The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Our Society Is Built on Lying and Breaking Faith

Came across a long story about a man’s military career. Basically, he was a West Point graduate and refused to lie: He wouldn’t sign forms that he knew were wrong. He lasted four years in the military, because almost everything he had to sign was a lie, and he wouldn’t do it.

This is worth a long quote:

Readers may regard the anecdotes above as mildly interesting, but trivial because rifle serial numbers and vehicle status are not that important in the grand scheme of things. They would be more impressed if I had refused to sign a document covering up an atrocity or something like that.

In corrupt organizations, whether it be Enron, the NY Police Department during the time that Frank Serpico was an officer, the Mafia, or the U.S. military, newcomers are tested before they are “trusted.” As Al Pacino said over and over in The Recruit, “Everything’s a test.”

Relatively new NYPD officers like Serpico, also played by Al Pacino, were invited to accept small bribes to show they were “one of us” before they were permitted knowledge about bigger stuff. Mafia wannabes are required to commit crimes confirmed by Mafia guys before they are allowed into the inner circle.

This has two purposes:

• to identify and screen out any “boy scouts” or undercover agents who are squeamish about corruption

• to get something on everyone so no one can later change his mind and snitch

Signing false documents is a court martial offense. It violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice. If you sign a false document, you both gain entry to the “club” and you put yourself in a position where you cannot get out because if you ever go over to the media or authorities, they can trot out the false documents they know you signed to discredit and court martial you.

He goes on to talk of applying to be a real-estate salesman. They wouldn’t hire him because he had a rental property himself, had money in the bank, and no dependents. In other words, he didn’t need the money and therefore couldn’t be coerced by his boss.

A vast amount of life is like this. In my old corporate career, I remember being in a legal compliance meeting (the most junior person there). There was a discussion of a law, and the senior VP wanted us to simply track possible violations, not stop and report them. I read out the key section of the law and said “I don’t see how that law can be read as “just keep a spreadsheet.” He insisted. I said, “Of course, you’re the Senior VP. Just write a directive telling us to do that and sign it.”

(I am fundraising to determine how much I’ll write this year. If you value my writing and want more of it, please consider donating.)

We obeyed the law. But I was never invited to another such compliance meeting. Of particular note is that I was the only person who stood up, even though there were half a dozen people in the meeting, many senior to me, and I know some agreed with me. But they had careers, families, and were already compromised. In fact, of course, I protected them: They are the people who would have taken the blame, not the VP, if a regulator ever actually called us on it, because no way was that VP putting his John Henry on the directive.

This sort of thing goes all through modern life. We compromise (and I haven’t always stood up, though I’m pretty stiff-necked). Often it isn’t illegal, per se. It’s lying to employees (yeah, they actually probably are going to lose their jobs, but we can’t tell them that yet.) It’s hurting employees to make a number on a spreadsheet you know doesn’t actually matter, but senior management wants that number and standing up to senior management is a bad idea, you have to just give them what they want all the time so they think you’re a go-getter.

Of course, in many cases the best way to give senior management what they want is to lie. Move those numbers from one quarter to another; count future income now, or income that’s probably going to happen as for sure. If all that doesn’t work and it’s not something they can know without knowing more about operations than they ever do, just lie to them.

Sometimes this happens pro-actively, sometimes it’s a response to management who won’t listen. “I don’t care that it can’t be done, make it happens.” OK, buddy, if you won’t listen, I’ll just change the numbers.”

These things are rife. On Wall Street in the 00’s, everyone knew that whole classes of mortgages were based on lies. They were actualy called “liar’s loans.” It was common knowledge. Everyone knew that there was housing bubble (except a lot of economists, who are great at lying to themselves) and there they were  telling clients that real-estate is a sure thing. Goldman Sachs was telling their clients everything was fine while they placed a huge bet on the other side.

The entire economy, and most of politics runs on lies (Obama lied about everything of importance to progressives, to their faces. Trump of course, doesn’t tell the truth, and probably doesn’t know the truth. But no one cares because he’s just more extreme about what is normal.)

