There is supposed to be a penalty for lying.
If there is no penalty for relentless and unabashed lying in politics, then democracy is at risk, all of society is at risk.
Listening to Donald Trump is bizarre.
Nearly everything he says about himself is exaggerated, misleading, false, or some scrambled combination of the three.
Some of the problems he has pointed to are real problems. In the cases where that’s true, his description of the causes is usually wrong, and his solutions will make things worse. Dealing with that is exhausting.
You have to take his statements, rambles, and tweets apart, phrase by phrase. Then fact-check him word by word. That means you have to have sources that are truly reliable, accessible, and quick to search – a rather difficult feat.
But it doesn’t end there. Examining Trump’s statements needs more than just an immense amount of time and effort. It needs a magic stopwatch that makes time stand still. Because while you are fact-checking, he keeps talking, adding more deceptions and, what is worse, that original nonsense that you are trying to debunk is travelling around in various conscious and unconscious ways.
This latest business about the phone call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, is a perfect example.
On September 24, Trump tweeted that he had “authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine.”
It was not a transcript. Right on top, it said “memorandum of telephone conversation” and on the bottom, there was a note saying: “CAUTION: … not a verbatim transcript”. It was not complete. Not even close.
Yet, in public, it is routinely referred to with Trump’s word, “transcript”.