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    Both parties are lying to you. Democrats don’t really care about democracy, and the GOP doesn’t care about deficits.
    • January 27, 2024

    The government’s services keep getting worse.

    Even their lies.

    The Bushies told us we had to invade Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden and then to go into Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. As the Pentagon knew, bin Laden was already in Pakistan; as Hans Blix and Scott Ritter told us, there was no evidence Saddam had proscribed weapons.

    Sure, they were lies. But they were plausible lies. Theoretically, bin Laden might have snuck into Afghanistan. Saddam might have acquired WMDs. Those things could have been true.

    Now they’re giving us implausible lies. Not only are their lies, well, lies — they say things that are untrue and can’t possibly be true and that no one, no matter how stupid or uninformed, could believe.

    Democrats go on and on about how nothing is more important than defeating Trump. Democracy itself hangs in the balance! After Trump redux, the re-deluge. Like Hitler, but worse.

    But they don’t really believe that. If liberals really actually thought Trump was going to suspend the Constitution and send his enemies — them — to camps, their sense of survival would have prompted them to select the most charismatic, brilliant, popular, vigorous, 2024 Democratic presidential nominee possible. Instead, they gave us Biden.

    You can’t think Trump is dangerous and go with Biden-Harris. For Democrats, protecting their party’s corporatist status quo matters more than Trump’s purported threat to democracy. That’s the truth. We all know.

    Republicans won’t shut up about out-of-control deficit spending and the $34 trillion national debt which, according to them, will tank the economy because, like a family that has to live within its means except for credit cards and student loans and car loans and home mortgages, the government can’t keep spending cash it doesn’t have even though it owns the U.S. Mint and has gotten away with it for, like, a century.

    We know that the fake deficit hawks don’t actually believe what they are saying in real time, as they’re saying it, because while they’re threatening to shut down the government every few months, they keep throwing even more billions of dollars at the Defense Department than the DOD even asks for, so much that the military sucks up more than everything else the government does combined, and that’s not including the wars they put “off the books” and the proxy wars and the wars they charge to the State Department, not to mention debt service on old wars.

    These diametrically opposed lines of rhetoric represent a dramatic shift away from old-fashioned political hypocrisy. If the military is your biggest expense by far and you keep raising it, and you claim to worry about spending, you are lying. No amount of cognitive dissonance can convince us otherwise. You know we know it’s crap, yet you keep right on going.

    “Normal” communication by political elites has become prima facie impossible to take seriously.

    We used to be able to accept the announcement by a defeated primary candidate that they would endorse their rival and tour for him because primary campaigns involved incremental ideological variations and hadn’t yet devolved to bloodsport.

    No more. Even after Trump implied that Ted Cruz’s father assassinated John F. Kennedy and had his surrogates impugn Ron DeSantis as a eunuch and a fey cuck, he collected both men’s endorsements. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden red-baited Bernie Sanders as an existential threat to the Democratic Party yet were rewarded with his fealty. This, we are supposed to think, is adults being adults, and maybe this is so, but more than that it’s proof positive that nothing any primary candidate claims to stand for or against should ever be trusted.

    Everywhere we look, politicians are deploying lies whose obviousness is evident out of the gate. Elites will never be believed, they know it, and they don’t care.

    Israel’s war cabinet tells its traumatized citizens that Oct. 7 came as a surprise at the same time countless specific warnings and the Israel Defense Force’s eight-hour response time (!) prove that cannot possibly have been the case. As people shout “bring them home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he’s trying to do just that. But that’s a lie, and it has to be a lie because you don’t bomb a place where hostages you care about are being held lest you kill them and anger their captors.

    Families of the doomed hostages cannot believe him and do not believe him, yet they do not demand that the bombs stop falling or that those who drop them be removed from power.

    Ukraine, they say, is a fellow democracy even though it has canceled all elections forever and its press is censored and opposition parties are banned, and as a democracy it must be defended by us, who are not really much of a democracy either as Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson and others who have been denied access to ballots can attest. The idea that this famously corrupt post-Soviet republic could have posed as a democracy was cute on its face, of course — shut up and fly your blue-and-yellow flag.

    Taiwan, Biden says, is a country that must be defended from a Chinese invasion. At the same time, Biden also says, Taiwan is not a country at all nor should it become one; China is the One China and Taiwan is part of it, so China can no more invade Taiwan than the U.S. can invade Ohio, but still, we’ll defend Taiwan, but really we won’t. “Realists” call this “strategic ambiguity,” but really, it’s just one of those lies you see coming.

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    Gender identity, woke elites insist, is not merely psychological but physically real as well: A transwoman is a woman, period. This cannot be true; a transwoman swimmer is not generically the same as her cisgender woman competitors, but they tell us that we should tell cisgender woman athletes to chill. It’s not an issue when clearly it’s an issue, but the authorities don’t want us to take their ridiculous word for it, just as it is with diversity, equity and inclusion and its clumsy flip-replacement of one form of systemic discrimination with another. They just want us to shut up.

    The era of the “lie you know from the start” may be over soon.

    Next up: Insane truths without the thinnest varnish of deception.

    Though not a renowned rhetorician, our president surely deserves historical credit as the first American leader to say, at the start of a war, that we will lose. Days after the U.S. military began what it plans to be a prolonged bombing campaign against Yemen, an effort to stop the Houthis from attacking ships in the Red Sea, Biden announced that future strikes would not succeed. “Are they [U.S. airstrikes] stopping the Houthis? No,” Biden told reporters. “Will they continue? Yes.”

    They’re not even trying anymore.

    Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, co-hosts the left-vs-right DMZ America podcast with fellow cartoonist Scott Stantis. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.

    ​ Orange County Register