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Anyone who has been paying attention to the political discourse lately knows we have descended into an alternate reality, altogether new territory where the demarcations between truth and lie are increasingly blurred. This is a domain so corrosive, demeaning, exploitative, amoral and destructive, so breathtaking in audacity that we can barely comprehend the wound we are sustaining, let alone determine how to recover.  

Everyone knows what a lie is. And it's pretty safe to say that everyone has told one. From the innocuous fib to the protectivelie to the divinely inspired lie; from the socially graceful deflection to the compassionate distraction. We've heard them all. We've told them all. We do it out of fear. We do it out of concern. We do it for expediency, avoidance, to preserve a larger purpose or on behalf of some greater value.  We may be lying with intent. But, largely, we are not lying to declare conventional reality null and void.

The political lie has been with us as long as politics. It is open to even broader interpretation than the garden-variety social prevarication. Campaign declarations, policy statements and soap-box promises by now have assumed cartoon status as anything you can hang your hat on. I'm not talking about pious platitudes and vague palliatives. I'm talking about twisting truth into something unrecognizable or disregarding it entirely-- you know, lies.

And for many of us who were most recently seduced by Obama's 2008 campaign into once more cranking up our faith, sure, there's an argument that a campaign is a different reality from the realpolitik of the Oval Office. At least that's a handy rationalization for the Obama we have seen since the election. But there are also a few choice promises from that campaign that have since taken on the cliche of lies being flimsy. We are led into secret wars, the evisceration of the 4th Amendment, the creation of the security state, the undermining of the very rule of law itself.

Politics is where the truth gets its most intense workout. If campaigning is an extreme test of linguistic hyper-flexibility, as we are so frequently reminded by George Lakoff(and most recently by Rebecca Solnit), our latest batch of top-of-the-ticket Republican candidates would be fully realized yogis. The bumbling--that is, permitting themselves to be recorded actually saying what they believe--of down-ticket or local right-wing candidates on the issue of abortion alone is testimony to the degree to which obfuscation and dissembling have become a fine art.

When did reality get such a bad name? Recall that the term "reality-based community" has its roots in a quotation from an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, in which he was told by an aide (Karl Rove?) to George W. Bush

"…guys like [you are] "in what we call the reality-based community,...people who believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. ... That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
In the short time since that statement, the amplitude, speed and breadth of political lying (not to mention the investment in it) have taken on startling proportions. The speed with which these deceptions are mouthed combined with the straight-face of the messenger leave us spellbound and gasping.  

The lies now penetrate my chest, piercing into some deep and most intimate sacred cavern where the tapestry of reality itself is meticulously woven by an ancient sage; where the pattern is second nature because it's continuously recreated. The attending confusion, grief and despair is an unfolding disaster, uprooting civic discourse, tangling the social fabric, setting us adrift in the turbulence of having so much to do and no agreements about how to get it done. Now even the most routinely pervasive advertising gimmicks and slogans are subject to question. Who really has the largest 4G network? Who even cares?

The lies now disturb my sleep. They are a malicious political virus, threatening to enter the social DNA, distort the most fundamental contracts we share as Americans on a shared national journey, as people on a shared human journey. Seemingly, living by one's true values requires ever more resolute determination and focus.

Where do such profound and cynical prevarications come from? Desperation, fear, ideologies that rely on symbol more than substance; malign attempts to make sense of the Great Unraveling all around us--and which at the same time contribute to that collapse.

Katrina was no lie. Even so, Katrina was spun so many different ways from Day One that many came out the other side practically thinking it was New Orleans' fault for being in the way. Sandy is no lie. And Sandy cannot be spun. The moment Sandy slammed ashore, colliding with America’s dream-state with gale force, we entered a new reality, one in which the material realities of water, food, power, transportation, energy, even the infrastructure of community can no longer be taken for granted. There are now many new climate refugees within our very own borders. And the numbers will only rise.

