Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current, events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
The Obama administration proved again last week that it is the “most transparent” in history.
First, Mark J. Mazur, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for tax policy, announced that Affordable Care Act burdens on employers and insurers – scheduled to take effect next year – would be postponed until 2015.
He described the delay, with the classic poetry of the bureaucrat, as “transition relief.”
Mazur said the decision resulted from hearing employer “concerns about the complexity of the requirements.” The delay, he said, would allow for further dialog with “stakeholders,” leading to the promulgation of rules for compliance with the reporting requirement.
We asked Howard Bashford, Mazur’s auxiliary subassistant for media relations, who the “stakeholders” were, and he told us, “Well, businesses and insurance companies, of course, but primarily President Obama and the Democratic Party. 2014 is an election year, you know.
“Why do you think we made the announcement while the chief executive was out of the country?”
Nothing could be more transparent.
You want more transparency?
We offer James Clapper.
Clapper, our director of national intelligence, apologized for providing the Congress “erroneous” information about data collection by the National Security Agency.
You may recall Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Clapper last March if the NSA collected “any type of data” on millions of America.
Clapper said, “No.”
He clarified, “There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”
Then came Edward Snowden’s revelation that the NSA was gathering huge amounts of data on virtually all Americans, and the further revelation that it was building a multi-billion-dollar data-storage installation in Utah to stockpile the information.
In his apology, Clapper said his answer was “clearly erroneous.” He wrote to Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., that he had “thought long and hard to recreate what went through my mind at the time.”
It seems he was confused by the words “any kind.” He thought when Wyden asked about “any kind of data,” the senator surely must have meant the “content” of Americans’ telephone and Internet communications.
Clapper went on to explain that the section of the Patriot Act covering collection of such things as phone numbers, times of calls, duration of calls and the like just slipped his mind. He “simply didn’t think” of the pertinent section.
“Instead,” he said, “my answer focused on the collection of the content of communications.”
Well, there you go. Further, Clapper surely deserves credit for telling MSNBC that his response to Wyden was the “least untruthful” possible.
And White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was accurate when he said Clapper had given an answer that was “straight and direct.” False, perhaps, but nevertheless straight and direct.
Now, some legislators – notably Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. – have applied such ungenerous terms as “lying” and “perjury” to Clapper’s initial answer. Apparently Paul hasn’t been in Washington, D.C., long enough to know that testimony before Congress is susceptible to revision via mental self-analysis regarding what one really “meant.”
Thus, the answers “no” and “not wittingly” can be reshaped ex post facto and excused with the words, “I apologize.”
In the nation’s capital, this sort of thing is regarded as perfectly reasonable, though it may ever be impossible to link the words “wit” and “intelligence” with an individual whose mental confusion keeps him from understanding the words “any kind of data.”
In fact, the mental confusion defense has been institutionalized by the Obama administration, which was too stupid to understand the implication of running guns to violent, Mexican drug cartels, too mentally paralyzed to try and rescue our personnel in Benghazi, too ignorant to know it was wiretapping news reporters (and their parents) and too obtuse to recognize abuse of power by the Internal Revenue Service.
In light of all this, we submit the following entries in the Blind Partisan’s Dictionary:
Lie – n. – In the Congress, and other legislatures and political capitals, a false statement that may be made true after the fact.
Perjury – n. – False statements made under oath that always result from failure of memory, misunderstanding a question or mental disability. The falsehood may be remedied, according with political standing of the perpetrator.
Untruthful – adj. – unable to lie convincingly.