You make these compromises, over and over again, and they kill your soul. You must believe that this is okay, that it’s how things are done, that it doesn’t make you a bad person.

But it does. It makes you a bad person. Doesn’t make you nothing but bad, you, like Joe Biden, probably love your son or family or dog or something.

A society where you must lie, repeatedly, to get power, where you must do evil over and over again to get power (or even a decent living) will be shit, and the more the virus of dishonesty and meanness spreads, the more shit it will be.

This is why the one thing I try to do as a writer is always tell the truth as I know or believe it to be. Might be wrong, but I’m not lying when I say something. The only time I ever didn’t tell the truth as I knew it was for about two weeks around Obama’s victory period when I made the mistake of trying to influence his incoming administration by offering the sugar plum vision of how popular he could be if he was the next FDR. It was wrong to do, a moral failing and mistake, and I’ve never forgotten it.

You lie and you compromise yourself. It’s that simple. I was lucky, I could walk back, admit the wrong (I’ve written about this before), and continue on. But the more you do it, the harder it is, and, in many cases, if you’ve done serious wrong-doing, you’re compromised for life.

I don’t know an easy way out of this. The fact is that we have created a self-perpetuating hell. I do know that a lot of it comes down to fear; that the more we make the good life something only some people can have, with the price always being compromising yourself (don’t kid yourself, not one percent of corporations actually don’t require managers to compromise themselves in multiple ways), well, people crumble. They’ve got that dog or son to look after or they’re ambitious and hey, everyone does it, so if the price is lying and fucking every worker who reports to them, they do it.

So the first step, because people are weak and scared, is to create a society where everyone’s needs are met at a decent level; where losing your job doesn’t mean plunging into poverty. This is something almost no one has done, in Canada you certainly don’t want to be poor, it’s ass, let alone in the US where it means life in Hell, and then probably an early and degraded death.

Faced with a life of misery or an end to their integrity, most people will lose their integrity. When that’s almost everyone with any power, well, your society will be hell.

And those are the societies most of us live in. (Remember all the oil companies and tobacco companies lying? Yeah.)



I Suffered, Therefore So Must Others


How to Protect Yourself from Doomscrolling & Bad News


  1. kråke

    “It comes down to fear,” yes. That much is obvious, because producing and managing the degrees of fear (angst, worry, terror, disgust) in ourselves and others is what makes us human; it’s certainly not tool-use or thumbs that does the trick.

    We fear spiders, snakes, disease, bears, gods, forces and the unseen things of stupid human imaginations, to the extent that we acknowledge they are impervious to our management or to the terror we produce in the world.

    But, it’s needful to note that fear is hardly the foundation of power. Nor is it violence.

    Power is quite simple, really: it’s a replicator, and ‘it’ doesn’t care about the substrate in which it replicates.

    And that’s the what-for of lies, untruths, bull, and euphemism. Power self-replicates, and it rewards those who lend aid to that cause. Lying is low cost (for its users) assistance, so it will always be easy to reward.

  2. profan

    I remember in one of your other essays a while ago you mentioned that one of the reasons for the collapse of USSR was broken feedback. In a capitalist market, feedback is provided by sales, which is hard to fake — you produce more of what you are physically able to sell, what people buy. In USSR / “communism” the feedback was provided by fallible and perhaps corrupt ideologically driven bureaucrats — the feedback is broken, you no longer know what your society needs, so you cannot produce it efficiently.

    It sounds to me that the lies that have permeated the western society to such an extreme extent will add instability to the system and probably contribute to its eventual collapse, like it did with USSR. All of the Wall Street fraud is essentially disconnecting the real world from their number games.

    Computers should be helpful to “planned economy”? They are impartial and if properly programmed could be used for “communism”. It would be vastly more efficient than capitalism, which creates redundancies and waste. (I imagine USSR simply could not have had the capacity to do the necessary economic computations even if they did have correct feedback).

