Lies, lies, and more lies are not the foundation for a functioning democracy

From January 6th to the pandemic with Senator John Fetterman in between, the narratives promoted by the government, political, and media establishments are devolving into lies and falsehoods.  Anyone who claims to care about democracy should care about this…

Earlier this week, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson began releasing video footage from inside the Capitol Building on January 6, but instead of the sustained attack promoted by the media and Democrats for over two years, the large majority was what conservatives had expected.  Hundreds of people simply walked around, many of which were in full view of the Capitol Police, and some of whom appeared to be assisted by the police.  The so-called QAnon Shaman, he of the Viking attire, has often been used as a poster boy for the insurrection and all it stands for, and yet we can clearly see that he does nothing of the sort inside the building.  Instead, he wanders around with a police escort serving as tour guide most of the time, passing groups of officers that could easily have arrested him.  At one point, the officers escorting him appear to help him get into the locked room rather than restrain him in any way.  The Shaman has been rotting in a jail cell since and was sentenced to four years in prison, but for what?  How does a crime of criminal trespass justify that kind of punishment when a child molester could walk free sooner?   Nor were the steady stream of lies and distortions limited to the protestors themselves.  Senator Josh Hawley was a symbol of Republican cowardice for the vaunted Select Committee on January 6th.  We were told that he encouraged the rioters at first and then fled the scene, unable to face what he’d unleashed.  When footage of him exiting through a hallway was played during the Committee itself, he was visibly laughed at and jeered by the crowd in attendance.  The only problem was:  The actual footage reveals that he was at the end of a line of government officials being escorted out of the building by police.

Likewise, Ray Epps was originally one of the protesters, but then was quickly transformed into an ally of the Committee.  He was outside the Capitol on January 5, claiming that supporters of President Trump needed to go into the Capitol, literally encouraging people to lawlessly breach the building.  We were told he had a change of heart the next day as the riot began to unfold around him.  “I just looked around, and I was sick. There was a lot of tear gas, a lot of bad stuff going on,” he explained.  “I saw people crawling all over the Capitol, climbing the walls. It made me kind of ill to my stomach…There was no point in going back. It had gone beyond to what I wanted it to be,” Mr. Epps said without explaining what he thought penetrating the Capitol Building would look like, insisting in sworn testimony under oath that he left the Capital immediately after and returned to his hotel room.  Though he’d texted his nephew at 2.12 PM on January 6, while the mob was breaking in, claiming to his relative that he’d “orchestrated” things, he told the Committee.  “At that point, I didn’t know that they were breaking into the Capitol,” Mr. Epps said. “I didn’t know anybody was in the Capitol…I was on my way back to the hotel room,” except he wasn’t.  The newly released video shows him in the thick of it on the Capitol steps around the time he sent the text.  Mr. Epps perjured himself before Congress, a federal crime, and the Committee surely knew it after having sole possession of the video tapes for more than a year, but they let the lie stand for their own political purposes, preferring a convenient narrative to the truth.  The sad demise of Officer Brian Sicknick was yet another narrative based on fiction.  In the immediate aftermath of the attack, we were told former President Trump’s supporters beat him to death with a fire extinguisher.  This story was repeated far and wide, and persists to this day even though no such thing happened.  He is seen clearly on video, walking around the building after the Capitol was cleared.

