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How do you know when a politician is lying?

May 15, 2011 - John Stack
The answer to this old riddle of course is ‘when he moves his lips’. I often hear people say that all politicians are alike, so what does it matter who you vote for. Well, for my money Harry Reid and Paul Ryan have about as much in common as a dump truck and a daffodil. But, what all politicians have in common is the ability to obfuscate the truth. They use every trick in the book from aspersions to distortions to hyperbole to prevarication to whoppers. Democrat or Republican. Conservative or liberal. They are all guilty.

Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu from Alaska (3 million in gas contributions since 1996) claims that closing the tax loophole for oil companies is ‘inherently unfair’ and that doing so wouldn’t reduce gasoline prices by one penny. Unfair? OK, that’s up for debate. But, that it wouldn’t save one penny on gas is a complete misrepresentation. So, if curbing a tax loophole doesn’t lower gasoline prices, we shouldn’t close the loophole? How about the $4 billion a year the US taxpayers shell out for the most profitable businesses in the history of the modern capitalist society? There is a reason for tax breaks and tax subsidies and the like. To help out companies when it is in the national best interest to do so, and that the tax break would directly or indirectly benefit the US and us taxpayers at least as much as the break costs us. In other words, if we give the gas companies a $4 billion dollar tax advantage, would the gas companies NOT have done something? Would they have stopped speculating for oil? Would they have chosen to NOT engage in an activity that is bringing them Croesus-level profits? Honestly, its just the US government handing over billions of dollars to oil companies to continue to do what they have always done, and would continue to do regardless if the tax benefit was there. That is the WRONG kind of tax policy.

Her partner in crime for the Democrats, Mark Begich of Louisiana (where do you think his bread is buttered?) piled on with the misinformation. He echoes the ‘this will not reduce gasoline prices’ like a trained parrot. Then ‘why don’t you help us produce more ?’ Uh..well, as Exxon made a profit of $10.65 BILLION dollars in the quarter ending March 2011 so why don’t they spend some of their profits on exploration and such? The big 5 US oil companies made a PROFIT of $656 BILLION between 2001 and 2008. With these tax subsidies at only about $28 billion, or right around only 4% of their profits, why are we continuing to just back up our trucks and pouring cash on the oil executives?

Like the riddle above, we now have an old joke returning. Newt Gingrich is back running for the presidency. Before I get into his buffoonery, I have to say, with Huckabee choosing not to run, the next best the GOP has is Mitt ‘Massachusettes Health Care ‘ Romney. And that’s if Romney ran in the general election. He stands no chance in getting through the GOP primaries…anyway. Newt was talking recently about how GE made $14.5 billion in global profits (5.1 billion in US) but paid no corporate tax. He claims it is because GE is very smart and their lawyers found ways to lower their tax liability to zero. He then said ‘would be "absurd" to expect that any company would pay more than it legally had to.’. He then went on to say he wanted to lower the corporate rate from 35% to 12.5%. For some reason, he then felt that GE and their ilk would choose to pay MORE in taxes than they pay now. Although they are paying zero now, they would see the inherent ‘fairness’ in paying 12.5 % and start paying at that rate, and NOT try to lower their tax liability. It makes me wonder if he is so chemically imbalanced that he could say one thing in one sentence, then come up with a solution in the next that completely ignored his previous statement? Or does he really think/know that most people won’t catch him? I’m guessing it’s a bit of both. As 2 weeks ago he v\blasted Obama for not taking a more aggressive approach in Libya, and when Obama did take a more aggressive approach he blasted him for doing so. Sorry Newt. Last time you were in power, there wasn’t’ John Stewart and The Huffington Post just waiting to jump on these completely incompatible statements.

I guess these aren’t outright lies. They are deceptions and misdirections, which are arguably worse because they can’t really be taken at their word and then shown to be wrong. A lie is Larry Craig explaining his reasoning behind his arrest for soliciting a prostitute and why he did it. Or Scooter Libby’s perjury in the Valerie Plame affair. But, there are others that aren’t outright lies, but misrepresentations.

Sean Hannity had 2 guests on his show last week. Rebecca St James (who had to be objective, as she just wrote a fluff book where she has Hannity as a lead story) and Tamara Holder. It was about how an officer told women, in a talk about how women can protect themselves from violence, (oh Sean forgot that part – he said it was just some flippant remark) by not dressing like sluts. He said the officer apologized (which Holder corrected him that he didn’t apologize, just he was sorry if anyone was offended). Then miss purity (her own characterization) claimed that women ‘are asking for sex if they dress immodestly’. She, who is a strong proponent of ‘modest is hottest’ (a true contradiction unless you are Steve Martin with a sweater fetish in ‘House sitter’) of course seems to be a serious student of rape crime. Sean directly asked St James what women could do to decrease the possiblilty of them being raped. She responded with only that they should not dress provocatively. Not that women shouldn’t put themselves in unsafe positions. Don’t tell them to walk in well lit areas around lots of people. Don’t tell them to not give your phone number or address to strangers. Not tell these women that staying in groups is a great defense. Don’t tell women to keep an eye open to their surroundings. Don’t tell women to scream for help if attacked. Don’t tell them to fight back, yell, make a scene and call the police. No, the true answer is to now dress (In St James eyes) modestly.

Religious commentator Zoe Romamowsky writes in the Catholic ‘Crisis magazine’ about the affair. She claims Holder got it wrong that and says that Holder naively thinks that what you project to the outside world has no ramifications. Again, another person completely unaware of why women get raped. Men rape the weak. The easy mark. The less likely to fight back. If a rapist sees two women walking on opposite sidewalks, one is a confident well dressed woman with her wits aboput her, and the other is a mousy girl in a plain sweater who looks like she’s afraid of her own shadow, the rapist goes for the wallflower everytime.

So, two women , one man, each whose real motive is to mock sexy dressed women (Does Sean really think Ann Coulter is afraid of being raoed by how SHE dresses? I’d like him to tell her that). They also have no idea what a rapist is really like, what’s his motive, and in the process made women more vulnerable to rapists while at the same time blaming victims of rape for the crime (regardless how they claim to deny this)


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