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Lie Redefined

Bill Neinast


Last week, the definition of one word became obsolete in every dictionary on the shelves.  A lie is no longer an intentionally false statement.

In a committee hearing on March 12, Senator Ron Wyden  asked James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, whether the National Security Agency collects “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Clapper, who was under oath, answered, “No sir.” After rubbing his ear for a moment he added, “Not wittingly.”

Both the senator and Clapper knew that was not true, but they let the matter slide.

After the news broke about the NSR collecting information on every telephone call made in the country, Clapper was pressed about his testimony in March. His explanation brought back memories of that famous Bill Clintonism, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

Clapper’s explanation was that  “I was asked [in effect] ‘when are you going to start–stop beating your wife’ kind of question, which is, meaning not answerable necessarily, by a simple yes or no.’ So ‘I responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least untruthful manner, by saying, No.’”

So, the new definition of the word lie is a statement that is the least untruthful.

Pair this definition with the recent vision of Attorney General Eric Holder dancing on the head of a pin when he tried to explain that he did not lie about not prosecuting newsmen for doing their job.  He explained so sincerely that swearing out a search warrant for the phone and digital records of a reporter is not a prosecution.

If a search warrant is not a prelude to a criminal prosecution, what is it?  Is there going to be a new definition for search warrants that will be dropped into new dictionaries to accompany Clapper’s definition of a lie? 

These most recent incidents of the Obama Administration’s complete lack of  integrity can best be described as shucking and jiving.   

This rarely used phrase is an African-American slang term from the days of slavery.  The definition is behavior or joking and acting evasively, particularly  the speech and behavioral mechanisms adopted in the presence of an authoritative figure.


There is no better description of Clapper’s and Holder’s actions before two different Congressional Committees.

The saddest part of these two instances of shucking and jiving is that no heads have rolled over this and other blatant acts of misconduct.  All of the current indications are that this is perfectly acceptable behavior for officials at all levels of the White House cabal.

So here’s the perspective.

In their shucking and jiving in committee hearings, Clapper and Holder lied under oath to Congress and all Americans.  Both should be fired. President Obama has unfettered power to do so.  Why has he not done so?

Three other instances of officials thumbing their noses at America are not so easy to correct.

One is Nancy Pelosi, when she was Speaker of the House, saying that “We have to pass the bill [legislation to socialize the American health care system] so that you can find out what Is In It.”

“The bill” became a law known as Obamacare and, as what is in it became known,  a substantial majority of Americans do not like it.  

Only the voters in Pelosi’s district can hold her accountable for that outrageous statement to the whole country.

Then there is Secretary Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Jan. 23  concerning the death of four Americans in the attacks on American property in Benghazi in September of last year.  In a display of fake disgust, she testified, "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

That callous disregard of human life can be remedied only by American voters who remember it and vote accordingly when Clinton runs for President several years hence.

Finally, there is the case of Lois Lerner, the IRS director of tax exempt groups.  Under her watch, her department targeted groups that did not agree with the Obama Administration.

When questioned about this abysmal abuse of power, she claimed that she had done nothing wrong, but then claimed her right under the 5th amendment not to testify.  As such rights are claimed to avoid incriminating oneself in criminal activity, you have to wonder who she is protecting.

As mentioned here sometime ago, it is possible, but extremely difficult, to fire a federal employee, even for misconduct.  

If the government does decide to fire Lerner, she has the option to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.  This board exists almost exclusively as a barrier to prevent federal employees from being fired. The board takes almost a year, on average, to review cases, and the ultimate authority rests in the hands of three unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats–two of whom previously worked as lawyers for public-sector unions.

What a shame that every government official does not subscribe to the Navy Seal Code,which includes as Principle 4: Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates.