The President Locks Up The “Lie of the Year” Early

forked tongeThere has been controversy lately over the “lie of the year” designation. PolitiFact, true to its partisan-but-nobody-will admit-it soul, picked a Mitt Romney campaign accusation as its “lie of the year,” even though it wasn’t nearly the worst lie of the campaign, or even Romany’s worst. In fact, it was literally true. Romney had issued an ad saying that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China—that was supposedly the lie—and in fact all Jeeps will now be made in China. Oh, well, election over, Romney lost, what’s done is done, mission accomplished, right, Politifact?

Thus it is mighty kind of President Obama to wrap up the lie of the year competition early and decisively in a national forum where one least belongs, his Inaugural Address. I’m sure PolitiFact won’t see it that way, but I’m engraving his name on the Ethics Alarms trophy right now.

The lie:

“The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security–these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

Does anyone believe this? Does anyone believe that the national debt, which is relentlessly inflated daily by the runaway costs of those “commitments,” not to mention the waste and fraud that they encourage and permit, does not increasingly prevent us from taking risks as a nation and a world power? People are dying in Syria because the United States can’t afford to risk becoming embroiled there, so we have played the typical pusillanimous U.N. game of empty threats and ineffective sanctions. America no longer has the best transportation infrastructure in the world, or even the infrastructure it needs to have a healthy economic recovery, because so much of the budget is devoted to those constantly expanding “commitments” that spending the trillions required is a greater risk than letting the roads and bridges and sewers rot beneath us. Building the interstate highway system in the Eisenhower administration was a bold risk that made our country great—don’t tell us that we are more free to take such risks because so-called entitlements now are the single largest budget-eater. The nation has no spending flexibility at all, with a fiscal crisis looming, and those commitments are a large component of the reason.

The President thinks that entitlements should be not be reformed, cut, or made more efficient? Fine. I can respect that opinion. He believes that spending money on social welfare is more important than anything else the nation does, that it is, in the end, a welfare state, and should aspire to be more of one? Great. Those are his priorities. But don’t insult the intelligence of the informed citizens while making the uninformed citizens even dumber by asserting that massive spending on entitlements increases our ability to be bold and attempt new initiatives, because that is utter nonsense.

Obama was just talking about individual risk, you say? That’s not what “we” means in an inaugural address, but let’s ignore that: even then it’s a lie. Risk means that one actually risks something to build or accomplish something else. If the government promises to minimize your risk, then that is license to be irresponsible, not to take true risks. The government continues to pay out millions to homeowners who knowingly and repeatedly build homes in flood zones, hurricane zones, and where wildfires rage annually. Does that foolish policy strengthen us?

Finally, we are a nation of takers, and addressing that deadly cultural problem requires honesty, not denial. When nearly 50% of citizens pay no Federal Income Tax, when nearly the same percentage depend on regular checks from the government, when the executives of irresponsible, corrupt and reckless companies like AIG demand huge Federal bail-outs and still hand over six and seven-figure bonuses to themselves, when public unions threaten violence when their tax-payer funded pensions are reduced, when our leaders sell their loyalties for millions in political contributions, when wealthy seniors revolt at the suggestion that their Social Security benefits might be deferred, reduced or taxed so that there will be a healthy system for their grandchildren, when yuppies recoil in horror at the suggestion that “Sesame Street” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” should be funded the same way any other TV or radio show is on commercial television, we’re not only a nation of takers, we are becoming more greedy, arrogant, irresponsible and reckless about it, too.

That’s why we need truth, not comforting, uplifting lies…like the Lie of the Year.

___________________________

Spark: Kathleen Parker

Sources: Yahoo, Weekly Standard, Washington Post, Quartz, Houston Chronicle

Graphic: The owner of the forked tongue in the photo originally I used asked that it be taken down, and I complied. The current photo is from my files, and I have no record of where it hails from.