It's as if the truth has come down hammer-like, exploding denial, distraction, self-delusion and the political fairy tale that anyone, Karl Rove included, can hope to manufacture reality any more. The day Sandy made landfall was, arguably, the day Mitt Romney's campaign met its doom. This was not the October Surprise he was wishing for. His brand of reality has been rendered irrelevant. It was Dick Cheney who said, "The American way of life is non-negotiable." Unfortunately for him, and anyone else with designs on denying the truth or constructing flimsy fantasies hoping that we will all, zombie-like, fall into line, nature doesn't negotiate. Let's get on with it. No more lies.

Originally posted to wild thang on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wish I could rec this 20 times (10+ / 0-)

    It's as if you wrote from inside my head :)

  •  Amen. No more lies. (11+ / 0-)
    ... the amplitude, speed and breadth of political lying (not to mention the investment in it) have taken on startling proportions. The speed with which these deceptions are mouthed combined with the straight-face of the messenger leave us spellbound and gasping.
    It has been an amazing, mouthgaping, exhausting trip. I will be glad when President Obama wins so that I can finally get a decent night's sleep. If, perchance - horror of horrors - he does not win, we can expect much more of this medacity and even worse from now on because outrageous lying and cheating will be seen as the winning strategy. To think what would become of this country in that case is too terrible to contemplate.

    GOTV like your life depends on it ~ it does. Obama 2012!

    by Orlaine on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 07:05:48 PM PDT

    •  And yet another great lie will gain traction: (4+ / 0-)

      I love this diary.

      I would add that another example of reality versus non-reality can be found on Wall Street and its controllers.

      They believed that they could create their own reality by shuffling money around, creating nothing and passing it off as "truth."

      Until reality came crashing down upon them.  There were still enough realists to point out that the financial emperor had no clothes and it took less than a year to bring it all down.  Its been said before, Bin Laden survived Bush's tenure but Lehman Brothers didn't.

      And we learned a big lesson.  A lesson we can unlearn just as quickly if the Republicans and their Ryan budget.  All it takes is someone telling the country what it wants to believe. . . truth be damned.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

      by 4CasandChlo on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 07:58:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  no chance w/out tackling talk radio (6+ / 0-)

    lies are easy and common, but big lies require the unchallenged coordinated repetition that only the RW radio monopoly offers.

    unfortunately it is almost entirely invisible to the left.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 07:19:37 PM PDT

  •  Huh? Maybe I'm not getting it. (8+ / 0-)

    I expected from your title something along the lines of "The right is now claiming that Mitt will win in a landslide, polls be damned, early voting numbers be damned (and they claim Mitt is ahead in early voting), ground game be damned. How crazy is that, amirite?"

    Instead I get a screed about how Candidate Obama's election promises don't live up to the messy and often less-than-desirable facts on the ground.

    I'm sorry that gets to a most intimate sacred cavern inside your chest. And yes, I am opposed to drone strikes and indefinite detention as much as the next person. But the fact of the matter is that many things I hold dear (including the right to determine what goes on inside my own body and the right to marry the woman of my choosing) hinge on the election of this president. So I'm not in the mood to set up the perfect as the enemy of the good.

    Let's keep in mind who the real enemy of truth is in this election, and it's not Barack Obama.

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~John Watson

    by FriendlyNeighbor on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:34:38 PM PDT

    •  Well said Friendly, thank you.....n/t (2+ / 0-)
    •  I can't rec this diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftreborn, FriendlyNeighbor

      based upon the bullshit paragraph attacking Obama and linking to a blog called "the lonely conservative" as evidence.

    •  you're being hypersensitive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pianogramma, third Party please

      if you see an observation that romney has taken lying to a disturbing level well beyond normal political spin (which also acknowledges along the way that the president wasn't above some spinning of his own) as a slam to the president that needs to be shouted down or suppressed. We can support President Obama while still acknowledging he's had some shortcomings.

      when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

      by bunsk on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:40:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a woman, I LOVE being told I'm hypersensitive. (0+ / 0-)

        That's snark, by the way. But why don't you go on and say more about how I'm feeling?