None of this is to excuse the actions of the rioters that day.  As I and many others have said, everyone involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but the truth is supposed to matter.  There is a difference between a protest that unfortunately turns into a riot and an armed insurrection.  They are not the same, and everyone knows it.  A committee charged with determining the truth and a media that promotes a “facts first” philosophy, to use CNN’s phrasing, are supposed to value the truth more than anything else.  Instead, both (and others) have lied repeatedly and continue to do so.  Nor is January 6 the only recent incidence of this phenomenon.  It seems almost everywhere you look, the truth is what political forces and the overall political and media establishment want it to be for their own ends.  Over the past year, we have witnessed a complete unraveling of almost every aspect of our response to the coronavirus pandemic.  The virus itself likely originated from a labThe lockdowns were ineffective at best, incredibly harmful at worstMasks do not work in the real world.  Children are essentially immune to the virus and almost no children died from it.  The vaccine was never and could never prevent the spread of the virus, or even prevent infection, more on that in a moment.   The vaccine itself has potentially harmful side effects in some people, and depending on your risk profile for the virus, taking the vaccine could actually be a higher risk choice.  These are all things we know now – though, to be sure, some still dispute them – but expressing your belief that this was the case in 2020 or 2021 would have you promptly branded a conspiracy theorist.  Social media companies actively suppressed anyone who posted anything along these lines, frequently in collaboration with government agencies.  So extreme was the pushback against this and more, the President of the United States himself declared anyone who embraced these ideas a  victim of “Neanderthal thinking.”  Shortly after he aggressively promoted the idea that the unvaccinated faced a winter of “death” for their choice.

Meanwhile, information obtained from politicians and public health officials working behind the scenes reveal an intentional effort to scare the populace regardless of the truth.  We’ve already documented how Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx public statements are far removed from their private conversations.  Dr. Fauci, for example, recently penned a peer review paper alluded to above, claiming that he knew all along the vaccine would not work as advertised because no vaccine for a virus that attacks the nose and throat ever has, but he went ahead and lied about it anyway, costing thousands of people their jobs and driving the country even further apart.  As he put it in science speak, “It is not surprising that none of the predominantly mucosal respiratory viruses have ever been effectively controlled by vaccines.”  Of course, the Associated Press was there to assure us that this doesn’t mean the vaccines do not work as he claimed.  “False,” they say. “The scientific journal article doesn’t say the vaccines don’t work. The article’s authors say their paper acknowledges current vaccines for respiratory viruses don’t prevent all infections, but that they do prevent the most serious symptoms. Fauci and another coauthor said the article makes the case for exploring new approaches to make respiratory virus vaccines more effective.”  Except, this isn’t what they were claiming in the spring of 2021.

Back then, Dr. Fauci was touting a “growing body of evidence” that suggests the vaccine slows the spread of the virus.  The Pfizer vaccine had a “markedly diminished” viral load, and “scientific data [is] starting to point to the fact that [the vaccine] … has very important implications from a public health standpoint for interfering and diminishing the dynamics of the outbreak,” Fauci said.  That May, he was saying vaccinated people were “dead ends” for the virus.  “So even though there are breakthrough infections with vaccinated people, almost always the people are asymptomatic and the level of virus is so low it makes it extremely unlikely — not impossible but very, very low likelihood — that they’re going to transmit it.”  By June, he declared emphatically, “It’s as simple as black and white.  You’re vaccinated, you’re safe.  You’re unvaccinated, you’re at risk.”  Unless we are to believe that Dr. Fauci was completely unaware he was making claims counter the to entire history of vaccines in “mucosal respiratory viruses,” these were all lies, and we know he didn’t believe that because throughout this period he didn’t mention once, not once, that vaccines for these sorts of viruses don’t work this way and it would be highly, highly unusual if they did.  Sadly, the United States is not alone in this trend.  In the United Kingdom, recently unearthed WhatsApp messages between Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his subordinates sound more like conversation between James Bond villains.  Secretary Hancock proposed “We frighten the pants of [sic] everyone with with the new strain but the complication with that Brexit is taking the top line.”  A colleague, Damon Poole writes back approvingly, “Yep that’s what will get proper behavior change.”  Secretary Hancock replied, “When do we deploy the new variant?”

