Lying in the Homeland

Another terrorist attack on the Homeland has left 12 Americans dead, 58 injured.

And it’s clear that Friday’s theater shooting was a terrorist attack. Terror was the gunman’s intent. It’s just that the terrorist doesn’t look like the ones that lunatic Congresswoman Michele Bachmann fears are infiltrating the U.S. government. The words being used in the media – “shooting spree,” “Batman massacre” – are carefully coded to keep the tragedy at arm’s length, and do not ask you to think, or to pass judgment. It’s like that use of the word “Homeland” in our post-9/11 world. In conjures images of families waiting for the apple pie to come out of the over. If you question anything that has to do with protecting the “Homeland,” you’re un-American.

A lot of outraged people are trying to pry the gun from Charlton Heston’s “cold dead hands,” as he says. Or said. Clearly, our home-grown terrorists – and their arms dealers, the National Rifle Association – are a greater danger to us than the Muslims that Bachmann sees in Hillary Clinton’s office. Words are dangerous, when left in the hands of someone like Heston or Bachmann.  We should always use the right ones, so that we can all grasp the problem.

Mitt Romney is tangled in so many words, it’s a feat for him just to step up to the microphone to tell another lie without falling on his face. All week long the evidence piled up, showing that Romney is clearly lying about his involvement in Bain Capital, the job-gobbling outsourcing money-juggling company that stands for what’s wrong with American business today. He says he retired from the company in 1999, before Bain’s most-egregious acts against the American worker. The paper trail says he was still with the company in to 2002. To cover his tracks, a Romney spokesman came up with an amazing linguistic sidestep: “Retroactive retirement.”

Joe Paterno wasn’t a football coach, he was a shield for a sexual predator. As were the school’s president and athletic director. College sports is loaded with miscreants. If you took comfort in the usual sports columnist line that at least Penn State was doing it right and honorably, oh man, were you ever fooled. That was one big lie with cheerleaders. Penn State is now in the midst of the biggest sports scandal ever.

Frackling? We’re going to crack this planet in half in the relentless and unnecessary pursuit of gas and oil.  On Wednesday night’s Late Show with David Letterman, the host found words you don’t normally hear on the late-night yak circuit, attacking the  “greedy oil and gas companies of this country.” Adding, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re screwed,” he pointed out areas of water contamination. “The Delaware Water Gap has been ruined. The Hudson Valley has been ruined. Most of Pennsylvania has been ruined. Virginia, West Virginia has been ruined. Colorado has been ruined. New Mexico has been ruined.”

So you chuckle whenever someone says young people go to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show for their news? Funny, isn’t it, how comedians are the ones speaking the truth these days. Because we sure couldn’t trust Charlton Heston, Joe Paterno, Mitt Romney and that TV pitchwoman in the smart pants suit who tells us how wonderful it is that we’re sharing the planet with oil companies.