting rolls, and other sources as part of the investigation, unless specifically statutorily barred.

I don't know why it would be absurd to suggest that outside of the context of investigating a specific instance of alleged voter fraud, perhaps not all states allow the comparison of voter rolls to DMV records as a means of looking for voter fraud.

Again, what I said initially was: "I would think there would be substantial privacy issues in doing so. You’d have to get everyone’s citizenship status from the DMV and compare it to the voter rolls. Are there states where that can legally be done?" to which you replied "Yea every state."

I asked about the ability to do that for everyone in the state. You are framing it now in the context of a voting fraud investigation (which I think would necessarily have specific people in mind from the outset).

I agree that what TV proposes would be a reasonable compromise.

Boonton, I have heard of no state checking with the DMV that people registering for voting with a driver's license or other DMV-issued photo ID have obtained their document with something that proves their citizenship. Have you?

If you're suggesting that states should do that, I emphatically agree. Note that's only possible to state that requires a driver's license or equivalent to register, which are a minority of the states which have been easily criticized for already doing that. In Massachusetts for instance, my state, you can register with a simple utility bill, which of course doesn't prove that you have citizenship.

Boonton: "only citizens are voting. I oppose comparing voter rolls to citizenship lists. I oppose voter ID to verify citizenship. I believe non-citizens should be allowed to vote."

You are such a liar. Why not just admit that you're concerned about the voter ID issue is that you think non-citizens should be allowed to vote? Is it because you know that that is a stance that is hugely unpopular? Have a backbone you coward this is an anonymous forum, you don't have to hide your feelings behind false confidence in voter integrity.

First as anon helpfully pointed out Florida and other states have used their data to look at voter registration lists to see if they can pick up fraud (as well as general clean up such as removing people who die from the list). So this is already being done and no evidence of mass non-citizen voting has been found anywhere despite plenty of Republican state governments who made it clear to their attorney generals that they would love to hold a press conference and announce they uncovered thousands upon thousands of illegal voters.

Second the 'privacy' point is really stretching it. To get a license you are giving your information to your state government (the DMV). To register to vote you are also giving your information to the state government. Government agencies share data all the time, for example the IRS will update Social Security on the payroll data that is receives. Only a few agencies are explicitly banned from sharing by law (for example, census data is kept private for 72 years).

Also you should check your prior's more carefully.

You seem to be holding as a prior:

Trump voters are very concerned with election's being fair and legitimate.

Yet a likely consequence of that would be that such people would be very hip to prove fraud. How hard is it, for example, to take the list of licenses issued by a state's DMV, cull from that a list of those who are non-citizens and then compare that list of non-citizens to those that registered AND voted to produce a list of non-citizen voters? Keep in mind many states have Republican governors so this is hardly an impossible exercise.

How about this as a prior:

Trump voters don't care about elections being fair.

Trump did not win the popular vote against an unpopular candidate that normally he should have had an edge on. Trump has done nothing to indicate he will win over people who are skeptical and hostile to him, which is a majority. Why would Trumpkins want a fair popular vote that they will almost never win?

How about instead Trump cares about elections being discredited so people are conned into believing that no result could ever be trusted? Then it no longer becomes important to try to prove fraud. In fact it becomes dangerous because if you try very hard to prove fraud and can't turn anything up of importance you actually end up increasing the view that elections are probably fair! This happened under Bush where he ordered his Justice Department to try to bring voter fraud cases and despite trying very hard they found only a few trivial cases...mostly voters who more likely made innocent mistakes (like a person on probation registering and voting) rather than any sizeable, coordinated fraud.

No non-citizens voted. I oppose checking this assertion. I oppose ensuring this assertion with ID. I believe non-citizens should be able to vote.

You loser.


You seem to have a reading problem. I pointed out multiple times states are perfectly free to check their lists of citizens/non-citizens from DMV and other records against their voter registration database. In fact several states have done exactly that resulting in only a handful of cases.

Turkey seems to be putting forth the assertion that there's some 'privacy' element in play to the gov't using data that, well the gov't already has.

I'll make a deal with you, ditch all Republican sponsored voter ID efforts in exchange for no holds barred, unlimited investigation by the most rabid Republican attorney generals you can find of actual voting records combined with public disclosure and prosecution of illegal votes found.