48 thoughts on “The President Locks Up The “Lie of the Year” Early

  1. Way beyond a stretch, Jack. I actually agree with the Prez on this. We can keep Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid AND solve our debt problem. Not that we’re headed in that direction, but we could. just look at Simpson-Bowles.

    • That’s not contrary to why its a lie, though, Bob. If we do that ( and we can’t, but that’s a different issue, there is still no money for anything else—those risks that make us “great.” And Obama rejected Simpson-Bowles. Come on.

    • I agree with Ethics Bob: you are totally off base here Jack. People may reasonably disagree on whether the costs of these programs are worth the societal benefits. What we need in Congress are some reasonable people willing to see both sides, reach reasonable agreement as to how such programs can be improved, and have the courage to implement those improvements. In the interim, calling what is clearly an aspirational/inspirational statement a lie is unproductive.

      • I’m not talking about “societal benefits” and steering the argument that way is a dodge.. Sure paying money to people has societal benefits. But it interferes with other priorities if it takes up too much of available resources and prevents other crucial initiatives and projects, and certainly does not make either the nation or individuals take more risks. Bob is spinning, frankly, and its disappointing. The statement is deceptive nonsense on it face. What’s aspirational about it? Keep borrowing to pay more and more money to the least productive, least able, least successful members of society in greater and greater numbers, and that will make us stronger“? Not “more compassionate”, but stronger? I guess if your “aspiration” is to be Sweden, and then Greece. I didn’t think many Americans see that as an aspiration. If Obama does, then maybe he is telling the truth. Then he’s not lying…he’s just in the wrong job.

        • I can understand not wanting to be Greece, but what’s wrong with Sweden? They have a rapidly growing economy (for a developed country), budget surpluses, a low national debt and a trade surplus. Is it because they are too cold?

            • Yep, America has those categories sewn up. Mind you, many Swedes are descended from Vikings, so I’d bet that they are pretty rough beneath their relatively straightlaced exterior. Also, they eat lutefisk and write some pretty strange detective fiction, so they certainly in the running in the crazy category.

              Not a big fan of fish, but Swedish Fish is a wonderful candy.

    • First, these are not social commitments, they are government obligations. I agree that our social commitments, the ones we do voluntarily within our families and communities give us strength. But I have seen the harm cause by medicaid and disability insurance first hand, they do not make us stronger.

      Second, how does forcibly taking money from poor young workers and giving it to old non-working wealthy people free us to take risks? Note, I am using wealthy correctly here as a measure of asset’s not income. According to an old CNN article the average net worth for those 65+ was
      $232,000+ while the average net worth for those25-34 was $9,000. Maybe a tax holiday for all earnings during the ages of 19-30 would encourage risk taking, but slapping a huge regressive wage tax on the poorest workers in the country does not encourage risk.

    • “The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security–these things do not sap our initiative”

      “[The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] strengthen us.”

      Brian addressed this well. Ignoring the loaded language of ‘commitments’ in this instance, I will clarify: commitments in and of themselves do not strengthen us. Fulfilling commitments we make do strengthen us, they strengthen discipline, they strengthen trust. However, if we have over-committed ourselves, over-promised ourselves and we cannot fulfill the committments, then no, our commitments actually weaken us.

      “[The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] do not make us a nation of takers”

      Actually, by legistlation they do make us a nation of takers. The people are not ‘giving’ when the government has mandated taking. So, semantically, this one is a lie. More and more so, when those who receive from that which is taken are less and less contributing anything at all back to the system.

      “[The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security] free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

      This is another word-play that is true in context, but plain illogical in this context. When a bank commits to giving me a business loan, then yes, I am free to take a risk that may help make this country great. When the government has forfeited some of my pay-check to fund the retirement of others, then the assertion does not follow.

      These assertions are all based on loaded language and are flowery political statements lacking real meaning. Since, they don’t lack meaning, they deceive.

