Trump’s tsunami of lies


Lawrence Douglas, “Why Trump wants to disempower institutions that protect the truth; The US president is attacking the very institutions that are meant to expose lies: universities, the media and the judiciary; Democracy is impossible without them, The Guardian, February 7, 2017 (11:00 GMT).

Joe Scarborough, “Trump’s dangerous lie about Russia,” Washington Post, February 7, 2017 (9:51 PM).

“What Trump has learned from Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, September 10, 2016.

Like Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump spews lies like a firehose. The biggest are massive lies meant as much to shape the landscape where truth itself can be recognized as to persuade the audience of their claims.

The big lies are so blatantly false that if we are distracted into “verifying” or refuting them, we may miss the avalanche of other lies that are hurled at the population in a continuous fashion, all the time.

More importantly, we may miss the bigger story, which is the president’s assault upon the truth.

Every day there are new lies, deployed to weave the fabric of an alternative universe in which at the end of the day there appears to be no truth, or many truths comprised of “alternative facts”, or a truth so smudged by alternative truths that no one can recognize it as the one authentic truth.

We need to see Trump’s lies for what they are, assaults upon the very concept of truth itself, where any formulation or description of real facts can be dismissed by the Leader with the wave of a hand.

At first we don’t know what to think, and then the mass of swirling lies becomes so all-pervasive that the only way we can make sense of a frightening and utterly confusing reality, where truth has lost its moorings in real and observable facts, is to accept the narrative and version of reality which the Leader puts forth, together with his propaganda apparatus, everywhere, incessantly.

Newspapers like the Washington Post which are afraid ro call a big lie a big lie, e,g., diffidently referring to Trump’s blatant big lie about the murder rate being higher than its ever been in 45 or 47 years, as “a false statement”,
only play into the hands of the Leader.

Such formulations reflect very fine rules of fairness, while the Leader declares the sun is square, and then adamantly and repeatedly asserts that it is square, until people start to wonder, “Can the sun be considered, at least in some respects, or viewed from a certain angle, as square?”

We need to see Trump’s lies for what they are, as misrepresentations of facts intended to deceive, and not merely as “false statements”.  The latter formulation could lead the reader to surmise it was simply an inadvertent false statement, or a careless one, when the statement is in fact “material” and would constitute perjury, a felony, if it were made in a court of law.

See Tom Jackman, “Trump makes false statement about U.S. murder rate to sheriffs’ group,” Washington Post, February 7, 2017 (1:25 p.m. EST).

Trump, like Putin, Milosovic, and Soviet and German leaders before them, wears us down with his lies. He, like the others, wears us out with his lies, which are too blatant and numerous to refute.

What we are left with is a tsunami of lies, whose tidal wave and swirling black waters sweep all before them, uprooting a building here or an independent press or judiciary there. All obstacles and objections are swept away in the tsunami’s waters, which cannot be held back.

It happened under Milosovic in Serbia. It has happened under Putin in Russia, And it could be happening in America under Trump, now.

This great democracy, America, with its proud 240-year trajectory, deserves a president who respects the truth, and who speaks the truth.

Stop lying, Mr. Trump.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.