The licenses for illegal immigrants will typically be annotated with something like "Not valid for federal purposes" or "Driving privileges only."

"Trump specializes in lower-status lies, typically more of the bald-faced sort, namely stating “x” when obviously “not x” is the case. They are proclamations of power, and signals that the opinions of mainstream media and political opponents will be disregarded. The lie needs to be understood as more than just the lie. For one thing, a lot of Americans, especially many Trump supporters, are more comfortable with that style than with the “fancier” lies they believe they are hearing from the establishment."

That might be, but I suspect it's rather simpler than that. There's nothing unique about telling obvious lies, it's done all the time by people trying to sell things like religion or bogus health treatments. The obvious explanation: Some Trump supporters are gullible by nature or have fallen in with his cult of personality: they'll believe anything he says, and if it doesn't come true, most of them will find a scapegoat, just like with other cults. Others don't believe, see Trump's persona as an act, but were even more concerned about Clinton or the establishment. Still others don't believe, don't think it's entirely an act, but again back Trump as a risky play for change or the lesser evil.

And this also, perhaps

Hannah Arendt Explains How Propaganda Uses Lies to Erode All Truth & Morality: An Incisive Quote from The Origins of Totalitarianism


:"Why do many *direct* lies from the Trump administration?"

I wonder if "do" should be "so".

"The big weekend story was the obviously false claim of Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, that Trump pulled in the largest inauguration crowds in American history." It certainly feels like an "obvious" lie but there is really no way to prove it. Certainly no more damning a lie than the unnuanced comparisons with pictures from the 1st Obama inauguration crowd. No one knows how many tens of thousands were unable to make it unto the mall due to Democrat disrupters holding up the lines. There were at least half mile long lines at entry points while Trump was taking the oath. Also, there were also tens of thousands more down by the African History Museum where there had been none during the Obama inauguration. No metro stations were closed for Obama and there were no choke points or crowd searches. It would be interesting to see how the NPS blocked streets making it impossible to more around from one clogged entrance point to another. Pretty much like comparing baseball statistics from 140 game seasons with 162 game seasons. You can do it if you want, but you don't come out as some kind of paragon of truth-telling doing it. Yes, Spicer may be a liar, but that does not mean that the staff of Carlos Slim's NYT, on whose Mexican payroll Tyler toiled for so long, are not a filtheir bunch of lying liars either.

You assume that scientists who estimate crowds don't make use of photographs of areas surrounding the mall, as well as of the mall itself.

It is also worth noting that metro trips on the day of the 2009 inauguration totaled 1.1 million compared to 570,557 on the day of Trump's inauguration. This provides additional support for the proposition that there were fewer people at Trump's inauguration than at Obama's. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/01/22/heres-what-metros-inauguration-day-and-womens-march-ridership-numbers-really-mean/?utm_term=.cfa6611171a6

There's a refereed scientific journal article on the crowd size at the inauguration? Could you link to it, please?

The one point I have not figured out is: are they doing this in a planned, strategic way or are they just reacting and improvising here?

If all these statements are planned and part of a larger strategy, then I think they are genius. Our press has behaved so badly for so long that a lot of people will put up with lies in order to confront the equivalent lies of the press.

My fear is that this is not being planned, and only being done in a reactive / on the fly mode. That would tell me that the Trump administration has no boundaries for lying, which could indeed get us into real trouble.

I have long been of the opinion that there is only one, what you see is what you get, Trump.

I guess everyone waits as long as they can for their "pivot" before settling on that.

Right, but that does not answer my question. Just by watching Trump and his team operate you cannot tell if they are planning all of this or just reacting. I mean, look at the whole tax return thing. He got his way after all! Was that well planned? Just a gut reaction that worked? Idk.

FYI: Gut reaction that worked. Trump does calculate but his calculation is quite simple: I do what I want, say what I want, and no one can stop me. This will get me plenty of votes. He was right.

Well said.

Nothing is more loved by Americans than rich white trash-- because rich white trash "proves" to them that they themselves can become rich while still remaining ignorant, stupid, ill mannered and 100% self centered.

Well, the infamous pitch line was you are suppose to take Trump seriously but not literally. However, he is now President and he has to realize people will take him literally at his word.

Why does Trump 'lie' so much because it worked in the campaign!

You'd be pretty dumb to take him literally at his word now.

