By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
This quote is attributed to many different people including Adolf Hitler. It is one of the major themes of George Orwell’s book 1984.
The man who raised me taught and lived by the fact that lying was one of the worst sins a man could commit. He always told me I was too dumb to lie. He counselled: tell the truth and you don’t have to worry about remembering what you said.
Former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn has been charged with one count of lying to the FBI. This charge carries a maximum of five years in federal prison.
However, in exchange for testimony before the Mueller “witch hunt”, the prosecutors have said they will recommend a sentence of from zero to six months and no charges will be brought against his son.
Let me see if I got this straight, the General is accused of lying to the FBI to protect the Republican Party in general, and specifically President Trump’s campaign people. Now, however, we and the FBI are to believe anything he says to protect himself and his son.
There are two issues I see here. One is General Flynn apparently forgot the very simple Officer’s Code of Conduct taught at West Point: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” If the general was lying to the FBI over an issue that did not create a jail term for him, why are we to assume that anything he has to say with the threat of loss of freedom has any validity. The problem of using torture or threats to gain information is that the person tortured or threatened will say what is necessary to remove the pain or threat.
The second issue is that if the FBI can lie to a citizen why should the citizen not be allowed to lie to the FBI? Greg Burleson, a 53-year-old militiaman from Arizona, was convicted and sentenced to 68 years in prison for his role in a stand-off over the illegal round-up of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle. This conviction was partially based on a video created by FBI agents who lied to Burleson stating that they were reporters for a national magazine. The fact that they also supplied Mr. Burleson with alcoholic beverages as they interrogated him seems a little out of line. Interestingly enough, Burleson was convicted for what he thought about doing, not what he actually did.
Lying to the suspect is a standard police procedure and the evidence collected is admissible in court. It would seem only right that the suspect should be allowed to lie to an FBI agent who is lying to him. I am not suggesting lying is a good policy; I am merely suggesting if one is allowed to lie without penalty, all should be allowed to lie without penalty.
Our ex-senator, Harry Reid, set the standard for the character assassination through the lie. If you will recall he stood on the Senate floor and lied about Mitt Romney’s payment of taxes. Reid stated: “As we know, he has refused to release his tax returns…. the word is out that he has not paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove he has paid taxes, because he has not.”
And later Reid tripled down on the accusation, releasing a statement that said in part, “I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for 10 years.” This lie was based on an unidentified source.
It was important that the lie came on the Senate floor because a liar on the floor of that august body cannot be held accountable for libel or slander.
When confronted with fact that he had lied, for indeed Romney had released tax returns for 2011 and 2010, Senator Reid justified the lie by saying: “He did not get elected, did he?”
It is a fact that Mitt Romney had paid $1.9 million in taxes in 2011, and in 2010, he paid slightly more than $3 million in taxes. I have to agree with Friedrich Nietzsche and say to Mr. Reid: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
No one asked me but… As of last Monday January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in California. Does anyone else see the irony of a state legalizing a drug while at the same time the federal government has declared war on opioids? Another interesting aspect of states legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana is that while it is legal in a state, it is illegal on federal owned land.
While marijuana may be legal in cities and incorporated areas of Nevada, it is still illegal in the 85% of the state that is owned by the federal government. It may be legal on state highway 168 but is it legal on Interstate 15? Even though I-15 is patrolled by state highway patrol, does the interstate actually belong to the state or does it belong to the federal government? If you are stopped on a federal highway in Nevada, are you under state or federal law?
What I find interesting is that support for nullifying national drug laws are coming from liberal Democrats and are being opposed by conservative Republicans. This is a reversal of the role of the two parties on the issue of state’s rights.
No one asked me but… In October, I wrote a column about Iranian state action against a young girl and her brother for their chess playing. Saudi Arabia has a long-standing animosity with the country of Iran; however, Muslim clerics in both countries are not fans of the game of chess. In 2016 Saudi Arabia’s top cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al Sheikh said that chess is forbidden in Islam because it wastes time and can lead to rivalry among the players. Top Iranian clerics forbid the game because it can lead to gambling which is forbidden in Islam.
In defiance of these clerics, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has championed a chess tournament as part of his move to push for greater social openings included discontinuing the ban on women drivers, allowing concerts and movies, and easing rules on gender segregation.
My son and grandsons spent Christmas Eve playing chess. Their maternal grandfather would have been proud. My side of the family never progressed past Chinese checkers.
Thought of the week…“Truth never damages a cause that is just.”