Lie to Us…Please

Liar Liar

PLEASE, LIE TO US - In an odd sort of way I actually feel better when someone tells a lie, as long as it's a good one.

Back in the day, con men were wizards of the lie. If they weren’t they’d find themselves in a jail cell with a guy who robbed a 7-11 for a pack of filter-tipped Camels and a bathtub-sized Slurpee. Good con-men know the secret to a lie is a shade of truthiness. Con men these days aren’t so sharp – perhaps because they can no longer tell lies from truth or even believe their own grifty stories, which is the kiss of death to a professional liar.

Take politicians. They used to switch positions by citing subtle nuances in language or deftly changing the topic in such a way as to show the discrepancy was really the sign of a world-class leader who earnestly believes both sides are equally correct.

Then, Busheney – the antithesis of good liars – came along.

‘I Was For It While I Was Against It’
“I’m totally against Position A,” they’d say at one speech. A week later they’re saying, “I’m totally for Position A.” When asked about the discrepancy – usually including videotape showing there was no ambiguity in either statement – they simply answered, “Yeah, what’s your point?”

This isn’t just a public sector problem either. Most big corporations have finally realized the world really does belong entirely to them. Look at BP.

From Day 1, BP has misappropriated the phrase, “We’ll be here until we’ve made things right.” First, BP showed their commitment to the slogan by having their CEO, then an Executive VP, and now an “operations coordinator” tell us how swell they are and how we’re lucky this whole oil leak didn’t involve another oil company.

I mean who knows what might have happened if it was an Exxon well. I know I’m counting my blessings.

Every day they issue a statement or agree to a rule or some other vitally important matter only to reverse course the next day when someone catches them looping the camera feed or preventing reporters from being on “their” beach.

If there were no lame attempts, there’d be no attempts at hiding the lie at all. Oh yeah, they do that too.

Surprisingly, I used to feel more comfortable when they made the effort to cover their tracks. I am a man who admires craftsmanship and telling a good lie is about as crafty as it gets. When they deftly lied, it made me feel I was important in my own small way. If I, the little cog in the big machine, was vital enough to be lied to, I must be important somehow.

If you Must Lie, Lie Big

It’s something like buying a used car and waiting for the Big Shoe Lie to drop. If it doesn’t, you’re more leery than if they had lied. You almost feel cheated. “I’m gonna get this car home and the tranny’s going to fall out into my driveway, isn’t it?”

I implore all you professional liars out there to take pride in your work. Politicians, tell us a whopper. CEO’s, tell us you’d give the big bonuses back if only the company would accept them. PR flaks, call oil spills, “marginally demonetized drilling operations with opportunities for enhanced change and profitability.”

Lie to me. Go ahead. I can’t take the unvarnished truth anymore.

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Keeping a Flip-Flop on the Throat of BP

Fish Flops

JACKBOOTS OR FLIP FLOPS? - The government's vow to "keep a boot" on BP's neck enraged the Conservosphere and turned out to be more like "a flip flop" on BPs neck anyway. Now neither side wants to talk about it.

Back when the Gulf Oil Disaster was only an oily sheen in the public’s eye, White House flak Robert Gibbs pledged the Obamites would, “keep a boot on the throat” of BP to ensure they did what they repeatedly have pledged – “do the right thing”.

At the time, the Conservasphere went ballistic at the White House employing such, “over heated rhetoric, half-truths, and down right distortions” to hold BP accountable. I experienced some of the same vitriol from free marketeers for my post, “The Gulf of Gelatinous Goo and the Tarball Etouffee” and I saw several other similar posts and comment threads too. The fact that Obama’s jackboot to the throat turned out to be more like a stomp administered by a 6-year old using her Hello Kitty flip flops doesn’t seem to have mattered much.

BP Overcome By a Huge Run of Bad Luck
The long and short of the free market cum Teabagger rhetoric revolved around the curious opinion that BP – apparently like every other corporation on the planet – was merely a good corporate citizen overcome by a huge run of bad luck, over-regulation, and the public’s unreasonable desire to dismantle the American economic system oil barrel by oil barrel. In other words, BP was getting a raw deal and if only left alone, would use a firm, earnest handshake and the power of the marketplace to correct and fully atone for what it had wrought.

