09.17.2016 09:06 AM

The truth behind a lie

The why of Trump’s birther lie is easy: it was a perfect vehicle for an insidious racist appeal – it was Trump extending a greasy tentacle to old white bigots, the ones who could not believe, still, that a black man was President of the United States. 

The how Trump did it is more elusive. I think the key is one short paragraph, in a longer New York Times piece from this morning. 

What he could do — and what he did do — was talk about it, uninhibitedly, on social media, where dark rumors flourish in 140-character bursts and, inevitably, find a home with those who have no need for facts and whose suspicions can never be allayed. 

And he mused about it on television, where bright lights and sparse editing ensure that millions can hear falsehoods unchallenged by fact-checking. 

Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” Mr. Trump asked on ABC’s “The View.” “I want to see his birth certificate,” he told Fox News’s “On the Record.”  

And so it went. 

Andrew Coyne tries to assign blame for Trump’s rise in an important column this morning, seen here. He’s right about all of it, pretty much. 

But Andrew’s a moralist, in his essence, and he therefore doesn’t want to give credit where credit is due – and Donald Trump deserves most of the credit. Trump understands TV better than most journalists (and certainly his opponents) do. He understands, as I say all the time, that TV is about pictures. TV is about emotion and not information. 

Does this mean I’m worried (and, PS, I’m not dead either)? Yes, a bit. I’ve always felt the TV debates were all upside for Trump, and all downside for Clinton. She needed to be going into them with a healthy lead. 

The healthy lead is gone. And she is about to face off with a loathsome liar and a racist, true – but he is a liar and a racist who understands TV better than she ever will. 

Start praying. The entire world will be engulfed in an end-times war within a year of this piece of shit winning. And that’s the truth, too. 


  1. dave constable says:

    I partly disagree about the war scare.
    I figure our two big problems are nuclear conflict and climate change. I figure a Clinton regime would hurt us on both those issues.
    A Clinton regime would continue the squeeze on Russia on Russia’s western borders, in the Black Sea, and economically. Russia, or any nation state, that is cornered, will react. As well, the ‘pivot to Asia’ y USA of a military build up there, with warplanes and war ships prodding China would continue, including the implementation of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is aimed at excluding China from Pacific trade. The USA/West response to China’s business advances in China will continue to be by military bases and military ‘partnerships.’ Communities, families and individuals will continue to be murdered from Pakistan to Sudan by those president authorized drone strikes. And we will continue to not only go along, but to join in.
    Also, a Clinton regime is tied to the Wall Street crowd whose main interest is in opposing doing anything about climate change…other, perhaps, than bailing out the insurance industry.
    The upside of a Clinton regime might be in Supreme Court nominations.

    A Trump regime? I don’t know what to expect. The fellow fancies himself a deal maker. It’s possible that he would, in foreign affairs, try to make deals. He might be the fellow who makes deals with China, Russia, Middle East (38 billion in weaponry…are you kidding?), Iran, and even North Korea. He might even look at the cost benefits of USA’s continued overseas military expenditures.
    If he looks at cost benefits of dealing with climate change, we might see some useful shifts there.
    A downside would be the Supreme Court…but I have a hard time seeing his kids let him mess that up too much for women in USA.

    So, I disagree in that I am certain Clinton is a war threat, while Trump is merely an unknown.

    Let Johnson and Stein in those debates ,especially Stein…let Baraka have an audience….at least allow another point of view be heard, instead of two 70 year olds trying to out rant each other.

  2. cynical says:

    In a book I read, the a military officer spoke about “getting inside the enemy’s decision cycle”, which in my understanding is adopting a strategy where you make your new move while your opposition is still responding to your old move.
    Trump has been like that. He tells egregious lies or says outrageous things, and while the press and the Democrats are busy commenting, responding and rebutting, he delivers a new package of crap.
    He’s raised the noise level to the point where there simply is not enough energy left to respond. Most of what he says falls into the category of “he’s not right: he’s not even wrong” where there’s no rational counter-argument.

    As Mr.Coyne points out, there’s more than enough blame to go around.