If politics is about getting under your opponents skin and make then act insanely then Trump is a very very good politician. If Boontoon and anon had jobs I would suggest that HR sit them down to avoid a possible mental breakdown at the office.

Yes, so true. They seem particularly nasty today, so I guess we (and Trump) are getting under their skins, more than usual.

Their mental breakdowns may not have much consequences. But mental breakdowns at the office of the President.........

What I love is that this is, or should be, indirect hostility at Tyler for his article.

lol, sure blame me for calling this months ago.

If that's what you think politics is about that says way more about you than about politics.

Also by your definition Obama is also a very very good politician.

Yes, yes he was.

He's still fairly young, you might not be rid of him yet. My guess is he doesn't run for office again. But I bet Hillary isn't done yet...

"But I bet Hillary isn’t done yet…"

Well the Republicans can certainly hope for Hillary running for President again.

Obviously not that. But mayor of NYC....

Speaking of people with easily pierced skin.

Touched a nerve, did I? Not hard with you, you're all exposed nerves.

If politics were about getting under your opponents' skin, then Trump, and Putin, and lots of other people are great.

But in the real world, being a COMPETENT public official, rather than being a politician who is well loved by a particular group of angry people, is about performing well at some other more difficult taks.

What about the simpler explanation that Trump lies (and has his underlings lie) because he's an enormous egotist and thin-skinned baby, and by being so he was rewarded with the presidency

The old adage has to be revised to "lies, damn lies and trump's tweets."

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump says his inauguration day was Jan 21th 2017 hahaha I pity the intern that's going to be fired https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/823937936056008704

Guess "white lies" is now a double entendre.

Sean Spicer did NOT claim that Trump had the most people AT the inauguration! He said that, combining in-person and online/etc viewers, it was the most-watched inauguration ever. And that's true! Just watch his statement himself, instead of reading what other people say he said.

The whole media narrative about him lying about crowd sizes is the actual fake news.

Similarly, "alternative facts" was meant to be, you know, a different set of facts that are also true. A lot of bias in stories is in WHAT is reported, rather than outright lies. But the NYT has spun this as some sort of Orwellian parallel reality thing.

It's a lie even if you add in person viewers with those who watched on TV.

Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1980 was (and as of this writing still is) the record holder for TV viewership in absolute numbers, with 41.8 million total television viewers tuning in. In 2009, 37.8 million viewers watched the inauguration of Barack Obama via that medium. According to the Nielsen Company, the TV viewership for Donald Trump's inauguration (31 million) did not surpass either of those figures:

It's also an assertion that makes no sense at all. Tens of millions felt so passionately about watching that they tuned in via Internet or TV *but* this didn't translate into a larger set of people who attended in person? Upon what objective facts could you even begin to plausibly base that assertion?

accidentally replied below, #144

"It’s also an assertion that makes no sense at all. Tens of millions felt so passionately about watching that they tuned in via Internet or TV *but* this didn’t translate into a larger set of people who attended in person? Upon what objective facts could you even begin to plausibly base that assertion?"

- People expected large protests that would make attending in person a huge pain and unpleasant.
- People are ever-older, ever-fatter, and ever-lazier.

So it's a lie. If people were thinner more would attend. If there were fewer protests more would attend. (in other words, if Trump was as popular as Obama more would attend!). Because so many got high resolution TV's and monitors they didn't attend.

Kind of like saying the Panther's won last year's Super Bowl, if only they got more points.

I understood the quote to be arguing that if the number of people watching on TV/online was larger than ever, then it would necessarily require that the number of people watching in person would be larger than ever too. That doesn't follow, for the reasons I mention, among others.

True, to get a million to attend something in person is a huge deal but for viewership to swing up or down on TV or online by a million isn't a big deal. So you could have had more viewers who saw it on TV/internet than ever before.

But you didn't. So it's a lie.

Boontons friends were there and they lit a limousine on fire and attacked people.

The argument isn't about passion, it's about numbers. In fact less passion probably means higher TV and internet numbers, because it's just watching a show not schlepping to DC in the cold. I'm not saying this makes the statement true but it very well could be true that more eyeballs saw this inauguration.

What were the figures for online viewership in each of those respective years?

Do the Nielsen numbers include global viewership?

See Trump and his surrogates lie and it seems like you care more about running down any possible way the lie might surprisingly turn out to be true.

