"The truth about lying is that people do it so long as it works. Often what appears a tolerance for lies stems from not learning to reliably detect and deal with them. It's a science - one too many of us don't adequately study. In his book, Telling Lies, Paul Ekman wrote, "In many deceits the victim overlooks the liar's mistakes (leaks), giving ambiguous behavior the best reading, collusively helping to maintain the lie."Read the rest.
Some Democrats have been gifting their opposition in this way, allowing liars to bamboozle the electorate. Kerry let the swift boat lies pass largely unaddressed as if they'd be detected by any thinking person and look what happened. Unchallenged lies have a way of building upon each other a deceptive, sturdy edifice. Early stone by stone intervention is the best antidote. But first, you have to know how to detect lies. So here are a few of the less benign forms from my study of pathological politics and Ekman's excellent work:
As we approach a very important election, we'd better have our dissembling antennae up and expect a lot more from a largely immune-to-lies or scared-of-their-shadows press that just can't or won't challenge, "Was that a bit of blame diffusion, Dr. Rice?" "Can you answer the question I asked, Secretary Rumsfeld?" "Isn't this just gratuitous emotional diversion, Mr. President?" "You shifted the context there didn't you, Mr. Vice President?" "Your 'compassion' sure looks a lot like anger, Sir," "Leaving grieving mothers out of this Senator, what's your plan?" Then maybe Frank Rich will have much needed company on political liars' tails and they might just have to resort to some semblance of the truth."
* kathleen reardon:
"Bloodless Coup Attempt at the U.N. -- A Lesson In Power
As I've written before, being predictable is the kiss of death in negotiation and in most relationships. It allows others to manage you. Only a naïve leader shows the same power hand repeatedly, because adversaries will surely attempt to take advantage. A planted target is always easier to hit than a moving one. Ahmadinejad showed yesterday that he understands this well. We witnessed the U.S., the most powerful country on earth and beacon of liberty and justice, lectured on those subjects.
Yesterday Ahmadinejad's speech exemplified how less glorified forms of power work in consort, among them reason, ingratiation, assertiveness, reaching out for coalition, appeals to a higher authority (references to shared, single God), expressed altruism (concern for all people) and charisma. Any of these can be used to counter a dependence on a single primary form like coercion, but together they pose a significant threat.
We saw a shrewd politician who studies his adversaries and detractors while also seeking among theirs his new friends. No matter his purpose or prevarications, Ahmadinejad enacted a calm, backdoor, offensive at the U.N. yesterday at what he must have rightly perceived as a rare, propitious moment in time.
This man understands the value of small wins over time and is patient enough to wait for their accrual. Ahmadinejad understands the impact of the unexpected. With his words and gestures he provides a wake-up call on the use of power for those who see and hear it. The alarm is ringing loudly for one-trick ponies around the world."
* meanwhile, don't miss demnow's piece on Chavez at the UN:
"AMY GOODMAN: Your assessment of President Chavez's speech at the UN and the message he was putting out?listen to the whole thing.
GREG GRANDIN: Well, I think he was speaking on a number of levels. The most immediate level, he was trying to change the script that was being set up by the press as a confrontation between Iran and the United States, as exemplified by the two speeches of the respective leaders the day before. And what I think Chavez did was he diversified the struggle, and this speaks to what he is, I think, trying to do on a larger global scale. It no longer became about Iran and the U.S., but all of a sudden there was a kind of -- he provided a cover fire, I think, for Iran in some ways by breaking through the tedium of the General Assembly and giving us an image that I think will go down in the history of the UN, along with Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium.
AMY GOODMAN: The response in the General Assembly?
GREG GRANDIN: From what I read in the New York Times is that applause -- the UN organizers of the event had to quiet the crowd down, that the applause had gone on for so long that he received the longest ovation of any other speech at the event."