What macabre entertainmant

What macabre entertainment it has been to watch Nancy Pelosi squirm.  Every time a reporter asks her what she knew about the waterboarding she blinks furiously.  And outs with yet another version of her story.

Like many folks and critters who are cornered, she went on the attack a few days ago.  She blamed Bush, of course.  If accusations weighed an ounce he would be flattened by now with a ton of them. 

She blamed him for misleading Congress about weapons of mass destruction.  Maybe she sees a connection between this and waterboarding.  Most folks do not. She also attacked the CIA. Claimed CIA guys misled Congress.

Most folks reckon they know a lie and liar when they see and hear one. One of the tipoffs is when they parse words, split hairs, change their recollections.  She was in Parse City last week.  Said she was not “briefed”, only “informed”.

Madame Pelosi is in good company in Washington.  And she certainly keeps up a grand tradition.  You could situate a confessional on every street corner in that town and never run out of customers.



It is hard to catch Joe Biden in a truth. Everything he says seems to be a concoction.  Like the story about the diner in Baltimore he goes to that has been out of business for years.

Writer William Safire called Hillary a congenital liar.  Not many voices protested. Hubby Bill lied with abandon, as we all know. John Edwards life has unravelled into one long lie.

Lying is not confined to politicians in one party, of course.  Nixon lied his way into impeachment, like Clinton.  Spiro Agnew lied his way into disgrace.

Perhaps the gold standard for lying belongs to Alger Hiss.  After World War II he lied about whether he had been a communist while working for the government in the 1930’s.  He lied about whether he had committed espionage.

He lied to the House. Lied to the public.  Lied in trials. Lied when he wrote his memoirs, after prison.  Lied on the speaking circuit.  When I attended one of his speeches he sounded most convincing.  Of course he had had lots of practice by then.

Finally, years later, documents released by the Russians after the USSR collapsed indicated Hiss was most likely a spy.  In the 90’s other ex-spies admitted he was.

Is it not interesting to you that very few public figures who lie ever use the word?  When they are caught, when they have finished parsing and attacking, they usually fudge when the word “lie” hangs in the air.  “My comments were not as truthful as they should have been,” is the sort of comment they mumble.

When I was a kid in St. James School Sister Palazzi helped us to understand what a lie is, or was.  When a lad mumbled an explanation she cracked his face. “That’s a lie.  Try it again.”  In a perfect world we would have a Sister Palazzi at congressional hearings.  Crack! “That’s a lie, Senator. Let’s try that statement again. And if I hear another whopper from you, we’ll take a trip to the boys’ room with a bar of soap.”

Writer George Orwell wrote or spoke frequently about lies and politics.  “Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable...”

He also thought “...politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Hitler and Goebbels, of course, wrote about “The Big Lie” and how the masses could be swayed to believe a lie if it was truly a whopper.

Let’s give Orwell the last word on the subject.  He is long dead, but his words reverberate as though he had been at a few press conferences over the last several years.

“The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.  Lies will pass into history.” 

Indeed, they will.  And history will attach Madame Pelosi’s name to several. If there is an afterlife and she meets up with Sister Palazzi we will experience a few cracks of lightening, I imagine.

From Tom... as in Morgan.                   

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

 

 

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