Expert on tyranny explains the Trump 'Big Lie' you've been hearing so much about lately

In October, the Washington Post shared an updated count of the lies or misleading claims President Trump has made since he was elected. The count, as of August 27, was 22,247 claims in 1,316 days. Why did the count only go through August? Because the president's pace had accelerated to more than 50 lies or misleading claims per day, and the fact-checking team couldn't keep up.

And it's not just the Washington Post. Fact checkers across the media landscape have repeatedly lamented that it's impossible to keep up.

All politicians stretch the truth sometimes, some more often or egregiously than others. But the frequency, nature, and shamelessness of President Trump's lying is in an entirely separate category than most politicians. This is not an opinion or even a judgment; it's an axiomatic fact.

The problem is, a shocking number of people overlook his lies, believe his lies, or in some cases, even love his lies. Opportunistic politicians and idealogues have seen him rise to power through lies, have seen the adulation he receives from his base for his lies, and have decided it's worth it to hitch their wagon to his lies. That's largely how we've ended up here, in a broken government and political culture where the president's supporters rally behind the lie that he won the election with a not-insignificant number of them willing to die or kill to defend that lie.


Yale historian Timothy Snyder calls the claim that Trump won the election a "Big Lie." Snyder, who specializes in the history of Central Europe and the Holocaust and has written books on tyranny, explained what that means in a Twitter thread.


Snyder wrote:

"The claim that Trump won the election is a Big Lie.

A Big Lie changes reality. To believe it, people must disbelieve their senses, distrust their fellow citizens, and live in a world of faith.

A Big Lie demands conspiracy thinking, since all who doubt it are seen as traitors.

A Big Lie undoes a society, since it divides citizens into believers and unbelievers.

A Big Lie destroys democracy, since people who are convinced that nothing is true but the utterances of their leader ignore voting and its results.

A Big Lie must bring violence, as it has.

A Big Lie can never be told just by one person. Trump is the originator of this Big Lie, but it could never have flourished without his allies on Capitol Hill.

Political futures now depend on this Big Lie. Senators Hawley and Cruz are running for president on the basis of this Big Lie.

There is a cure for the Big Lie. Our elected representatives should tell the truth, without dissimulation, about the results of the 2020 election.

Politicians who do not tell the simple truth perpetuate the Big Lie, further an alternative reality, support conspiracy theories, weaken democracy, and foment violence far worse than that of January 6, 2021."

Everyone who lives in objective reality understands that Trump did not win this election. There was no widespread fraud, and not enough small instances of fraud (which have occurred on both sides in every single election throughout history) to even come close to changing the outcome of the election. The election officials charged with carrying out the elections in every state, both Republican and Democrat, have said so. International election observers that Trump invited to witness our elections have said so. The federal agency charged with election security under Trump's own administration has said so.

Investigations into allegations have borne no fruit, and nearly all of the affidavits and "testimonies" (notably, not given under oath) we've seen have been from people describing normal voting and tallying processes that they don't fully understand. Voting machine companies have now launched billion-dollar defamation lawsuits against Trump allies who pushed conspiracy theory-laded lies about voting machines. The courts have been decisive in their rulings against the president and his allies, who are now 1 and 64 in lawsuits attempting to prove both fraud and unconstitutionality in some states' election processes.

The facts are not in question; it's only what people believe or want to believe that is in question.

Psychologists have explained that the president will never concede because his narcissistic nature and pathology will not allow it. He will double down on the Big Lie for the rest of his life. That's a problem—but it's not the only one.

A Big Lie can't succeed without support. Those in power who have gone along with this lie have breathed life into it, which also fuels the anger and resolve of those who believe the lie. Every person who has supported and disseminated this lie since election day bears responsibility for the attack on our U.S. Capitol and for how close we came to witnessing a massacre of our lawmakers last week. Every single one.

The bombardment of thousands of lies over the past four years have wounded and weakened our body politic. But the Big Lie slashed an artery and our democracy is bleeding out. Every single enabler of this lie needs to stand up and say "It wasn't true. We were wrong," as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Not just the politicians, but the media personalities who know the truth but supported the "Stop the Steal" message anyway. The only immediate remedy is to decisively end the lie, to clamp down on it hard and fast. Damage has been done and will need to be assessed, but right now the goal is survival.

That requires putting the truth and the country before any and all political or popular ambition, which some have proven time and again they will not do. But if there's ever been a time to swallow your pride and do the right thing, it's right now.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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