  3. GlassHammer

    Well you could opt to take a lower position in your firm to avoid making some of those compromises and it will work to an extent. The nastier decisions will find a vessel no matter what (always some fool looking for a promotion) so you will have to live with them.

    For the record this is the path I am on now. I passed twice on two promotions to much more consequential roles because it came with more ethical compromises than I could bear.

    So I remain at the top of the bottom tier at my firm. A level just before the really nasty choices come to you. And since I am still in demand no one cares that I am doing this (for now at least).

  4. Ian Welsh

    Yeah, I mentioned in at least one article on the feedback issue that it was massively affecting the West these days, too.

    Sales numbers can be massaged, but not “faked” but the problem is that you can be selling fraud, as Wall Street and banks were in the 00’s. Effectively they were creating negative value: every cent + many more of their “profits” were eaten up in bailouts.

  5. Zachary Smith

    The link author John Reed’s two essays were both informative and admirable, but as a youngster he didn’t understand that the West Point Code of Honor was (and is) feel-good BS. Unfortunately, the same is true for the core beliefs of most religions. NOBODY follows the teachings of Christ, and I’d imagine that’s also true for the other major religions. A swarthy 2020 Jesus would be lucky to survive if he met US police on his first day of preaching in a typical US urban area. If he tried a “scourging of the Temple” stunt, his demise would be guaranteed.

    If I’m a doctor tending a dying mother of her injuries from a car wreck, is there any way I can justify telling her all of her children are already dead? I’d look her in the eye and say except for a few broken bones, all would recover, and maybe her final moments would be a bit easier.

    Author Reed ought to consider a situation where as an officer he was sending a group of men to make a diversionary attack – one which HE knew to be nearly suicidal. Could he justify telling them the truth? Eisenhower visited the WW2 paratroopers who would be dropping into darkness in France on D-Day. He didn’t tell them of the worst-case predictions that most of them would die. I believe he handled the situation correctly.

    The Russians have a proverb to the effect of “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. This is also true for all “straight arrow” types who try to actually practice what they were taught about having perfect morals. IMO, managing and minimizing the lies is about the best we’re going to do.

  6. Ian Welsh

    Ah, “we must lie”. And, of course, choose the most extreme examples (though I think Eisenhower was wrong) rather than lies on the order of what Reed was talking about: routine lying about everything, including shit that really shouldn’t be lied about, like 85% of vehicles not being fit for combat.

    This is why we live in hell. This is why Tobacco officials lied. It is why oil officials lied. It is why hundreds of millions to billions will die.

    Because lying is OK and just how things are done, even to people who think they are good.

    There are rare cases where lying is OK. They are very rare. (Axe murderer asks you if the victim is here and you say “no.”)

    Welcome to Hell, made one lie at a time till they are in the billions. Soon to be billions of dead.

  7. Zachary Smith

    …choose the most extreme examples…

    Tobacco officials?

    Ax murderer?

    Earlier I made a search for “justifiable lies” as well as “white lies”. They can and often do serve useful purposes in society. Regarding the “inventory” issues mentioned by the author, consider the case of some poor rube straight out of a military Academy who might have been too overworked to have made a detailed inspection of the inventory he signed off on. Would a decent commanding officer nick him for multiples of his annual income because the youngster had been as gullible as others before him had been while serving in the job he’d been stuck with?

    Also from WW2: propagandists in the UK and the US started pretending “Uncle Joe” Stalin was a really swell guy and conveniently forgot to mention JS was a world class monster. Totally dishonest stuff, and absolutely necessary. Granted, this one truly is an extreme example.

    In general, truth is of course the best policy. The BBC had a WW2 reputation of broadcasting honest war reports, and that’s something which has been abandoned in the years since.

    I believe societies with well-regulated police, lawyers, businessmen, clergy, and so on – they will be more prosperous and happy ones than the Libertarian Ideals. Every man for himself. Let the sick and old people die. Greed is good.

  8. Mark Pontin

    Ian W. : “So the first step, because people are weak and scared, is to create a society where everyone’s needs are met at a decent level.”