Perhaps aliens on Alpha Centari will watch Trump's inauguration by the billions 4 years from now when the signals hit them while none of them watched any previous ones....so we must rule the jury out until the heat death of the universe will get us the final tallies!

I try to approach things skeptically. I was not initially skeptical of the claim that there was a direct/blatant lie, so I am correcting myself now.

I think global viewers on the day of the inauguration might be of marginally more relevance to the claims made than alien viewership in the distant future.


"On 23 January 2017, White House Press Secretary held a press briefing in which he reiterated his claim that Trump's inauguration was the most viewed in history and said that assertion was "unquestionable" when the number of people who viewed the inauguration online was factored in"

So the assertion isn't just that Trump had more viewers than before but it was unquestionable if you factor in online viewers.

1. This implies there's good evidence that Trump had more viewers without adding online viewers in and it becomes unquestionable if you start adding online viewers in. This is clearly a lie, Trump fails if you count TV ratings or pictures of the crowd or use proxies like metro rides in DC on the day etc.

2. The lie isn't saved if you add in online viewers. There are no good metrics for online viewers but the administration cited CNN's figure of 17M. That's a problematic measure because CNN reported 17M 'video starts' not views. A single person might have started video a dozen times or a dozen people might have accidently started the video then killed it when surfing to CNN's page for other reasons. But even given that CNN reported 21M streams in 2009 so there's no way you can save the statement as not a lie.

Look at how concerned Boonton is about this claim by Trump. Lol

"Trump’s supporters are indeed correct to point out that previous administrations also told many lies, albeit of a different sort. Imagine, for instance, that mistruths come in different forms: higher-status mistruths and lower-status mistruths. The high-status mistruths are like those we associate with ambassadors and diplomats. "

Tyler, this is a ridiculous presupposition. The lies people are referring to are the "Bengahzi was attacked because of a video produced by a right winger", which was shilled all over the Sunday morning news by representatives of the administration, even though it was a transparently ridiculous lie. And the media, for the most part, made a great show of buying into it.

That behavior is what made Trump electable. Those are not the Lies of a diplomat or ambassador.

Potentially a good point from hyperlinked anon. I've just been assuming he directly lied. I haven't actually read a transcript of what the press secretary said, and there wasn't a quoted lie in Tyler's piece or any comment to this post as far as I can tell.

What's the statement (and surrounding statements) at issue here?


The statement in question is:
"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe."

Could be interpreted either way. One way is true, one is false. Since he spends a bunch of time talking about misleading photographs (and some places, like CNN, did publish photos of off-peak crowds) it does give the impression he was talking about crowds. And it might even have been written to sound that way, while being technically true. But it's certainly not a "blatant lie", and calling everything a blatant lie gives Trump no reason to tell the truth in the future....

What were the in-person numbers, and do they include protestors who also saw the inauguration in person?

TV, I am pretty sure the first claim was "attendance" and "viewers" was moved goalposts.

One of the early claims:

""Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way...to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall," Spicer said."


"Enormous support" is of the very classical type of spin you'd expect from a press secretary, as it is not specific at all. Something can be enormous without being the largest ever.

So if that is the objectionable statement there is no way it is a blatant lie.

I don't think you should deny the sad story. As I say, moved goalposts. As described in Rayward's links, as described here:


Well the initial statement you quote sets a goalpost that is so imprecise it can't be called a lie. To the extent goalposts were moved, it was in subsequent statements that tried to make a stronger claim about the attendance. So they moved their own goalposts farther away or closer together with subsequent statements, making it harder to "score," which is not what is typically meant by "moving the goalposts."

It was originally that the photos lied.

Are you obfuscating? This is pretty simple. iPhone viewers are not on photos. So of course the iPhone viewers were moved goalposts and CYA.

Photos could be taken in order to mislead, by taking them from angles or at times that do not represent the peak crowd size and then implying that the photos actually represent the peak crowd size.

All I know about this particular controversy is gleaned from Tyler's article and the comments here. I simply accepted as true the representation that the press secretary blatantly lied, because Tyler and many commenters said so. My typical approach to the world is much more skeptical so I am stepping back to examine whether my initial acceptance of those representations was right.

Photos could be taken in order to mislead, by taking them from angles or at times that do not represent the peak crowd size and then implying that the photos actually represent the peak crowd size.

