Monday, July 09, 2018

Lie Of The Day (July 5, 2018, July 9, 2018)

Labeling Trump's rallies a "conundrum," Will Bunch surveys responses to one of his tweets and concludes

The consensus feedback here seems right on the money. 1) Don't air unfiltered propaganda on live TV 2) Fact-check the hell out his lies (he's been average about 30 a rally) afterwards.

That is probably an exaggeration because much of what Trump says, though almost all of it dishonest, is merely distorted or dishonest. Further, a great deal of it is demagoguery, some of it intended to provoke violence, which merely takes on the appearance of a lie.

A prime example of the latter is the President's remark at his rally in Montana on Thursday evening, when he remarked "They are so dishonest. Fake news. They're fake news media."  To Chris Cillizza, who identified the eleven "most dangerous lines" of the rally, "one might think that in the wake of such violence committed against reporters, the President of the United States might be more mindful of savaging the media to a crowd of his supporters. "

That is probably not technically a lie, being instead an effort to destroy the credibility of the free press, as well as to provoke a violent reaction by his supporters, which then can be used to chip away at constitutional freedoms. We've seen this playbook before, though with a different target.

But Trump cannot avoid constant lying, not because of a psychological or mental aberration, but because his knows his acolytes will believe anything he says and, as Bunch implied, the news media is insufficiently prone to "fact-check the hell out of his lies."

And so, as Cillizza pointed out, Trump in Montana claimed "But we signed a wonderful paper saying they're going to denuclearize their whole thing. It's going to all happen."

"It's all going to happen" is a prediction which the President may believe. However, he does not believe "we signed a wonderful paper saying they're going to denuclearize their whole thing."

The agreement may have been transcribed on the heaviest, whitest, hence most desirable and "wonderful" paper. Nevertheless, it did not say the North Koreans are "going to denuclearize their whole thing."

We might have known that upon learning from satellite images that Pyongyang is completing construction of a "key ballistic missile manufacturing site" whose "one function" is "pumping out parts for their missile program."

A few days earlier, we had read that North Korean officials "are exploring ways to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles, and the types and numbers of facilities they have."

But this intelligence wasn't necessary to determine that President Trump was flat-out lying upon claiming the North Koreans "signed a wonderful paper saying they're going to denuclearize their whole thing."

The joint statement issued by the two leaders following completion of their summit on June 12, 2018 (local time) included four points. Three of them did not directly pertain to denuclearization. The other, #3, was "reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

You may have noticed the distinction between "commits to work toward" and "going to." Donald Trump, with an IQ exceeding 60, certainly did.

And he continues to understand even as today, June 9, he has tweeted

He has again lied, claiming  "we agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea." He will not admit failure, incomplete success, or even progress in working toward a goal. He will not admit to being less than the best, the smartest and above all, the strongest, thus demonstrating he is the weakest of them all.  He remains as Bill Maher has described (at 2:32) him:

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