    And that’s exactly why the powerful will resist it even at cost to themselves. See forex —

    Michal Kalecki’s 1943 Essay on Politics and Ideology

  9. Mark Pontin

    Profan wrote: “Computers should be helpful to “planned economy … and if properly programmed could be used for “communism”. It would be vastly more efficient than capitalism, which creates redundancies and waste.”

    You may or may not be aware of Project Cybersyn and Stafford Beer, operating in Chile from 1971 to 1973 —

    More recently — again you may or may not know — there’s been an interesting book that reopened the discussion re. cybernetic planning/planned economies, RED PLENTY, by Francis Spufford.

    There’s a worthwhile discussion of the book, including comments by the author, here —

    Profan wrote: “I imagine USSR simply could not have had the capacity to do the necessary economic computations even if they did have correct feedback.”

    Well, you’re right about that and about us here in the Big Data age maybe having enough computing power to do it now. I’m less sanguine than you about getting the correct *inputs* — solving the garbage in, garbage out problem.

    It goes deeper than merely the industrial/mechanical aspects of that problem. Deeper than the ordinary political aspects, too, into fundamental *definitional* problems. For instance ….

    Ian W.: “Sales numbers can be massaged, but not “faked” but the problem is that you can be selling fraud, as Wall Street and banks were in the 00’s. Effectively they were creating negative value: every cent + many more of their “profits” were eaten up in bailouts.”

    The current neoclassical economic model on which our societies are run counts bank wealth — i.e. debts carried by others than the bankers — as wealth that contributes towards a nation’s GDP.

    Sure, you can dismiss this as one of the Great Lies of neoclassical economics, on which the whole sh*tty facade of neoliberalism has been elaborately erected in the last few decades. Because that’s clearly not productive, real wealth — it is, frankly, pure fraud past a certain point that our societies hit hard back in 2008 so that TPTB have had to keep on printing money ever since to keep the whole fraudulent show running.

    Nevertheless, in a fiat currency system where money is based on debt, it’s hard to get a better definition of what kind of value that purely financial capital — as opposed to real, material wealth — is.

    I’m sympathetic to arguments for “luxury, automated capitalism” a la Iain Banks’s Culture and we could certainly move a lot nearer that than we are now. Finally, though, this is a planet with both limited resources and limited possibilities, realistically, for how many penthouse apartments overlooking Central Park (say) there can be.

    So there’s going to be money and if it’s not going to be based on some arbitrary commodity like gold or cowrie shells, it seems to me that it’ll be a fiat currency based on debt (of some kind)

    This may be a failure of my imagination, I admit

  10. profan

    Also here’s Pompeo talking about lying at West Point:

  11. G

    My child is being taught to lie at school. One of the teachers is extremely woke, and completely dogmatic. The students know that she gives marks not based on the quality of writing, but on whether it repeats back to her the ideology she wants to hear.

    The difference between a C grade and an A is demonstrating the \”correct\” ideological attitude. The students don\’t like it, many of them don\’t buy it, but they do it, because the bottom line is they have to get decent grades for college. They call it joining the hive mind.

    This isn\’t new – students have always been regurgitating to flatter teachers – but the intensity is way up. Ideological conformity is the difference between a C and and A. The students aren\’t stupid. They go along to get along. And so another generation learns to lie.

    I\’m not using my usual name because I don\’t want this linked to the teacher, for my sake, my child\’s sake, and for hers. It is ridiculous that in this age, the relationship between parent and school is tainted by fear and concealed by lies.

  12. Zachary Smith

    The difference between a C grade and an A is demonstrating the \”correct\” ideological attitude.

    That brings back memories, except in my case it was the difference between an “A” and an “F”.

    The professor announced at the start of the course he was the most “moral” man he knew of – call him a ‘Trump-clone’ with a Ph.D. My first paper in the class took a different line than the one he was pitching in class, and below the grade of “25” he wrote we had to have a conference. A pretty blond with whom I was sharing a desk had scored something like a 98% – when we swapped compositions I saw she had written the fluff he demanded. At the meeting he informed me I’d suck up to him, or he’d flunk me. It being still early in the year, I dropped out and signed up for the same course at another university an hour away. At the other school my final grade was a very high “A”.

