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The Devil's Favorite Lie

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Message John Sanchez Jr.
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I have just returned home from a Saturday town hall meeting with Republican Freshman Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois' 11th Congressional District, and more than the bit of civil contention over issues that were addressed there, it struck me that the facts and figures presented with the pie charts on the screen were largely misleading. They were, of course, misleading because they were intended to support measures like Paul Ryan's budget plan that crumbles to dust like a vampire in sunlight without such support. 

Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography, "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."   It seems that Congressman Kinzinger's figures are exemplary of the remark attributed to Disraeli.

So, if a conscious effort to do harm in service of an ignoble agenda is supported by deception, is that the Devil's favorite lie? Not by a long shot. The Devil's favorite lie is contained in the premise for that deception. It is a premise that the right has been pushing for a long time, and it has been advanced by corporate media and has burrowed into the public's subconscious.

The Devil's favorite lie is that truth and falsehood are equally valid. That they are simply two sides of the same coin, and a person is to be held blameless for holding with one or the other. It simply is not so, but it stands to reason, that the Devil's favorite lie would work to corrupt the first principles of truth.

It is in embracing that lie, as the rest of his party has, that Congressman Kinzinger had the gall to present his bald faced statistics. That is why when the Congressman was challenged over his support for the privatization of Medicare that was contained in his vote to approve the Ryan budget, he said that it was not privatization, it was giving seniors more choice in the health care that they receive. When challenged on his support for corporate welfare he said that we have to fix the loopholes and reduce the corporate tax rate, in spite of his consistent votes in support of that corporate welfare. It is why the Congressman could say that we need to subsidize the most profitable corporations in the world to encourage their drilling for oil in spite of a glut of petroleum on the speculation ridden market and no guarantee that the resources developed would benefit the U.S. It is how he presents a cut in the corporate tax rate as a way to create the jobs that have not materialized in thirty years of their sure fire plans to produce them.

Indeed, the entire presentation was a tissue of talking points lies developed to defuse voter anger about the assault on their liberty, security and wealth by the corporate paymasters with whom Congressman Kinzinger so often shares a free, or more accurately, profitable, lunch.

Such an exercise would be impossible to conduct without the Devil's favorite lie laying the groundwork for its success.

The Devil's favorite lie is told and retold in our corporate media, when they allow obvious lies to pass without comment, particularly in their interviews with politicians and captains of industry. It is told when they use their "editorial policy" to promote the lies that benefit the corporate movement while quashing those stories that contradict the lies that they are telling. It is retold when they continue to offer themselves as arbiters of public virtue.

We may take some comfort in the observation that more and more citizens are detecting the Devil's foul breath when these lies are told, in large part due to the sting of reality that is raising their consciousness and stirring them to action. As they or those that they are close to are affected by these harmful policies, the split reality between what they hear and what they see looms large. We must ask ourselves what we can do to accelerate the phenomenon.

We have been taught that the truth will always win out, and there is no reason to doubt that statement on its face. There is, however, no guarantee of it working within a time frame that will benefit we who are being so aggressively lied to. It will take a little help to extend realization of the truth to enough of our countrymen that the lies can be seen as invalid, and effectively opposed.

It's up to us.


In a disconcerting peripheral development, this town hall meeting gave me an opportunity to observe what Jared Loughner has given the nation, or at least that for which he provided the rationale.

Stationed on a balcony above and to the left of the stage where the Congressman stood, was a policeman armed with what appeared to be an M-16 assault rifle, held at the ready, apparently to repel any aggressive gesture. It saddened me to note that while security in this country has always assumed every person to be a potential thief, it now assumed everyone to be a potential murderer as well.
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I am a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburbs, with a several year hiatus to serve in the Navy when my Vietnam era draft notice turned up. I had been told that guys with last names like mine were among the preferred cannon fodder in the Army, so (more...)
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