        You call this "an observation that romney has taken lying to a disturbing level," but I see exactly ONE reference to "top-of-the-ticket Republicans" and ONE reference to Mitt Romney in re. Superstorm Sandy. I'd call that a bit more oblique than the way you're presenting it. And as far as shouting down and suppressing things, I'm just exercising my right to counter the diarist's argument with my own. Are you suggesting I shouldn't do so? Perhaps you're saying it's my argument that should be suppressed?

        As I said, it's possible I'm not getting it.

        Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~John Watson

        by FriendlyNeighbor on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:53:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ok, sorry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it would have sufficed to say it looks as if you're treating a slam on romney as a slam on President Obama and I didn't feel that was the author's intent

          when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

          by bunsk on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 01:25:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We have reached "1984" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, pianogramma

    The Most Ridiculous and Stupid "Beliefs" are now given
    the same treatment as "Facts".

    Ideas Don't need to be "Provable", they Just need
    to be "Believable".

    We need to Bring back the concept of "Fair Use" to
    fight the Patently False Ideas that are being sold to
    the Low-Information Public.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 08:38:35 PM PDT

  •  I can't find the quote I want in Google (0+ / 0-)

    It's a wonderful epigram to the effect that every lie is not only an attack on public discourse, but a kind of suicide in the liar.

  •  karl "the truth" rove (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    "…guys like [you are] "in what we call the reality-based community,...people who believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. ... That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
    I have to laugh at the oozing arrogance. The deluded, "we create our own reality".
    Note to karlita " the turd's blossom", nature has a way of impressing an insufferable force on your type. the type who believes that money is MATH.
    Go to a real school karl, you only "won" by cheating, with the aid of a corrupt us supreme court. For every hyena like rove, there is a realist, who knows the meaning of REALITY.


    by longtimelurker on Fri Nov 02, 2012 at 10:32:38 PM PDT

    •  I have nothing but the deepest loathing and (0+ / 0-)

      contempt for the Pigman, who seems to have been a turd from day one. However, none of us can stop him from doing anything. Even were he in Leavenworth as he so richly deserves, he'd be like TV crime bosses, running their empires while in stir.

      I live in MD (your sympathy is appreciated) and yet ever night, I'm subjected to 10 political ads, virtually all attacks on Obama or VA senate hopeful Tim Kaine. I couldn't vote for Macaca even if I wanted to, yet ad after ad, all about how Kaine is a disaster for VA....and the few Kaine ads either appeal directly to women or else seem weak. I watched 2 hours of TV last night and not a single pro-Obama ad. Where the heck are the counterstrikes? How am I supposed to believe  that Obama and Kaine are going to win when I don't see much of anything from their side?

      •  Because you can read. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ohkwai, foucaultspendulum

        Turn off the hideous television and its lying ads, and read.  Read the websites of Obama and Lying Willard, then read ABOUT them.  Two great articles were written by the Rolling Stone, both about Romney and Obama, and you can read all kinds of stuff from reputable magazines about the candidates and VP candidates.  I do not own a TV, have not seen any commercials, unless one is sent to me via email, that usually is a great commercial for Obama.  If I get one for Romney, I just delete it.  He is one of the biggest liars in recent memory.  We even have his lies on tape, and yet he continues.  We saw the lies of his co-conspirator, Ryan, aka Eddie Munster, at the VP debate.  That story about "bean" was the biggest falsehood ever orated.  Any woman knows that an ultrasound is not given until the fetus is viable, about five months.  He said five weeks and it was a bean.  A bean so small, it would not have been picked up on an ultrasound, but he needed time before he lied about his abortion stance, so he told that story first.  I often wonder how these "religious nuts", who lie and know it is a sin in their religion, make that OK in their heads.  That lie should give them a golden ticket to hell, but since I believe in neither, I think it is just a conscience that would be troubled.  Bottom line:  If you lie to win, you don't deserve the spot you desire.  Romney has been world class at lying, and has been doing it since early days.  That lambasting of him by his Father's close aide was very telling.  To say that Romney was nothing like his Father, and his father would be ashamed of him, and he was voting for Obama said it all.  So shut of the tv and start reading.   And, vote on Tuesday for Obama.  