    Between the loss of a small scholarship and the cost of the second course, drawing this line wasn’t inexpensive. But it was worth it. During class discussions I’d established myself as not being a sloping forehead type, so some classmate must have contacted the administration of the first school – later in the year I got a letter requesting details of my experience. I wanted nothing more to do with either the school or their prize bigot, so I ignored it.

  13. Willy

    Wow. The worst teacher I had told us she wanted to “be entertained”. So I amused her with my harmless whimsy and got an A. I only made one mistake, dissing Bill Gates for achieving his success by lying, but I took her reprimand with humility and laid low afterwards. Her ‘people’ were beneficiaries of the Gates Foundation.

    I had far worse bosses. In fact, so much worse that I wished my teachers had been much less ethical. They learned me wrong.

  14. Ten Bears

    Milton Mayer writes in his book They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945 not overnight, incrementally, like the legendary slow boiling of frogs, Fascism creeps …

    “You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

    … “But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

    “And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jewish swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in—your nation, your people—is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.”

    It is by small, incremental steps that we lose our humanity.

  15. Chuck Mire

    For real a real in-depth read on the logic and contradictions of our species:

    “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari

  16. bruce wilder


    Two points, one academic and one kind of personal

    1.) This is not the legendary trolley problem. In school, if you study ethics as a species of academic philosophy, you will be unlikely to see an ethical problem posed in a frame as realistic as this. Most real ethical problems are not a matter of cost-benefit analysis or rank-ordering priorities; reality is dealing with corrupting power and authority.

    2.) My father was a policeman and a whistleblower. In 1940, he took documentary evidence of complicity in illegal gambling operations to a judge who called a grand jury. Every one in the hierarchy above him save the J Edgar Hoover like character at the civilian top of his state’s police force went to prison. A reform governor was elected and died in an unexplained plane crash. None of this figures in any way in the state’s official history of its police. My father continued for 35 years in his career without promotion. Most officers in a supervisory capacity refused to accept him as a subordinate.

  17. Plague Species

    Of course, in many cases the best way to give senior management what they want is to lie. Move those numbers from one quarter to another; count future income now, or income that’s probably going to happen as for sure. If all that doesn’t work and it’s not something they can know without knowing more about operations than they ever do, just lie to them.

    Truth. I experienced it firsthand and it’s why I’m no longer employed or employable. You cannot resist it or call it out for what it is or try to do the right thing. If you do, you are gone and you are no longer employable.

    My last gig was with an agricultural manufacturing concern where quite literally the descendants of farmers, descendants of people like the Wilders and Ingalls, went from being honest hard-working farmers to corporate communistic cube monkeys. And I say communistic because they are highly authoritarian and support and enable tyranny and totalitarianism within the corporate structure and yet they lied to upper management about profitability at the product level in order to secure promotions, pay raises and bonuses or sometimes just to keep their lousy jobs. Every single one of them, I have no doubt, is a Trump supporter. Damn them all to hell. I relish the day we can slaughter them with extreme malice before they slaughter us. There is NO common ground. NONE whatsoever. They play dirty. They are malevolent cheating scumbags. Ironic, when you consider the principles their ancestors espoused and lived by actually.

  18. Plague Species

    And speaking of our society being based on lying and breaking faith, are we to believe, per the claims, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95% effective with no side effects?

    Imagine they are lying, which they very well may be considering there is no downside for them to lie. Imagine further healthcare workers are the first to get the vaccine. Imagine in several months if not several weeks after receiving the vaccine, a substantial number of them become debilitated or die from a negative immune response to the vaccine. There goes America. Without frontline healthcare workers to help battle this surging pandemic, America is toast.

