When A Liar Admits He Lied…

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A fair and important question:

When a liar admits he lied, should you believe him?

Yes, this post is triggered by yesterday’s revelation by Donald J. Trump, Jr. He released “the entire email chain of my emails” that relate to a meeting between a Russian attorney and key members of the Trump campaign team.

The pundits and press and politicians are aghast … of course.

But here’s the question I want an answer to: was Trump Jr. lying when he denied having a meeting or is he lying now when he claims he did have a meeting?

Consider this:

  • Trump, Sr., has tried to discredit the press (and other truth-tellers), using terms like “fake news”, “failing”, “dishonest” and “enemy of the people”.
  • The press has revealed one discovery after another of interactions between the Trump campaign team members and various Russians.
  • Trump, Sr., Fox News, many Republican officials, and Trump’s supporters dismiss the Trump-Russia allegations as “fake news”, “obsessions”, and “a nothing-burger”.

If you were Trump, Sr., how would you discredit all of your critics? How would you prove that the press is lying? Here’s what I would do: Continue reading

Can You Lie About The Future?

Can you lie about future events? Here’s a comparison of two statements, both cast as “lies”:
OBAMA: “no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan.” (June 15, 2009)
TRUMP: “There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down.” (November 21, 2015)
img_1755In my judgement, Obama was wrong but Trump lied.
What makes the difference? The difference is that Obama was making a statement about a FUTURE event.
In June 2009, the health care plan was nowhere close to being decided. The Tea Party rose up a few months after this statement, Congress was battling over small and large changes, and everything was uncertain. So what was Obama talking about? He was talking about what he was trying to put into place — it was a statement about what the future would be IF Congress passed Obama’s plan. They didn’t. For these reasons, PolitiFact rated it “half-true” because it was a statement about the future.

Continue reading