Dishonesty Is the Only Policy

     Dishonesty is becoming America’s policy.
     Not just the usual Republican nonsense about death panels, socialism, reducing deficits by cutting taxes, political finance “reform,” and President Obama “indoctrinating” children by telling them to do their homework.
     This country is becoming dishonest about everything.
     Education: The best way to “Leave No Child Behind,” and keep federal school funding, is for states to set standards as low as possible. But no matter how low the standards, opponents of public education – and there are many in Congress – can still claim that “half of our schools are below average.”
     Employment: The official unemployment rate is pushing 10 percent, but that’s because once you’ve been out of work for 6 months – and millions of people are in that situation – hey, presto! they’re no longer unemployed, Uncle Sam says.
     That’s like saying that after you haven’t eaten for 3 days, you’re no longer hungry.
     Commerce: Major U.S. corporations, including Amazon, Apple, AT&T and Sirius Radio, refuse to shut off service to stolen electronic devices, because they make their real money from the monthly charges.
     Businesses in Canada and the European Union can shut down service to stolen gadgets, but U.S. companies won’t do it – even if the owners report that their Kindle, iPhone or radio was stolen.
     AT&T was whacked with a federal class action about this on Wednesday, two days after The New York Times reported that the other companies are doing it. I would quote Apple’s, Amazon’s, AT&T’s and Sirius’ excuses for this, but I know bullshit when I see it.
     Health Care: Four years ago, the federal government required that drug companies register clinical trials in a database before publishing the results in medical journals. This is to prevent Big Pharma from testing a drug for one thing – curing cancer, for example – and when it fails, claiming that the drug “succeeded” in making cancer patients feel better.
     But a study of 323 articles published in major medical journals last year found that less than half had been registered in the database – and the journals published them anyway. The New York Times reported this, though it’s the FDA’s job to do it.
     The government instituted this rule after it found that drug companies were writing up their own “studies” and paying doctors to claim authorship.
     Government: Check out the state governments of New York, New Jersey, California and Illinois, and half a dozen city governments in Connecticut. How many officials have been sent to jail this year? How many more should be?
     Banks: Don’t make me laugh.
     Real Estate: Has anyone from Countrywide Home Loans gone to jail yet?
     Foreign Policy: Iraq is now “the most corrupt country in the world,” and our great friend in Afghanistan, President Mohammed Karzai, stole an election this week, or tried to, after which he will install some of the world’s biggest drug dealers and mass murderers in his government.
     And no one – not even The Great Explainer Barack Obama – has told us what will constitute “victory” in either of those countries.
     Economics: Nobel laureate Paul Krugman spelled this out pretty well in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine. Krugman reviewed the state of U.S. economics, and reported that the descendants of Milton Friedman’s Chicago School are claiming that the reason unemployment is so high is that people choose to be unemployed, since jobs don’t pay that much these days.
     The reason these morons with Ph.D.s say that is because their theory is that the market is “efficient,” and values stocks at what they are really worth, and that any government intervention is bad, and “distorting.” Krugman says the economists would rather cling to their theory, which is perfect, than acknowledge reality, which is not perfect, especially now.
     Like Krugman or hate him, he knows economics.
     Mathematics itself: We’ve institutionalized lies in our national budget, by claiming the Social Security trust fund’s assets but not counting its liabilities. This is just another version of the way Enron and other corporate crooks “balanced” their books by pushing billions of dollars in debts onto phantom companies.
     Blood from rocks: CNS reporter Joe Harris reported this week on a class action that accuses T-Mobile of charging its customers for their phone bills. That’s right, if you want to see on paper why T-Mobile is charging you, effective today (Friday) it will cost you $3.99 a month in the Show Me state.
     Those Missourians want to know everything.
     For a long time the federal government has been run as a Ponzi scheme, paying old creditors with new money. Now everyone is doing it. We are a nation running on fumes and vaporware.
     There may have been a day when what was good for General Motors was good for America. And there are reasons why people aren’t buying what either of them is selling anymore.

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