    What would Americans do at that point? I know what should be done. Every single member of Pfizer and Moderna involved in the development and marketing of the vaccines should be executed on national television for all the world to see, but instead they will engage their lawyers and will remain beyond reproach. Meanwhile, the likes of George Floyd get choked to death or shot to death for allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

  19. Plague Species

    More case in point about lying and breaking faith.

    He’s worse than shy, Keith. He’s a Wall Street whore and Wall Street has informed him McDonald is off limits. He is setting the stage for, enabling and securing, the next fascist surge in four to eight years. It will be the last surge because at that point the fascists will seize and hold power until America is no more and perhaps the planet is no more.

  20. anonone

    Most students in public schools are forced or strongly coerced into standing and reciting a lie every morning.

    It is called “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

  21. Willy

    The Pledge of Allegiance had meaning back when “the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” were closer to being real things.

    Today you pledge your allegiance to the teams elites which you’ve been brainwashed into empowering, against your own interests, with the Republic, God, invisibility, liberty and justice for all being damned.

  22. Ché Pasa

    That a Democrat — whether named Obama or Clinton or hell, why not LBJ or FDR — lied about something sometime therefore nobody should care about Trump’s lies or any Republican’s lies is not an argument, it’s borderline insanity driven primarily by political animus, little different than sports and entertainment fandom and the animosity for the Other Side that goes with it.

    Politicians lie. It’s what they do. It’s part of the job description. And if you believe — not what other people believe — it’s wrong for one side of the aisle to lie, then you should believe it’s wrong when the other side does it.

    Too often, the attempted argument is that if anyone defended a Democrat’s lie at any time about anything, then Trump’s lies or any Republican’s lies don’t matter. This is supposedly about exposing the hypocrisy of the other side, but as we should know by now, hypocrisy is the mother’s milk of politics. Not only do they all lie, they are all hypocrites, and if they don’t and aren’t, guess what? They don’t last long in office — if they ever get there at all.

    This situation is analogous to the corporate work world of lies and hypocrisy Ian and many others have experienced to their chagrin, and I can testify it’s little different within the government bureaucracy at every level. Lies and looking the other way are integral.

    A righteous critic will say, “This sucks.” But when the suckage is seen only on one side of the political firmament, then effectively the critic is operating as a partisan. Partisanship has a role to play, but it’s not ultimately convincing except to fans.

    Which isn’t really the kind of politics we need at this critical juncture.

    The problem of lies in the political and social realms is fundamental, but it can never be entirely solved so that one is only allowed to tell the truth and does only what one is allowed. As we note, truth itself is under fire and subject to intense dispute.

    If we ever get to the point where there’s common agreement beyond partisanship over what constitutes honesty, honor, and truth, then hurrah, but I’m afraid we’re nowhere close to it, and even when our multiple crises overwhelm us, we may not be any closer.


  23. Willy

    If things are so evenly “suckage”, then why do the Democrats tend to be viewed as weak, while the Republicans are seen as ruthlessly, and quite successfully, opportunistic?

    I say the plutocrats aimed for conquering the conservative minds first, because it was easier for many pragmatic reasons. Then they turned their attentions towards buying the economists and Democratic party elites, by making it personally profitable for those targets as well.

    Conservatives are therefore more advanced in their corruption. Candace Owens was a small time liberal blogger, who came under the tutelage of Milo Yiannopoulos (IMO sociopath) and turned conservative when it became far more lucrative for her to do so. New conservative convert Dave Rubin was able to buy a $5M house after making a meager living working as a progressive. Nobody with any kind of objective intelligence will confuse Owens or Rubin with intelligent pundits. They say what their people have been conditioned to want to hear. It’s a grift. All of the money is on that side of the house.

    Attacking AOC or Bernie as not being sufficient, is bullshit. They’re not getting rich doing this. If either of those two had a sudden conservative epiphany, such well knowns could become seriously wealthy. Once the mistake of protest voting the mentally ill Trump has been rectified, pressure on the ‘white lyin’ Pelosi’s and Bidens, and support of the far more honest Squad is the best progressive tactic.

