Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Truth and Consequences

On Monday FBI Director James Comey became the latest official to deny there is any truth to the Homemade Hitler's wiretapping accusation.   That the Dictator Apprentice is a liar is not exactly news.  But now it's official.  One consequence is succinctly summarized by David Leonhardt in the New York Times:

"When Donald Trump says something happened, it should not change anyone’s estimation of whether the event actually happened. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. His claim doesn’t change the odds."

It's also now well accepted that, apart from pathology, the Big Lies as well as all the little lies are part of the authoritarian playbook, which is why they are never withdrawn even when contradicted.  As Paul Krugman wrote: "This administration operates under the doctrine of Trumpal infallibility: Nothing the president says is wrong, whether it’s his false claim that he won the popular vote or his assertion that the historically low murder rate is at a record high. No error is ever admitted. And there is never anything to apologize for."

Krugman sees this also as part of a trend for politicians and others: right wing economists, for instance, who continually predicted dire consequences to everything President Obama did, and never admitted that these disasters did not come to pass.

There's a political psychology to this, which is that the important thing is to keep repeating the lie, and alot of people are going to believe it's true--or why else would people keep repeating it?  Even the people who repeat it in order to say it is a lie, add to the cumulative effect.

Nevertheless, there are two things going on here.  First, the current Republican regime is fumbling and floundering.  Courts have twice blocked its xenophobic travel bans, though Homemade Hitler's immigration and travel police are creating chaos for no real reason.  The FBI is actively investigating unlawful ties to Russia, and so on.  If the heathcare bill that the Rs are rushing to vote on doesn't even get out of the House, that's a thundering defeat.

Second, White House credibility is being shredded.

What will be the result?  The weaker this regime gets, the more likely it will attempt large scale military action, either war against another country or as response to a terrorist incident.

But what happens if nobody believes them?  Then we're in uncharted territory.  

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