  3. Eric Weiss says:

    The post convention bump Clinton enjoyed was longer than I thought it would last, mainly due to Trumps diarrhea of the mouth, but the gap is closing dangerously quickly. I’ve always thought that the Dems were underestimating Trumps populism at their peril. And the seemingly dismissive attitude of the Dems and their media partners of Trump supporters and their concerns is biting them in the ass.

    There’s huge groups of middle America that are hurting economically, who see their local plants shut down and their jobs get sent over seas. They see the American Dream being taken away from themselves and their families. They’re scared. They perceive government as ignoring them. Democrats used to care about these people. Now they call them deplorable.

    Trump says he cares. Says he’s going to bring those former middle class manufacturing jobs back. He’s tapped into that resentment and it’s working. True that he’s tapped into that by and large by blaming foreigners and illegal immigrants, but I don’t believe the majority of his followers are racist. They just want to hear a message of “America first”. That someone cares about them. I don’t believe for an instant that he actually does, but I don’t believe him any more than Clinton.

    Maybe the left in America needs to turn down the pompous, condescending attitude and actually listen. I voted for the Cretien Liberals their first term. When the Reform Party was founded, and Sheila Copps et al came out and started calling them racists, bigots and comparing them to neo-Nazis, i was digusted. I knew a lot of Reform supporters. They were my friends, family and neighbours. It wasn’t fair of the Liberals then, it’s not fair of the Dems now. I haven’t voted LPC since.

    • ian turnbull says:

      Eric, Thank you. I was just about to write the same. I would also add that Clinton is the worst candidate the Democrats could have put forward against Trump. She oozes establishment and everything the people supporting Trump despise. The democrats could have put a shoe forward as their nominee and it would have a better chance at beating Trump.

  4. ottlib says:

    This was always going to be a close race. They are two people not well liked by the electorate and the pattern of US presidential elections for the past half century is the two big candidates going into election day only a couple of points apart. Her big lead and Donald Trump’s stupidity, in August, made alot of people forget that. The difference is going to be the ground game in my opinion and in that situation I believe Ms. Clinton has the advantage. Oh yes, we cannot discount the fact she is a woman. I think enough woman in the US will realize the historical opportunity that they have here, that it may not come around again for quite awhile, and they will come out in droves on election day to make history. African Americans did it twice for Obama so do not be surprised when women do it for Clinton.

    As well, the real election has not really got off the ground yet. Like Canada, the US elections really do not take off until about a month before election day. In October when things start to become more real Ms. Clinton will likely open up a lead of 3-4 points.

    Finally, the last sentence of your post is the reason why he will not win. Contrary to the general belief of Canadians, Americans are neither crazy or stupid. Between now and November 8 enough of them are going to realize that Mr. Trump is not presidential material. It is true that an inordinate number of them will vote for him,which will create a cottage industry amoungst sociologies and other social scientists to try to explain why, but in the end it will not be enough to put him in the White House.

  5. Michael Bluth says:

    The key at this point is that Trump is better on television.

    It was four weeks ago yesterday that Trump re-booted his campaign. Canned Paul Manafort and hired Kellyanne Conway.

    Since then Trump has stayed on script and stuck to his messaging. No major self-inflicted wounds. That has lead to the spotlight being focused on Hillary. Her collapse on 9/11 was incredibly bad timing for her. The cover up of her collapse was worse.

    The race has tightened as a result of both Trump’s new found discipline and Hillary’s continued dishonesty.

    HIllary’s entire campaign has been predicated on calling Trump a racist/liar/bigot/sexist. That messaging activates the Democratic base she appeals to and no one else.

    People want to vote for something. Bernie gave people something to vote for. Trump gives a different group of people something to vote for. All Hillary is giving people is something to vote against.

    Margaret Wente, in an unimportant column today, inadvertently sums up the biggest problem with biggest problem with Hillary’s campaign. Per Wente there is hope for Hillary because “Judging by his past, (Trump) may well go off the rails again.”

    If your biggest hope for success in a campaign is the other guy screwing up … well that doesn’t seem like much of a successful strategy.