    • I’m with Bob on this. The gigantic budget for the military is ripe for logical and justifiable cutbacks, but politically, a dangerous one to posit, despite the fact that it is morally correct and long overdue. Instead, there are those who, with nothing else left to cut, look to social programs that have been proven to improve Americans lives and the America within which they live. We do not need a military budget that is more than our enemies and allies combined. We need a Military budget that is dynamic, smart and addresses real dangers, potential and present; not one borne from continuous war or manufactured fear.

  2. Jack, it is a pleasure to see you calling out the naked emperor for his code words of fiscal dereliction. Borrowing (who doesn’t, concerning money that is, these days?) some old terms of government-ese applied to fiscal matters, we are far beyond the naïve, giddy, hopeful “commitment” stage. In the U.S., we are Greeking right along through the “obligations” and “expenditures” stages – you know, like, when money is truly on the move, never mind whether it’s actually acquiring or paying for anything that’s worth a tinker’s cuss. The “commitments” may strengthen us, but the obligations and expenditures are killing us. So we kill ourselves with kindness. How ethical. Let’s give our emperor a third term; at least he can’t get more naked. Another $multi-million Hawaiian golf vacation is in order.

  3. I guess if I were to take an adversarial position on this I would say that Social Security pays for itself through the money collected – but what is broken about it is that the money has been invested in the US Ponzi scheme at too low of an interest rate. The US Government essentially took out a loan against the 401K of our future with no intention of repaying in full.

  4. I agree with everything you said and especially the way you said it; But lie of the year? Whoa …..hold up fellas. Hillary isn’t through speaking yet. Let’s talk again after the hearing, being broadcast as we speak. (If I close my eyes, I visualize a SNL comedy sketch in the making).

    • No, it would beat out any lie Hillary may or may not say. Benghazi, as heinous as the death of our personnel due to negligience is, still pales in comparison to our Nation being brought under and everyone with it by the perpetual lie that we can keep spending and spending.

  5. The most frustrating thing for me when hearing the President’s inaugural address is the sheer refusal to acknowledge the situation the country is facing. Simply, this is a math problem. The nation’s expenditures far exceed what it brings in through taxes and other revenue. Granted, we have been able to borrow money to pay for these programs, and we will be able to do this for some time, but not forever. Eventually, the borrowers (foreign nations and our own citizens) will begin to require higher and higher interest rates, and the country will begin to go into a death spiral toward economic disaster. Everyone sees it. Unfortunately, no one really has the strength to do what is necessary to solve the problem, because it will be painful and the people may not re-elect them. Either we raise taxes further (which will only reduce the problem, even 100% tax rates wouldn’t balance our budget) or we cut spending, or both. The spending cuts will have to be deep and meaningful. They will require a major change to our mandatory entitlements if they are to continue. Obviously we know that any of those measures will suck for some people, but something has to be done.
    Unfortunately, the President is going to double down on the spending and the rhetoric, further exacerbating the problem. I feel like the only other time our nation has faced such a perilous situation where everyone the road led to disaster but kept kicking the can down the road was prior to the Civil War. Hopefully, we will get some actual leadership (At this point, I could give a crap which party it is) and they will avert the crisis before it is too late.

    I won’t hold my breath.

    • That certainly is the frustration. The problem is blindingly simple. It’s a simple mathematical equation. Only one side doesn’t equal the other side… And the aside that is larger is composed of dozens of tiny little ‘interested parties’ that not one feels obligated to give up what it has been convinced is its right to have.

      The utterly elementary nature of this is intentionally ignored simply because the politicians will lose their votes and be replaced by the next set of pre purchasers.

  6. I think it is pretty clear that Obama is saying that government programs make individuals more willing to take risks. I don’t know what you mean when you say that that is not what “we” means in an inaugural address. Do you mean that every instance of the word “we” or its equivalents should be able to be replaced by “The United States”? If so, then not all inaugural addresses follow this rule. For example, could you change Lincoln’s 1st inaugural to refer to “the better angels of the United States’s nature.”