So how’s that working out for you guys now?

Let’s forget for the moment that Tony “I Want My Life Back” Hayward more than rivalled Gibbs’ words  in their dumbness and sometimes faux harshness. Let’s forget that BP wouldn’t know a promise from an oily pelican. Let’s even forget that the sheer grandiosity of BP’s ineptitude makes Bush’s Iraq and Afghanistan war performances look like the 30-day cake walks that was promised.

But, BP isn’t alone in its ineptitude. Almost every day we’re treated to a story about how the administration has colluded with the British Pissants to make the hook from which they should be hung as small and painless as possible. Or even better, not even force the skeevy bastards to look at it for fear of hurting their delicate sensibilities.

America Doesn’t Torture

Remember, America doesn’t torture, especially when you’re a big campaign contributor.

There is a lesson here, as expensive, horrible, and demoralizing it may be. Never put all of your faith in the much vaunted private sector to correct anything beyond the underpayment of the CEO’s last quarterly bonus. They will rob you blind and then make you apologize for the robbery…for a fee.

There’s another lesson too. Never put all your faith in government. It’s a publicly held sausage maker using cast-off oil corporate chitlins for ingredients and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of  We the People (Very) LLP, but entirely financed by its board of private-sector directors.

Of course, there are sops to those gullible enough to believe that mere words would mean jack-shit in the scheme of things. We still get daily news briefings designed to suck the truly naive and daft into the market uber alles mentality. And yes, our iron-willed-willed Congress is looking for truth, justice, and the American way, but I’d lay a bet that the only malfeasance they’ll find is why a kangaroo “BP Squad” was empaneled to begin with.

As a nation, we’d better have some healthy mistrust for our chosen BFFs – government and private – and look at things realistically.

What better way than to lace up the truly independent jackboots and do some ass kickin’?

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Mr. Prez, It is Time to Lace Up the Jackboots

Oil Wave

A TSUNAMI OF INCOMPETENCE - You can’t swing a dead pelican without hitting gross incompetence and malfeasance in the Gulf these days. It's time for Obama to lace up the jackboots to stop it.

You can’t swing a dead pelican without hitting gross incompetence and malfeasance in the Gulf these days. BP is the most aggressively ignorant corporation on the face of the planet and the Feds have their noses so far up Tony Hayward’s poop chute it will require major surgery to remove them. Hence, some people wonder whether this is Barack Obama’s “Katrina moment”.

What a stupid question.

There are only two things that separate Obama’s oily hurricane from Bush’s merely windy kind – the human death toll is smaller and Obama actually made a speech accepting “responsibility” for getting the mess fixed. That’s a refreshing change from the man who could do no wrong, but the results are, sadly, the same.

On one level it doesn’t matter who’s in charge. There may be no way to plug the leak because a way may not exist. That’s what happens when you allow the free marketeers to write their own regulations, hire a bunch of sex-crazed crackheads to monitor them, and allow BP to act as though the rest of us are a bunch of whining pussies afraid of a little aioli crude on their seafood.

That said, there’s still plenty for St. Barry of Change to do. There should be no more of this politely asking BP to produce key data as though the we hate to intrude on their elite garden party. Using the Coast Guard to keep the world from seeing  just how poorly the Coasties are guarding the coast should be equally verboten.  And, no more of this limp-wristed enforcement that allows BP to do whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want either.

There’s only one thing arrogantly crapulent people like Tony Haward understand – brute force.

Obama’s job is to tell BP to jump and when they ask how high, offer them a size 13 boot liberally applied to their well-padded asses by way of explanation. To hell with the Republicans whimpering about shakedowns and stomping competition under the jackboot of anti-corporate fascism (or Communism, they never seem to know the difference). And, to hell with the deregulationists who got us here in the first place. In fact, if there was ever a case for lacing up the jackboots this is it.

And while you have them down, kick them hard and repeatedly.

Mr. Obama, the buck may stop with you, but you have to have the backbone to spend it.

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