        "My Momma always taught me to play by the rules, and if you don't that's called cheatin'." - Donna Brazile

        by jjmn on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 07:09:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I can read. Too bad for me: there's no lack (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of drooling mouthbreathers who post to the Washpost, with handles like "libslapper", and who sneer about "Ha ha, stupid libs! Your messiah's going home to Kenya", etc. etc. Home video of Mitt feeding live puppy dogs and kitty cats into a blender wouldn't change their minds. The hate, stupidity, and willful ignorance on display are enough to drive me to despair.

          So when George Allen tells us that Tim Kaine is "Just dead wrong," or another ad links Kaine and Obama (something about a shell game. I have the sound off), and no ad counters it, I tremble and fear exceedingly. Because Ma and Pa Redstate don't read, I'd guess, and believe every last word Rush says.

        •  umm, just as a point of fact (0+ / 0-)

          and certainly not to defend Lyin' Ryan or commercial television, ultrasound can pick up embryos smaller than a bean, and has been capable of doing so for over twenty years. Ultrasound is so good at this, it is used in conjunction with ultrasensitive pregnancy hormone leves (human chorionic gonadotropin) to rule out ectopic pregnancy.

          You are correct that ultrasounds performed for the purpose of ruling out fetal anomalies are not ordinarily performed before 16 to 18 weeks' gestation.

    •  longtimelurker, where you been man/woman? I'd (0+ / 0-)

      rec your comment, it speaks to truth, however, the all caps "TEFLON CANDIDATE" worries me a bit.  

      •  O.K., O.K. I'll un"CAPS" it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if you give me another way to represent the "obvious".
        I am an old infantry soldier, a sextagenarian, whose patience has run out. The continued lunacy of "THAT" side, pisses me off no end.

        Disclaimer, I am of sound mind. I did suffer a stroke in 2010, in an area of my head, and that's as personal as I'm admitting as to why I sometimes transpose, and misspell when writing. No sympathy asked just the facts. I've always been to the point, especially when evil rears its ugly head.

        Thank you fro the rec.


        by longtimelurker on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:57:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  longtime, I send you love and best wishes. I will (0+ / 0-)

          not debase you, or me, by thanking you for your service.   Unfortunately, my family has a long history of military service, none received proper appreciation.  

          Thank you so much for tolerating my insensitive remark.

          •  believe me (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            no offense was taken. To quote bugs, I calls 'em, as I sees 'em. I am a happy person. I just stepped in to let you "guys" know that your service here at KOS and elsewhere is seen and recognized. Recognized  as  the work of THE  American people. Carry on.

            P.S. Thamks alot.

            The teflon candidate, bishop willard mitch romney.

            by longtimelurker on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 03:18:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Where (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, foucaultspendulum

    is Rod Serling when you need him?

    "You're entering another dimension,
    A place of sights and sounds that have
    Different names and meanings to what you're familiar with;
    You're entering . . . The Republican Zone."

    •  Even better (4+ / 0-)
      This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace.


      Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete.

      — "Twilight Zone: The Obsolete Man (1961)

      “Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only for wallowing in.” — Katherine Mansfield

      by Simolean on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 03:08:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the way I deal with these people is to recognize (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simolean, Gorette, vahana

    I am dealing with a cult. The leaders are psychopaths who know the truth but have ulterior motives. The followers who I call the bubble people actually believe the nonsense and have been thoroughly trained to hold contradictory thoughts in their heads at the same time ala 1984.