  24. Synoptocon

    Any butter bar whose biggest moral quandary in VietNam, Republic of was whether the motor pool availability report was fudged needs to find a new line of work.

    Talk about pointless Paladinism…

  25. Joan

    I refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance the morning we invaded Iraq. I was given detention and the vice principal met with my parents, informed them it could go on my record and would make it impossible to get college scholarships. My parents then informed me they would not cosign any student loans and I was cut off at 18, even if it meant I’d be homeless (that turned out to be an exaggeration, at least on the homeless bit, but it’s what they told me).

    So I stood for the pledge of allegiance, and the vice principal told my teacher to check that I was speaking, so every morning she’d loop around and make sure my lips were moving. I practiced reciting the Lord’s Prayer to the cadence of the pledge of allegiance and did that. They threaten your survival, so you go along in order to survive. It’s like being birthed into a fighting cage.

  26. nihil obstet

    It is almost certainly true that all politicians lie. However, the assumption used to be that a good politician lied very rarely and only under conditions in which the truth would cause damage to the country. It was a bad thing, like the lesser of two evils. The neoliberal era brought us the principle that there’s no difference between a rare lie whose evil is outweighed by its avoidance of damage to the country and total lack of integrity for personal gain.

  27. Roxan

    I used to nurse. We are constantly forced to lie about patient care. If you refuse, they will invent some way to cause a lot of trouble for you. I\’ve been lied to by my own docs at times, so I assume that sort of thing goes on at every level.

  28. Purple Library Guy

    Rarely have I been so happy that I work in a library. The mission at a library really doesn’t require that kind of stuff.

  29. There are lies, there is lying by omission (which, IMO, is insufficiently emphasized, in comparison*); and then again, there are BIG LIES.

    While it may be arguable, I would call “Great Reset” denials as a BIG LIE. From infowars article: “On the same day that the World Economic Forum heralded “The Great Reset” as a positive way to build “future resilience to global risks,” the New York Times declared the entire thing to be a “conspiracy theory.””

    On the same day the Times asserted that the issue was a fever dream of “far-right internet commentators,” the World Economic Forum itself celebrated “The Great Reset” as a way to build “future resilience to global risks.”

    The NYT report then calls it an “unfounded rumor” that elites are using the pandemic “to impose their global economic control on the masses,” despite the fact that Davos globalist Karl Schwab specifically announces this very agenda in his recent book, COVID-19: The Great Reset.

    As we previously highlighted, Schwab also openly endorses a technocratic dictatorship whereby people would accept implantable microchips that can read their thoughts as well as brain scans to be allowed to travel.

    Suffice to say, the Times completely failed to mention Schwab’s book at all.


    infowars isn’t a grade A source, but I know of nothing wrong or inaccurate in this particular article

    * lying by omission is a tremendous ‘force multiplier’ for the plutocratic ruling class, because it makes “official” sources seem credible. So, while there are probably millions of people who trust the CDC, in spite of their lying by omission regarding Vitamin D as a weapon against upper respiratory infections in general (and covid in particular), because they’re just plain dumb; I believe there are millions more who don’t know the fundamentals of vitamin D – which can be easily grasped by laymen. They also likely don’t know about regulatory capture, revolving doors between industry and government regulators, and the insularity from democratic control that inevitably flows from the likes of the Senior Executive Service.

  30. anon y'mouse

    JOan–quite a tale. i stood down during assembly on the day of the first Iraq War. luckily enough, one of my teachers (classic hippy type) diverted the Spanish Inquisition instructor from darting forth to tan my ear. no one else in the auditorium full of over a thousand did so.

    i guess they were telling themselves the big lies.

    my longstanding theory is that teenaged angst is when the lies they forced into you in childhood are finally revealed for what they are, and the hypocrisy in everyone–family, teachers, society, even one’s self, get a bit too much to bear.

    and they call “growing up” getting out of this faze and putting oneself to sleep again with the lies, or at least refusing to call them out.

    some of us never got over our teen angst.

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