Tag: Liars

Call Them What They Are: Liars


For a very long time, members of the GOP have complained about the bias of the mainstream media. As that bias has increased in frequency and hyperbole, Republicans just complain more. But nothing changes. Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, has shown how to push back against the media, powerfully and truthfully. He has made it very clear that he’s not going to take it anymore.

Recently, Andrea Mitchell lied, saying that DeSantis had decided that the story of slavery should not be taught in Florida schools. DeSantis’ press secretary responded to her accusation:

Quote of the Day: On Self-Deception


“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than any one. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn’t it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill—he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

So speaks Zosima, the clear-eyed realist, lover of life, Russian Orthodox Elder, and moral center of Dostoevsky’s last novel, to Fyodor Pavlovitch, the drunken, clownish, deceitful patriarch of the Karamazov family.  Of course, Zosima’s advice falls on deaf, or at the very least, unreceptive ears, as such advice usually does. (I think, generally, advice like this is most heeded only where it’s least needed.)

I do believe that there are very few times when it’s permissible to lie to others without doing injury to one’s soul: In response to the “does this dress make my butt look fat?” sorts of questions, or perhaps a small lie that allows a person almost at the end of his life to pass along more peacefully than he otherwise might.  I could be wrong about that, but it’s what I think.

Pants-on-Fire NBC Walks Back Fake News Completely


Well, here we go again. The MSM, so anxious every day to dig up dirt on Trump that they no longer bother with reliable sources, have had to completely back down from a completely Fake News story. It looked like a bombshell, but again, it was “two sources briefed on the evidence” that “included” a certain word:

NBC News dropped what the network hyped as a “potential bombshell” last week. “Manafort Notes From Russian Meet Contain Cryptic Reference to ‘Donations’” the original headline read. The story claimed that Manafort’s notes from the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with White House aide Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer included the word “donations” near a reference to the Republican National Committee.

What the Piketty Errors Mean


PikettyRemember the Reinhart/Rogoff spreadsheet error? In the event that you do not, here is a summary. Those who follow debates between economists will recall that the spreadsheet error led to all kinds of excoriations of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff on the part of liberal economists, who claimed that they were responsible for austerity policies that killed off economic growth. Even Stephen Colbert got in on the act. Their spreadsheet error was considered to be the worst tragedy that befell the planet since that one time when Oedipus and Jocasta had a super-awesome first date.

Of course, the excoriations were vastly overstated, but that didn’t stop intellectual opponents of Reinhart and Rogoff from engaging in hyperbole on a grand scale. Now that Thomas Piketty has been caught making his own significant errors, comparisons have naturally been made between Piketty on the one hand, and Reinhart and Rogoff on the other.

These comparisons fail. Reinhart and Rogoff may have made a spreadsheet error, but there is a very plausible argument that the error did not affect their conclusions, and there was no serious accusation on anyone’s part — not even the most severe critics — that Reinhart and Rogoff engaged in intellectual or scholarly fraud.

Facts Are Stubborn Things . . . As Thomas Piketty Is Beginning to Find Out


I have bought Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and while I have posted many an item that takes issue with the books claims and conclusions concerning wealth inequality, I do plan on reading Piketty; his book has made quite the intellectual and cultural impact, and although I know what his basic arguments are, I want to be sure that I read the whole of the book to be fully aware of his claims.

But even before reading the book, one can conclude certain things about Piketty, as my previous blog posts indicate. And today, we learn that we may well be able to conclude one more thing still about Piketty, his research, and his arguments: They may be completely wrong. And yes, those words were worth emphasizing.