Mon, May

How to Recognize an Interactive Liar


THE COHEN COLUMN-Did you ever wonder why Trump thinks he can get away with constantly changing his story, at the extreme peril of exposing the untruth of what he said a month or a even just a day before?

I have already predicted that Trump is going down. How quickly that will happen, and all our lives depend on the speed of that, is a critical function of how many of you speak out and demonstrate that
you are speaking out.

OK, it's not just that Trump lies about everything; it's that his lies are constantly shifting, constantly contradicting each other.

Consider this direct recent quote, his response  to a question from a FOX News talking head about what was behind his threatening tweet suggesting there might exist "tapes" to embarrass Comey, so Comey better keep his mouth shut.

"All I want is for Comey to be honest, and I hope he will be, and I'm sure he will be, I hope." 

Did everyone pick up on what just happened here?

Does Trump hope that Comey will be honest, or is he sure that Comey will be honest? Or is he just hoping? Which is it, actually?

The correct and chillingly accurate answer is: neither.

What Trump is, is an interactive liar. In classic con man style he is constantly calibrating, and recalibrating his lies in the moment to his audience of the moment, based on his calculation of what they are most likely to buy. 

He watches your eyes, gauges your reaction, and adjusts, which is to say he lies over and again. The instant you stop buying it he will say something completely different. Just as he likely always did in his business negotiations. How is having a businessman as President working out, America?

What the quote above demonstrates most clearly is that he dynamically "tests" lies, trying to find the optimum and most effective lie for the particular audience in real time.

It had been observed that there was a lot of improvisation in Trump's campaign speeches, "riffing" some called it. But what he primarily improvises is a false reality.

It has to be true…doesn't it? Didn't we just hear the crowd roar?

This is why his campaign promises were all immediately worthless on the spot, as worthless as a diploma from Trump University. It was never about anything else but making a sale in the moment, assuming there ever was a specific promise you could pin down, even in the moment.

Trump is a performance liar. The memory hole is the next instant away. It is 1984 on speed dial.

I never said what you remember, he constantly claims. Even if he just said it, you heard him wrong, the situation has changed, whatever. All videotape and audio recorded evidence to the contrary he calls "fake news." We believe he actually considers lying a form of entertainment.

is motto should be: “Why tell the truth when a lie would do just as well?”

He will pile on phony and insincere compliments, only to call you the world's worst, most stupid, loser, bad person in the next breath, the instant you don't bend to his will. This is what he did to former FBI Director James Comey in particular, back and forth, back and forth. First, Comey is courageous, then he is a disgrace, then he is courageous again, then a disgrace again, an endless cycle, rinse and repeat, ad nauseam. And in the end he will condemn you for the very thing he praised you for earlier -- as Comey himself has so rudely just discovered.

“If the G.O.P.’s surrender to candidate Trump made exhortations about Republicans’ duty to their country seem like so much pointless verbiage, now President Trump has managed to make exhortation seem unavoidable again.

He has done so, if several days’ worth of entirely credible leaks and revelations are to be believed, by demonstrating in a particularly egregious fashion why the question of “fitness” matters in the first place

The presidency is not just another office. It has become, for good and bad reasons, a seat of semi-monarchical political power, a fixed place on which unimaginable pressures are daily brought to bear. It is the final stopping point for decisions that can lead very swiftly to life or death for people the world over.”

Those who voted against him recognized, or at least suspected, all of this already.

Those who did vote for him must hear these words, and let us pray, for all of our sakes, while there is still time for them to save themselves, that these people are still capable of discerning truth. Or as one former Apprentice contestant said, “…these shows are constructed. They don't happen, nor do they portray actual reality. They are constructed reality." Just like Trump.

“Read the things that these people, members of his inner circle, his personally selected appointees, say daily through anonymous quotations to the press. (And I assure you they say worse off the record.) They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpitate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.

It is not squishy New York Times conservatives who regard the president as a child, an intellectual void, a hopeless case, a threat to national security; it is people who are self-selected loyalists, who supported him in the campaign, who daily go to work for him. All this, in the fourth month of his administration.”

Forward this message to everyone else you know.
But first, food for thought from some Facebook friends. 

1) “Donald Trump should start every morning with a tweet about what he is doing that day to help working-class Americans,” said Republican strategist Alex Conant. “Instead, his morning tweets make it clear how much the Russia story is distracting him and his White House.” 

(2) In your opinion, is Trump largely to blame for the matters that have distracted us from the issues, or is it mainly someone else's fault. As I have thought about this, Trump was supposed to be this tough businessman. But his constant whining about how people are saying bad things about him, and blaming others (the fake news media, etc.), isn't the way tough guys should be acting. Whenever a problem arises, you deal with it like a grown up, and not like the younger child who complains that his older siblings are picking on him.


(Michael N. Cohen is a former board member of the Reseda Neighborhood Council, founding member of the LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee, founding member of LA Clean Sweep and occasional contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.


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