Liar Weiner, liars everywhere

Anthony Weiner will soon be gone. Next week will be one of the ugliest weeks in the history of the House of Representatives as Weiner sees, face to face, what his colleagues think of him. Like many characters in Mafia movies, Weiner will "do the right thing.” One liar will be gone, while many other liars will remain, disproving Mom’s words that crime does not pay. In truth, very often, it does.

There are various reasons for the national obsession with Anthony Weiner. One of them is this: There are many Anthony Weiners in American public life, American business and American media, who treat lying as an art form and way of life. There is an epidemic of lying in the upper strata of American life.

How many people in business have been told: Send the invoice, the check will go out in a week? A month later, they are told the check is in the mail. Two months later, the check is still in the mail. And so forth.

Political campaign ads have turned into the systematic spreading of lies about opponents. There is even an epidemic of lies against war heroes such as John Kerry, John McCain and Max Cleland, among others. Imagine the dishonesty and gall of former draft-dodgers and service-shirkers attacking American war heroes from both parties about their military heroism.

Have they no shame?

How many American homeowners filled out paperwork to renegotiate home loans, working with banks, only to have the banks file the foreclosure papers? Lies, lies, lies.

President Obama has been the target of lies about his birth, religion and Americanism that are sick even by the low standards of American politics.

Yet President Obama was claiming he was fighting for the public option on the healthcare bill long after his aides had privately surrendered the public option in secret meetings with lobbyists.  Call this what you will, but when Obama said he was fighting for the public option it was not the truth. Then certain White House aides who surrendered the public option while the president was saying he supported it, demeaned liberals for championing the public option the president claimed he supported.

Our financial system is riddled with Wall Street firms lying to their clients, while selling them products they knew were defective. When clients bought those products in good faith, they were not told their Wall Street sellers were shorting them, i.e., betting they would fail. Lies. Lies. Lies.

If you watch the excellent movie “Too Big to Fail” on HBO, the whole idea of giving banks huge sums of taxpayer money was for the banks to loan the money to creditworthy business and consumers. Which they have refused to do, even though they promised when they were desperate. More lies.

Last year when I appeared on MSNBC I was chatting with a Republican who was on the show with me. In our private chat he agreed with almost everything I said, then asked me not to disclose what he really believes, then joined me on the show to tell the audience the exact opposite of what he believed.

This happens often on cable news. The audience is regularly deceived about what those who appear actually believe, because most of those on television are not there to tell the audience the truth. They are there to play predetermined phony Kabuki roles, for one party or the other. Telling the truth to the audience is not the prime directive in a medium that is largely an inside joke among insiders.

I think John Edwards is about as sleazy as it gets on a personal level. My suggestion is we put Edwards in cage for a week, and let people walk by the cage and give him the finger to express their views.

But criminal charges against Edwards are a big stretch, and even worse, why are they charging Edwards while nobody in the great Wall Street and banking scandal of our age is charged for anything?

Is there anybody who reads these words, from Tea Party readers to liberals, who actually believes that no crimes were committed in the great financial scandal? Lies, lies, lies by those who committed the crimes, by those who covered up the crimes, by those who find pathetic and dishonest excuses not to prosecute the crimes.

In the lane at the top of the modern world, crime pays. The criminals do not get prosecuted, they receive bonuses for the crimes. One party lacks the guts to prosecute the crimes. The other party calls the crimes capitalism and lies about opponents, calling them socialists. While both parties seek donations from the criminals who are not prosecuted.

The great singer and songwriter Don Henley once sang you can rob more people with a briefcase than a gun, a great example of art telling truth about life.

So Anthony Weiner lied, and will be lynched for the lies, as he deserves to be. But the lynch mob should reflect on the words of Shakespeare: "Our fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Lying is everywhere in our public life and business. This the great truth of our times, which will not be told by those who gleefully rejoice in the earned humiliation of the "gentleman" from New York, Anthony Weiner.

And that, my friends, is the biggest lie of all.