ONE MAN’S OPINION-What does “Liar, Liar, pants on fire” mean? We know it’s not literally true. If it were, then all politicians would be burnt to a crisp.
Basically, it’s a childhood taunt which expresses an inherent dislike of lies and people who tell them. Due to their powerlessness, children may be more acutely attuned to the harm of lying. When trying to gain some degree of control, being told falsehoods can be upsetting. The Santa lie can later result in our understanding that its purpose was to control our behavior, scaring us with the fear that Santa knows “who’s naughty and nice.”
Much of the anger that comes from being lied to probably derives from children being constantly told that lying is bad, while the powerful people -- parents, teachers, police -- lie with impunity. “Liar, liar, pants on fire” expresses the wish of the victim.
The Grand Justification for Lying
People lie because they want something. The social harm comes from people’s belief that their desires for personal gain converts their lie into a moral virtue. The two things liars usually want are money and/or power. (Escaping blame for wrongdoing means not paying the price for prior bad behavior, e.g., loss of money or prison.)
Lying Tends to Corrupt and Extensive Lying Destroys
As Lord Acton said, “power tends to corrupt,” and corruption tends to destroy. When social institutions are riddled with liars, our society can self-destruct. For example, when manufacturers lie about the contents of pet food, our dogs and cats die. When newspapers become pawns of politicos and publish grand lies either by omission of material facts or by outright falsehoods, people make terrible decisions. The Los Angeles Times and Channel 4 KNBC, along with most other media, are engaged in a massive lying campaign about the homeless crisis. They conceal that destruction of rent- controlled housing and densification have created the homeless crisis. The homes of more than 60,000 Angelenos were destroyed by the lust for dollars and power on the part of developers and Eric Garcetti.
Homelessness became a crisis, rather than a manageable social problem, due to the policy that allowed for destroying rent-controlled housing. That type of housing tends to cost less to for a developer to buy; the less he pays for land, the greater his eventual profits will be. Destruction of poor people’s homes is exactly what society needs government to fix. It took no political genius to figure out that if you destroy the homes of poor people, the rate of homelessness would significantly increase. When a $450 a month apartment is destroyed, the poor person is faced with paying $1,050 a month in rent. If he cannot double up with that, he becomes homeless. Constructing additional $1,050 a month apartments will not help an elderly disabled person on social security who cannot afford more than $500 a month.
The Big Lie which the LA Times, Eric Garcetti, Sen. Scott Wiener, and all the other bigwigs have repeated is that lack of construction has created the homeless crisis. No, it has not. It has been the destruction of poor people’s homes. Constructing projects in high density areas is based on the lie that land values do not affect rents. The higher the density, the more the land is worth per square foot and the higher the eventual rents. High density construction just aggravates the problem.
Lies Fleece the Gullible
By intentionally causing the homeless crisis, Garcetti and his minions in the media have convinced the public to approve billions of dollars in bonds for “affordable housing.” That was pure scam. As the federal court case of Sunnyslope (No. 13-16180, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9198 (9th Cir. 2017) (en banc) revealed, developers take the “affordable housing” money to construct their projects and then go bankrupt, keeping all the public money and then a kindly court removes the affordable housing component so that the entire project becomes market rate. The developer does not have to repay any of the public money, even though there is not a single unit in the new building for a poor family. The feds stopped that practice.
The Highest and Best Use Lie
The Sunnyslope case revealed the inherent lie in the “highest and best use” real estate meme. Basically, the falsehood says that the best use for any property is creating maximum profit for the owner. In a society where the dollar trumps all other considerations, the meme is accurate. This is America under Trump and Los Angeles under Garcetti. Destroying the homes of poor people who then will be thrown onto the streets to suffer and prematurely die is not even mentioned because a luxury high-rise apartment house generates more revenue than a modest 12-unit building with a lower profit margin. The Sunnyvale court, based on a case from Arizona, ruled that if you take money to construct housing for poor people, then you are stuck with a project for poor people. In other words, the court said, “Liar, Liar, we are setting your pocketbook on fire.”
Why Point to Garcetti, the Local Media and the Developer Liars?
When we are confronted with Donald Trump, the grandest liar in recent memory, Democrats and their media buddies conceal the fact that lying is pandemic among Democrats. That means lying inhabits our entire political life. The legal word for this phenomenon is “passim,” which means something happens so often that one cannot list all the places it occurs. The GOP lies, Garcetti lies, Housewives of Beverly Hills lie, rich parents getting kids into USC lie, USC lies, judges habitually lie, etc. Lying has become the American Way of Life.
The Russian Collusion Lie
The GOP lies about there being no collusion and the Dems lie about there being collusion. The likelihood that Trump actually conspired with Putin to win the election was nil. The “adoptions” meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian attorney showed that Trump was not conspiring with Putin. If he had been, there would have been no need for the meeting. Certainly, after that meeting, there wasn’t going to be any conspiring – who would be dumb enough to conspire with Donny Jr.? Not Putin. Kushner walked out of the meeting.
As Mueller’s Report pointed out, however, Trump’s failure to conspire with Russia did not mean Putin did not interfere with our elections. Mueller laid bare the detestable workings of the Trump Administration resulting in Attorney General William Barr’s issuing a misleading summary of the Mueller Report and then lying to Congress.
Attorney General William Barr’s Blatant Lie Shows How Low We Have Fallen
Whom do we blame for Barr’s undeniable lie to Congress? How about Nancy Pelosi? She’s the one behind the false part of the collusion investigation. Her goal was aggrandizement of personal power and she thought that a prolonged investigation of collusion would result in more Democrats being elected to Congress. She was successful in regaining her power as Speaker of the House, but America was the loser. The Mueller Report’s honest conclusion of no collusion overshadowed its finding of acts to obstruct justice. Pelosi traded her short-term personal political gain against the longer-term welfare of the nation.
Don’t Blame Trump or Pelosi
Lying is passim for one reason. We the People reward liars. Politicians who do not lie lose elections. Americans have no use for truth. We want hyper-emotional memes that support our prejudices. Unless a politician tells us lies, he or she is gone.
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.