True, but you're missing the point. If you are putting forth an assertion, "more attended X than Y" then your job is to show how you got there by honest measures.

Perhaps the picture from the last one was taken at peak crowd and the recent picture was taken before the crowd peaked. Great so then where's the picture of peak crowd at Trump's inauguration that confirms his lie? There is none. So what is the assertion based on?

Why don't you just accept it was a lie instead of spinning absurd ret-conns to paint it as something else?

By the time they were claiming that the invention of the iPhone gave them the largest audience, it had thoroughly reduced any point they were originally trying to make.

This would seem to be moving the goalposts away from "blatant" or "direct" lie territory.

Never say die, eh? And never admit the truth?

1) That only measures TV viewers, not online viewers.

2) Washington DC is about 90% democratic.

3) Not everyone who'd watch an inauguration on TV supports the incoming president, but only supporters would actually come. Donald Trump isn't beloved, but he sure is controversial.

1. Online measurements still have Obama winning.

2. So what? The inauguration is in DC. Perhaps if it happened in Houston the lie would in fact be true. But we live in this universe, not Trump's imaginary one so 'would haves' don't make a lie true.

3. Different issue. If Trump's inauguration was the most watched ever, that would not necessarily mean it's because everyone loves Trump. But that doesn't alter the fact that the statement is a lie.

What, the Nomenklatura are suddenly concerned about truth?

Do the sales pitches that institutes of higher education offer to persuade people that they'll benefit from five or six figures of debt in order to attend qualify as 'high status untruth' or 'low status'?

Trump has always lied. You go back and read articles from the 70s and 80s and Trump is lying in these. Trump is a mentally disabled individual. He has a profound narcissitic personalty disorder which means he is ruled by a need fo constant affirmation that he is the biggest and the best. Anything that suggest the contrary is going to make him feel very anxious and that will be converted to anger. His lies are about trying to convince people (and probably himself) that he the biggest and the best. He is nuts. I think there is a fair chance that he will not make it through all four years. I think there is a very strong chance that his behavior will provoke a rebellion in the republican party that will leave him marginalized.

This article is relevant here.

Hannah Arendt Explains How Propaganda Uses Lies to Erode All Truth & Morality: An Incisive Quote from The Origins of Totalitarianism


The current preoccupation with politicians lying is peculiar but the "lies" that Obama and Gruber told in order to gain support for Obamacare is a lot more important to me than the "lies" that Trump may have told regarding how many people showed up for the inaugural or whether illegals voted.

I would hope the most important lies are those of the person currently in power

To most people lies told by the opponent political tribe are most important, even if they are not in power, and even if the lies are tiny or unintentional. Bashing the other tribe is the only important political thing, at least to the Right Wing.

In "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion " Robert B. Cialdini discusses the influencing effect of of compelling a person to compromise their integrity by speaking a falsehood. He references prisoners of war compelled to participate in propaganda efforts against their beliefs. He cites the influencing nature of speaking falsehoods even when the participants understand they don't themselves believe the message and even when they rationalize their participation as the only means by which to forgo negative consequences. The very act of knowingly speaking a falsehood, whether compelled or whether believed, compromises the individual's sense of integrity and makes further requests for compromising commitments easier.

Yes, that's a great book. And excellent summary you made of a part of it. Exactly what is happening now. And this article is relevant to that phenomenon also.

Hannah Arendt Explains How Propaganda Uses Lies to Erode All Truth & Morality: An Incisive Quote from The Origins of Totalitarianism


Apparently unlike TC, I don't live in an echo chamber or at least much less so than he. He references weekend "lies" but fails both the journalism AND the academic standard to provide the precise quote in which Spicer lied. Shame on him, but I'm sure all the nodding heads will continue to nod. I did hear some of Spicer's comments, but didn't listen to the entire thing which is necessary, imho, to set up the full context of his remarks. For instance his claim about the white flooring/covering being new - I'd have to confirm that there were no significant areas which were covered this year and not covered in 2012 - and photographs selected to "prove" a (biased) point don't show that. Nor do pictures of crowds on the Mall - unless they both were taken at the same time (say during the first minute of the then President's speech.) The pictures I saw had no timestamp on them and were therefore useless unless you've already decided that they're "proof". I could go on. Full disclosure, one reason I didn't vote for candidate Trump WAS his egregious lies, so I'm not apologizing for what his Administration says. Where are the journalistic standards in TC's work, I wonder. Frankly, I'd guess most of the rest of the country is with me in saying that we just don't f__cking care about this minutia and "got ya" journalism. I've got Trump fatigue, seems its all the Left can talk (more like rant) about. If he hasn't done anything important, stfu and go find something notable to write about. Please.