  6. Dan Calda says:

    Well said…
    But with the farce that is the electoral college…I am not sure how relevant national polls are. Maybe I am wrong.
    I still don’t think Trump has a hope in hell.

  7. bluegreenblogger says:

    Well. I read the Coyne opinion this morning too. It was kind of depressing, until I thought of the silver lining. Trump is still quite likely to lose to Clinton. When that happens, I expect there will be fireworks in the Republican Party. Actually, the fireworks have already started, in a subdued way, with worthies like Colin Powell being heard. You know, people who have the best interests of America at heart, and in the past thought the Republican Party best reflected their views. They will be people much like you or me who will NOT hang about a racist Party simply to lap from the well when in power. Will they ‘cross the aisle’, or will they start their own Party? Will the Tea-Party -Trump team go their own way? Likely, as the Congressional caucus is still Republican. I do not think they will live in the same tent, so maybe the split of the Republicans can shake things up enough to effect real changes. The US has finally found a ‘third Party’ that has some legs. Question is, will their ‘second party’ survive the challenge? Lol, mebbe I jump the gun. Lets see if the Democrats survive Trump first.

    • MikeTO says:

      Over the foreseeable future, ALL parties will be racist – with the only difference being which race’s interests they support. The Democrats are already a Brown/Black racist party – garnishing +90% and +%70 of those group’s votes, and the Republicans are a White racist party.
      PS, my opinion is based on how electoral politics have gone in “multicultural” areas since the dawn of time.

  8. godot10 says:

    It was Al Gore who dug up Willie Horton, NOT Lee Atwater. It was Hillary Clinton and her campaign who mothered the birther movement in 2007. This does NOTexcuse what Trump has done, but Trump just does in plain sight what so-called progressive elites like the Clintons and Gores do covertly.

    60 MInute, Hillary Clinton….”Obama is NOT a muslim, AS FAR AS I KNOW.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHFREDHB-nQ

    The Guardian. “Clinton aides claim Obama photo wasn’t intended as a smear” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/25/barackobama.hillaryclinton

    //Barack Obama’s campaign team today accused Hillary Clinton’s beleaguered staff of mounting a desperate dirty tricks operation by circulating a picture of him in African dress, feeding into false claims on US websites that he is a Muslim. Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, described it as “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election”. Obama has had to spend much of the campaign stressing he is a Christian not a Muslim and did not study at a madrassa.//

    The Atlantic: Mark Penn (Clinton’s 2008 Campaign Manager) Strategy Memo from March 2007 #FromTheHorsesMouth http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2008/08/penn-strategy-memo-march-19-2008/37952/
    //More than anything else, this memo captures the full essence of Mark Penn’s campaign strategy–its brilliance and its breathtaking attacks. Penn identified with impressive specificity the very coalition of women and blue-collar workers that Clinton ended up winning a year later. But he also called Obama “unelectable except perhaps against Attila the Hun,” and wrote, “I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.” Penn proposed targeting Obama’s “lack of American roots.”//

    James Asher ( is the Washington Editor for Injustice Watch, an investigative non-profit. He is the former Washington Bureau Chief for the McClatchy Co.)
    //#CNN says #Hillary team in 2008 never raised #Obama’s birth in #Kenya. Who is closer to #HRC than #SidBlumenthal, who told me face-to-face.//

    The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/8478044/Birther-row-began-with-Hillary-Clinton-supporters.html
    //It was not until April 2008, at the height of the intensely bitter Democratic presidential primary process, that the touch paper was properly lit.
    An anonymous email circulated by supporters of Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama’s main rival for the party’s nomination, thrust a new allegation into the national spotlight — that he had not been born in Hawaii.//

    And let us not forget millions of the young black men (Hillary’s “superpredators”) and Bill’s criminal justice “reforms” filled up the US private prison system with in the nineties. The Clintons have a track record of courting the bigot vote when it was politically convenient.

    Both sides in this campaign are guilty as hell.

  9. Lance says:

    Depressing, eh? Trump’s momentum shift is coming at a perfect time for him. I don’t know how people are going to come to terms with this actually happeneing.