None of this is normal, nor is it unique to either the pandemic or January 6.  Consider Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.  He suffered a stroke during the primary and was unable to campaign for an extended period while recovering, but shortly thereafter the media declared that all was well and he was completely fit to serve.  Dasha Burns was perhaps the only journalist that questioned this narrative.  After interviewing him and describing how he had to rely on a teleprompter to translate voice to text, she noted he “has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing…he still has some problems, some challenges with speech…he had hard time understanding our conversations.”   Other so-called journalists pounced on these comments, attacking the messenger and claiming Senator Fetterman was actually super-smart simply for using the teleprompter.  “Sorry to say but I talked to @johnfetterman for over an hour without stop or any aides and this is just nonsense.  Maybe this reporter is just bad at small talk,” explained Kara Swisher.  “As someone who has recently interviewed him: Fetterman’s comprehension is not at all impaired.  He understands everything, it’s just that he reads it (which requires extra acuity, I’d argue) and responds in real time.  It’s a hearing/auditory processing challenge,” Rebecca Traister concurred.  Senator Fetterman then faced off against Republican Mehmet Oz in their first and only debate, appearing completely unable to put together a meaningful sentence.  On fracking “I do support fracking and I don’t, I don’t — I support fracking, and I stand, and I do support fracking.”  On inflation, “We have to fight about inflation here right now. That’s what we need to fight about inflation right now.”  On a living wage, “You can’t have businesses being subsidized by not paying individuals that just simply can’t behave to pay their own way.”  On being transparent about this health, “To me, for transparency is about showing up. I’m here today to have a debate…I believe that, again, my doctors, the real doctors that I believe, they all believe that I’m ready to be served,” and “Again, my doctor believes that I’m fit to be serving, and that’s what I believe is where I’m standing.”

I could go on, but my point is not to pick on a man struggling with an obvious health issue.  We should all wish him personally well and hope he gets better.  The point is simply that John Fetterman was clearly and indisputably unfit to serve, but that did not stop a steady stream of lies about it.  After this performance, rather than focusing on the fact that he was self-evidently incapable of carrying out the duties of one of the most powerful and stressful positions in the United States if not the known universe, some pundits called his performance “remarkable.”  Even those that acknowledged he struggled provided little to no details, and quickly turned to whether he should have debated in the first place, tacitly acknowledging that they consider it acceptable to hide the truth from voters.  Here’s CNN, “After watching the debate in Harrisburg, even though Fetterman’s speech has shown signs of considerable improvement with every passing week since his May stroke, it’s an open question whether it was a wise decision to put him on the stage with Oz. It was, at many points, difficult to watch.”  Candidate Fetterman went on to become Senator Fetterman in January despite the obvious, and sure enough he has now been hospitalized twice, first after fainting in the Senate and a second time for “clinical depression.”  Rather than acknowledging the lie that he was ever fit to serve, the media now dutifully informs us that he is setting a great example by seeking treatment and doesn’t find it the least bit odd that Senator Fetterman is somehow sponsoring legislation from the psych ward.  Dr. Peggy Drexler declared on CNN that, “a number of conservative voices callously and prematurely questioned whether Fetterman was fit to serve” as if it is totally normal for a Senator to enter office and pretty much go straight to the hospital.  She went on to claim “Fetterman’s depression—and his willingness to talk about it—may make him a more compassionate leader and appealing candidate. We’re living in tough times, and almost everybody hurts; if our leaders are meant to represent us, how can we possibly fault them for being, in fact, just like us?”

Lies, lies, and more lies, but where does this end?  A functioning democratic republic requires open, unfettered, transparent debate.  Politicians, of course, have always had a tenuous relationship with the truth, but government officials like the good Dr. Fauci are employees of the people and are supposed to be different.  Processes such as testifying under oath and the legal exposure for lying under oath are supposed to be different.  That’s what they exist for.  The media, likewise, positions themselves as neutral arbiters in a war against misinformation, while continuing to spread more misinformation than anyone else far and wide, and actively supporting the suppression of points of view they disagree with.  Then, they collectively wonder why conspiracy theories flourish, acting as if they play no part whatsoever in this vicious cycle.  Ultimately, all of this is done for power:  Those in positions of power have it, and they will lie to protect it.  Where this ends, nobody knows, but it is certainly not a journey anyone who cares about the future of the country should want to be on.


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