This should help - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/01/22/spicer-earns-four-pinocchios-for-a-series-of-false-claims-on-inauguration-crowd-size/

Normal politicians lie like cunning lawyers: with strategic goals and done in such a way to minimize liability.

Trump tells obvious stupid lies that have no apparent purpose. The purpose is to enrage and insult the opposition while not offending or embarrassing his own support base too much.

This is true of some of his lies. But many of his lies are just about trying to believe he is the greatest-- sort of delusions of grandeur. E.g. he felt compelled to pretend that he won the popular vote, and to pretend that the crowd attending his inauguration was the biggest ever, because he can't stand to feel like a loser, or even average in any way. The fact that everyone is average in most ways does not occur to him because he is too busy trying to constantly fluff up his fragile ego.

This is going to be really crazy. No person this thin skinned has ever been president before. And this lacking in self-awareness either, probably. In fact, if he realized how thin skinned he is, he would never have wanted to be president. It's going to drive him-- and the nation-- nuts. His supporters will love it because they live to piss off everyone who disagrees with them.

It is [past] time for the Dimocrats to start lying bigly.
The GOPers have been doing for years.

Trump's lies may be low-class; however, Trump's hookers are high-class.

The job of the news services is to never lie, ever. They are selling a product defined by truth and the presentation of information with minimum bias. They can't ever recover recover from this. The press secretary is just rubbing that in. His job is to keep the news services in denial of their own predicament.

When I was raised, my father taught me that if you mislead someone, even if what you are telling them is technically true, it is a lie. What is more, this type of lie is insidious, as the liar is often unrepentant and lays the blame on the audiences feet for misunderstanding. But, that type of lie still impacts the trust of your audience, who now has to parse through what you are telling them in the future to try and figure out what the real truth is. The media has gone very far down this path, of bending the truth as much as possible, to tell the narrative that they want to tell. That has had a huge impact on how much people trust what other people say, in general.

The Trump campaign is simply wielding the public's despise for this activity. When CNN runs a still photograph during the middle of the inauguration where the mall is half full, only for us to find out later that the photograph they showed during the ceremony was from hours earlier when people were still filing in, Trump simply responds with a bolder stretch of the truth, relying on streaming viewers to defend his position, and points out the media's hypocrisy when they call him on it.

The strategy from Trump is to respond to narratives or stories where the media bends the truth a little on meaningless small things with a significant, bold contrary statement that bends the truth significantly more in the other direction. My estimation is that this will work to his advantage in the long run, unless the media changes their decade old strategy of sticking to certain narratives, and finding the most convenient facts to support them, rather that providing people with unfiltered news.

TC is all of a sudden making a big deal over a few benign conjectures that really nobody cares about but there's nothing else going on.... whereas the prior administrations more blatant and damaging lies didn't get a peep?

You mean the lies about the WMDs? Those were pretty damaging.

Sure, if TC considered those lies, statements that turned out not to be true are not necessarily lies if we're using actual definitions of words.

The argument centered on chemical weapons, which he did have, along with yellowcake, which he also had. He did not have an active nuke program, but that was downplayed by the administration, and up played by the press.

I agree TMC, but even NONE of it were true, you'd have to argue that they knew it wasn't true and sold it to the U.S. people anyway and that just isn't true, Britain had the same intelligence and so did Congress and many came to the same conclusion who's last name wasn't Bush or Cheney. Very different than claiming a video caused an embassy assault or the many about ACA.

I believe it’s fairly common and there is really not much one can do over it. Life is like that only, it’s vital that we are sensible with things and don’t trust such talks. As a Forex trader, I always prefer to work with keeping things simple and straight forward, as only then making money becomes possible. I do it a lot easier with OctaFX broker thanks to their low spreads starting from 0.1 pips to high leverage up to 1.500 while there is also rebate scheme where I get 50% back on all trades.

Comments for this post are closed