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Monday, March 9, 2015

Does Honesty Matter?

It's surprising that there are so many stories floating around these days that are about honesty.  President Obama seems to tell lies constantly.  There are the big ones like "if you like your policy, you can keep your policy, period!"  There are the new ones like his claim over the weekend that the civil rights struggle on the bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965 empowered his interracial parents to go ahead and have him, (which is obviously false since Obama was born in 1961.)  There are the one that are mostly rhetorical devices like Obama's claim that the only alternative to the current deal being offered in the negotiations with Iran is war (rather than stronger sanctions or even a different deal.) 

Then there is Hillary Clinton.  The idea of combining a Clinton with a propensity for dishonesty is not a surprise to anyone who has been conscious during the last two decades.  Still, it takes a rather particular type of dishonest person to issue a directive to all State Department employees banning the use of private email accounts while she was herself using such an account at the time.  Hillary apparently thought nothing was wrong with violating administration policy and federal law to set up her own secret email server and conveniently "forget" to tell the White House about it.  There's more with Hillary, but listing her lies is a seemingly endless task.

Then we had the whole mess with Brian Williams who described in detail and repeatedly how he had been on a helicopter that was shot down in the Balkans.  There were other Williams' tall tales too.

Now we also have the report on Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown from the Justice Department.  The report said that there was no credible evidence of any sort to support any charges against office Wilson who shot Brown.  Of course, when that got translated by the Obama administration (and even by Obama himself), they said that the requirement for proof beyond a reasonable doubt was just too high to overcome to get a conviction.  That's a lie.  The lack of any credible evidence means just that.  Nothing points to any civil rights violation by Wilson other than testimony of witnesses which is contrary to the physical evidence and which is obviously false.  (Those are the conclusions of the DOJ report, not mine.)  The characterization by Obama and his administration is the rough equivalent of this:  A drunk walks into a police station and reports that he saw (1) a spaceship land, (2) a man who he recognized as Harry Reid get off the spaceship, (3) Reid pulled out a ray gun and shot the drunk's friend Joe, and (4) aliens got off the ship and carried away the bode and replaced Joe with some sort of robot.  The police check out the story and find that Joe is at the diner down the street having breakfast.  He is clearly not a robot and laughs about the story told by the drunk.  The police do not go to Washington to arrest senator Reid because there is no credible evidence that he murdered Joe and replaced him with a robot.  That is very different than saying that there wasn't enough evidence to get over the high burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Then there's the story about senator Menendez.  Why was the story leaked that he was about to be indicted (even though no indictment has been forthcoming)?  Was it the result of Menendez' opposition to the administration on Cuba and Iran?  The White House spokesman says the answer is no, but is that true?

Shouldn't we try to bring back honesty as a virtue in our society?  The old adage "Honesty is the best policy" is not something to trash.  When I was growing up, the idea that the government would lie to Americans was nearly unthinkable.  Don't we want to restore that confidence in the government?

I believe that the progressive left and their media allies must be held responsible for the current demise of honesty among Washington and the media.  In the 1990s Bill Clinton lied under oath but survived impeachment for perjury because "hey, it's just about sex".  So lies from the president did not matter.  In the next decade we were treated to endless claims that president Bush lied about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.  Of course, Bush did not lie; he relied on intelligence that was wrong.  So did the leaders of the UK, other European countries, the Congressional leadership, senator Hillary Clinton (who voted for the Iraq War), and basically everyone in DC.  Since Obama took office, we have heard a crescendo of lies out of Washington.  It has gotten to the point where a lie by Obama is no longer remarkable.  It is just Obama being Obama.  I mean how many times have we heard Obama tell us that one scandal or another is something about which he had not idea.  He heard about it from the news reports and his became "mad as hell" and demanded a full investigation.  Of course, those investigations never seem to happen and later on Obama says that there was not even a smidge of corruption involved.  (more lies.)

The values that made America great include honesty.  I know that no society exists in which everyone tells the truth, but it ought to be something for which we strive.


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