    What I had to get over was this insane belief that all people believe that character and all that implies matters to these people. It does not. They are what they are and we have to defeat them politically for they really do not live in the real universe. They are disconnected from reality.

    Join the War on Thinking. Watch Fox News- John Lucas

    by Jlukes on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 01:13:22 AM PDT

    •  That makes a hell of a lot of sense! Never thought (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of it like that and it could help! Thanks!

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 08:32:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wanted to share this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This editorial ran in the Spokesman Review today.  
    One of the best I've seen.

  •  i think the real issue is the degree to which (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, vahana, foucaultspendulum

    the truth is bent.  a lie is a lie, to be sure, but some are more egregious than others.  any politician (& her/his consultants) knows this, but the lengths to which a person is willing to go to achieve what they're after that says more than the lie itself.

    at the risk of bringing out the godwin's law finger-waggers, allow me to offer an example: among the more obscene of hitler's lies was the one the nazis spread about jews wanting to institute a genocide against "aryan" germans -- ! -- outrageous, blatant, jaw-dropping (insert adjective of choice here) but it fed people's suspicions & fears, & by the time jewish neighbors started disappearing many saw it as a pro-active measure by the govt to prevent a completely fictional event.  they had been sufficiently convinced -- or were too afraid to speak out against what was happening b/c nazi stormtroopers had a way of quieting any & all critics -- for good.

    romney & ryan are basically doing the same thing: telling obvious, blatant lies over & over -- knowing the public will eventually become immune to them or chalk it up to the cost of doing (political) business -- & with the rw megaphone over at fox noise dominating the public square as it does, they're constantly reminded that the left does it, too! -- even tho the comparison is a strawman argument.  the r's know exactly what they are doing.

    the end justifies the means, in romney's opinion -- which says a lot about how devoid of integrity he really is.

    •  You are right in that analogy--Romney said (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluezen, vahana, foucaultspendulum, a2nite

      recently that if Obama is elected there will be another crisis with Republicans on the debt ceiling. Same kind of thing! And putting the blame on Obama!

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 08:35:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reminds me of my most rec'd diary, with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    most comments as well,  Dec. 2009, during healthcare debate. The senator's strong words could apply now with regard to Romney/Ryan's terrible lies in general and about car jobs being sent to China in particular, the last straw:  Thank you, Sen. Whitehouse:  "The lying time will be over"

      The difference is that we Democrats are fighting for health care, and when we achieve this health care reform, when we do, the lying time is over.

        The American public will see the difference between what they are told and what IS. It is much tougher to propagandize people when they can see the discrepancy.
        There will be a reckoning.

        When the new health plan offers better care, new community health centers, better records, (and so on), Americans will know--- beyond any capacity to spin---that they were lied to.

    He finished with this grand statement. Oh, I love it when they speak the truth, when they say it clearly:
      There will come a day of judgement.

        That, Mr. President, is why they are terrified.

    Yes, some of them are now terrified because they know they are losing and they know it may well be due to the lies of their two top candidates and the public which now knows they were being lied to. They do not want a president whom they cannot trust.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 08:27:26 AM PDT

  •  It would be nice when little gems like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this from the Congressional Research Service weren't suppressed by Republicans because it disproves the bankrupt (and bankrupting!) theory of supply-side economics, as if common sense alone couldn't tell you it was BS. The death-to-reality Republicans are choking our democracy to death while drowning our government in the nearest bathtub.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 10:17:53 AM PDT

  •  Prepare for civil strife (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, FriendlyNeighbor

    Psychopaths always use "the mirror effect", accusing others of what they themselves are guilty of. You can't reason with them but you can make preparations for the inevitable result of their actions.

    These people are out to provoke a civil war and it behooves us to make REALISTIC preparations. Realistic meaning survivalist style preparations.

    Two months minimum of food and water. Firearms and ammo, stockpiles of non perishable items, etc. Those are precautions well worth having for natural disasters as well as the coming tyranny.

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