    This is what happens when the status quo media turns a presidential election into a referendum regarding the media’s ability to shape public opinion. Trump organizes a presser ostensibly to talk about his birther views, and he brings out a horde of retired military brass and veterans instead. The MSM got punked by Reump again, they know it, but they do nothing. They wait for next morsel.

  10. james elder says:

    “the basket of deplorables” quote was out of context. she had been talking about the disenfranchised moments before. this is why Trump is winning. he can say anything he wants just like O’leary up here and get away with it. I don’t see how you can fight back after the fact once the lie is out because that’s what lizard brains hear and retain and Trump has a master lizard brain and Hillary not so much. Doesn’t look good.

  11. Shawn says:

    Who started the birther issue in 2008?

    The Neocons are rushing over to Hillary’s side because as we all know the Neocons are all for peace ya know.

    Hillary Clinton: A Threat to All Humanity.

    The only way the entire world will be engulfed as you described with the Donald in office will be by false flag. And that’s the truth, too.

  12. Jon Evan says:

    No need to become unhinged! Read Black’s column in the National Post to put things in perspective.

  13. james elder says:

    I’ve said it before. this is a country that voted around 46 percent for McCain Palin so why are any of you surprised at the logical extension of Trump. Past was really prologue here. Things are gonna get interesting and very soon.

  14. Kelly says:

    Who knew? The mark of the Beast isn’t 666, after all; it’s bad hair and a spray tan.

  15. dave constable says:

    In the predictions that count, Paddy Power has Clinton at 4/7; Trump at 6/4; Johnson at 100/1; and stein at 500/1.

    (Trump’s odds can be called 3/2 for you Toronto people – who need smaller numbers.)

    • dave constable says:

      On a related note, polls for the Duma elections on Sunday: United Russia (Medvedev) is 44%, Communist (Zyuganov) is 8%; Liberal Democrats (Zhirinovsky – if you like Trump, yu would love this guy) is at 4%; Fair Russia is at 1%. They have proportional rep so there will be an opposition. There are other parties, but they poll very low so far.

  16. Steve T says:

    We are such a shallow and short-attention-span society. We want our information fed to us like pablum, so we don’t have to exercise our little brains too much. “Facts” on the internet are given equal weighting to actual verified facts. That’s how the anti-vaccine crowd gets traction, as well as even more mainstream “anti” movements that have little basis in fact (such as anti-GMO). Heck, Naomi Klein owes virtually her entire career to half-truths and hyperbole.

    We need to stop doing this. We need to demand (and respect) scientific evidence for claims. We need to stop avoiding challenges to outright lies (like the birther claims), under the pretense of “balance”. Until this happens, we will continue to see the rise of the Media Politician.

  17. Peter says:

    And if the end-times war doesn’t get us, a furious biosphere will.

    I don’t know what her best strategy is, but it seems atcheting up the scary doomsday rhetoric isn’t working.

  18. P. Brenn says:

    average voter in US just fed up …so so many disenfranchised , health care , pensions , jobs , climate , drugs, education system hurting in many places, greed at bansk , greed at corporate level ..Trump cant solve most of this any better than Clinton or Obama did ..but many figure what do they have to lose

  19. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Remember when Putin told the European Commission’s Juncker that he could take Ukraine in three weeks, if I want to? Well, he wants to whether Clinton or Trump is in office. He underestimates Hillary’s backbone and overestimates Donald’s thorough lack of one. Et voilà.

    Hillary must win the debates. But is it already too little too late? I think so. If Clinton has her own October surprise and it’s Trump’s taxes, things are looking up. If not, IMHO, she will lose both the popular vote and even the Electoral College. Far too many states are already in play. Advantage Trump.

    • Michael Bluth says:

      Agreed on advantage Trump. If Hillary ‘must’ win the debates than all is lost.

      Focus on her use of language and specific wording. It just comes across as inauthentic and forced.

      Trump’s taxes are a black hole. Sure there are probably some minor things that could hurt him, but he has been pretty teflon so far. Doubtful there is anything truly incriminating in the tax returns. He probably chose not to release them because if released they would be the story for three or four days. There would be so much involved for a man with his income it would just muddy the waters.

