The above is the punchline to the old joke “How can you tell if a politician is lying?” Like most everyone, one of the things I do not like is being lied to. What makes it worse is when I know you are lying to me. My wife and I were commenting last night about a news reporter interviewing an average citizen who made a candid remark that is the painful truth. In this case, an ex-resident of Fukushima in Japan was commenting on when the government said it was OK to move back once they cleaned up the nuclear reactor spill. His comment through an interpreter was “OK, then you move back then.”
In the spirit of the average citizen, let me note a few items I have come across lately in my reading or watching of the news (in no particular order) that give me pause.
- When a company or government says something is “perfectly safe,” do not believe them. They are lying. The only thing perfectly safe is the prediction that you will die someday. So, when Monsanto says its pesticides are perfectly safe, Halliburton says its fracking processes are perfectly safe or a utility says our nuclear reactors are perfectly safe, do not believe them. The only truthful statement they could make is “we are doing our best to make the process as safe as possible.”
- When the President says he is going to be transparent about drones and NSA issues when he has not had the most transparent of administrations, do not believe him. This disappoints me about the President whom I like for the most part. In many respects, the terrorists have already won, as the US reputation is tainted with these issues designed to make us safer, but make us look like Big Brother.
- When Republicans say I care about jobs, jobs, jobs, then do nothing but stand in the way of their creation, this gives me pause. In North Carolina, our jobs bill was to give rich people a tax break and cut federal unemployment. Companies are sitting on cash as they don’t know what to do with it, so giving rich people more is not going to “trickle down” as hoped, an economic policy that has been proven not to work in numerous studies.
- When Republicans say how much they hate Obamacare, which is imperfect, complex and has been rolled out poorly, yet moves the ball forward to cover more people in a huge way, I am frustrated by the misinformation tactics and lack of acknowledgment that it is largely a GOP idea. The parts in play already are well received and the new parts will actually be helpful to the economy, so says the CBO. If the remaining states join Ohio (who announced this week) to expand Medicaid, it will be even better for those in need and their states’ economies.
- When states like North Carolina pass restrictive Voter ID laws which contain several features that are designed to suppress votes, then say that is not their intent, they are lying. NC is being sued by three different sources, the state Attorney General said the law was unconstitutional before passed and the General Assembly had data that showed as much. They are attempting to solve the wrong problem – we don’t have a rampant voter fraud problem; the problem is we don’t have rampant voting.
These are a few odds and ends for your reading pleasure. I would welcome your comments and other examples. Let me leave you with a quote from an old friend – “always tell the truth as you don’t have to remember as much.”