      I don’t see Conway allowing that to happen.

  20. Maps Onburt says:

    You progs just don’t get it… All your doom and gloom is being IGNORED by more and more Americans every day. The more strident you get, the more they turn you off. End of times war… with whom? The US spends more than the next 26 countries (most of whom are allies) put together. Trump has never had any passion for a massive ground war. If anyone is likely to commit troops, it’s Hillary (although as history proved, she’s just as likely to NOT commit them when they could have saved lives but not her political skin).

    Hillary’s slogan is Stronger Together while she slanders nearly half the American voting population by calling them “racists, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it”. Trump’s slogan is “Make America Great Again” while he runs around promoting his 5 part plan to do just that. He’s been dropping Education Plans, Economy Plans, Foreign Plans, and from Hillary… cough.

    I’ve said it a hundred times… pissing all over your opposition doesn’t win you votes… it might water down some of the opposition and maybe keep some of them from showing up on voting day but American’s are becoming numb to it… especially with over the top comments like Warren’s about end of times wars. Nobody believes any of them are any good but at least Trump is promising to make things better and he can’t be tied to the politicians who have made a total hack of the last 20 years. More and more Americans are saying… WTF… I’ll vote for the loudmouth – he certainly can’t be any worse! I’ve been saying it since Trump got the nomination, he might be a turkey but Hillary is toast.

    • Maps Onburt says:

      Her half drugged out, half asleeep response last night at 11pm to the “bombing” and then not thirty seconds later she castigates Trump for calling it a “bomb” should help seal the deal for her. If two bombs in New York City don’t wake her the fuck up, I don’t know what would. Trumps a turkey but Hillary’s toast.

    • doconnor says:

      I’m not worried about a massive ground war, but I expect he will decide pretty quickly that is the best way to get rid of ISIS. I’m more worried about him carpet bombing places that personally offend him. The US doesn’t have to lose the war for millions to die.

      Clinton only called 20% of voters that (50% of the 40% of voters that support him).

      When the Nazis when running for officr they didn’t expect to cause a world war or try to exterminate a race, but it was foreseeable possibility. It is foreseeable for Trump, too. Risking that again is madness.

      • Maps Onburt says:

        The US President has to go to congress to declare a war (unless like another progressive hero he decides to not declare a war and does the whole think illegally – Johnson with Vietnam – and they’ve closed up those loopholes since then)… so the likelihood of the US carpet bombing millions of civiilians are between zero and nil. That would be a war crime and US troops are professional soldiers. You insult American’s with this nonsense. Trump is a turkey but he’s no NAZI and you progs don’t do yourselves any favors when you make these kinds of ridiculous comparisons.

        • doconnor says:

          I don’t have a lot of faith in Congress or the military to stop Trump from carpet bombing, when he’ll have 40% of the country wound up in hate. They didn’t stop Vietnam or Iraq. We’ll be luckly if they can ensure that the following presidential election happens and its results respected.

  21. Bruce Arthur says:

    “Do we blame the voters, for not doing their homework, exercising judgment, or just basically paying attention?”


    Of course it’s the voters fault. Is that what he means?

    Small wonder Big Media is in Big Trouble with it’s Big Attitude.

    American politics is a game show and it’s all about money. But it’s the voters fault?


  22. Ron says:

    I’m hoping the American electorate isn’t quite that stupid. Yet.

    Maybe they will elect Trump, but with a Democrat House and Senate.

    That would be fun to watch.

  23. Kevin says:

    Ronald mentions “October surprise”. I hope so. I hope she’s kept some of her powder dry because things are quickly becoming too scary. WK, you always say TV is about pictures and I think you’re right. Turn off the sound and watch Hilary being helped away from the 9/11 memorial ceremony. Not a good visual at all.

  24. Pat says:

    My friend, it looks like you may have been mistaken about an October Surprise. It’s looking a lot more like a series of surprises. And sadly we’re not even in October yet. I’ve never been more worried about an election outcome than this one.

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