    Also, I don’t think America is refraining from intervention in Syria because it is unable to get the funds to pay for it. The interest rate on a ten-year US bond was around 1.82% on January 19. Clearly, a lot of people would be very happy to lend America money to pay for intervention in Syria or anything else. I think the real reason why America does not intervene in Syria is because it would cost a lot of money (which would matter whether the money was borrowed, raised by current taxes or obtained in any other way), it could potentially cost a lot of lives, and it might not have a net positive effect on the situation.

    • It’s not pretty clear, and it doesn’t even make sense. Who is “us” then? Makes them stronger if he was talking about individuals—makes us stronger implies the nation, the public. Admittedly, this was more of a campaign speech than a real inaugural, but when the President says “we” he means the American people, not individual Americans. This is a speech traditionally about union and collective effort.

      There are other arguments not to go into Syria, but since administration members and Senators used the debt and deficit to argue against engagement in Libya, I presume the same factors attach. And the 3 trillion or so fixing the infrastructure will cost?

      • It doesn’t make much sense to say “We are able to take more geopolitical risks thanks to government programs”. If Obama says “[Government social welfare programs] free us to take the risks that make this country great”, he must mean individual Americans can take more risks, knowing that there is a social safety net if they fail.

        In this case, saying that intervention in Syria would be bad because of the deficit is equivalent to saying that the intervention in Syria would be bad because it would add too much to the deficit. They are not saying that they can’t intervene in Syria because they are unable to borrow money to do so.

        I really have no idea why America is not spending more on infrastructure right now. The costs required to repair infrastructure will have to be borne some day, so it doesn’t matter whether future generations have to pay for improving infrastructure themselves in the future or whether they have to pay for the debt incurred for infrastructure in the present. As I said, the government can borrow money really cheaply right now, so borrowing now to fix infrastructure would be a good idea.

    • 1. Couldn’t that be anybody’s split tongue?
      2. “Forked tongue” is a metaphor for lie.
      3. Crossed digits is also a metaphor for lie.
      4. So a crossed, split tongue is a really cool metaphor for lying.
      5. If you want it taken down, just ask.

  7. Jack,

    I’m not going to get into the meat of this post as you’ve already been called out on most of your missteps. I’m just going to tackle your false and deceptive intro.

    First off, your stated “in fact all Jeeps will now be made in China.” That is false. Not even the Weekly Standard is claiming that.

    Your insistence that Romney’s comment wasn’t a lie isn’t quite as blatant, but is still something that you understand for nonpolitical subjects.

    From Politifact http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/dec/12/lie-year-2012-Romney-Jeeps-China/:
    “I saw a story today, that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China,” he said, to boos from the audience. “I will fight for every good job in America. I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it’s fair, America will win.”

    Romney may have actually seen the story (which did exist), but the story had already been debunked. After Romney was called on referencing a known falsehood, he didn’t apologize. Instead, he changed up the wording to simply imply that production would be moving to China.

    The Weekly standard skips context and pretends that it was just the latter statement, on its own, that was called out as a lie. I’m not sure how you fell for this. The lie is textbook deceit, a statement that is literally true but carefully phrased to make the gullible listener believe something that is not true.

    • Politifact admits that the story was literally accurate, which certainly disqualifies it as a “lie of the year,” even if you but their fevered “buts”. My understanding is that all Jeeps, as opposed to Jeep corporation vehicles, will in fact be made in China. That is fully consistent with Romney’s words, and only an ideologically hostile and biased organization—which Politifact represents itself as NOT being, would pick THAT as a “lie of the year.” His point was that that one of the bailed out entities was using the money to build the economy of other nations.

      • My understanding is that all Jeeps, as opposed to Jeep corporation vehicles, will in fact be made in China.

        The only Jeeps being made in China are Jeeps made specifically for the Chinese market and a model of Jeeps that is not sold in the U.S.

        Again, your statement is flat out false.

        Past that, your “fully consistent” argument is just like the argument you argued against on the Show Boat post. The last sentence of my post is actually a quote from you. Based on Romney’s prior reference to the situation (and his failure to correct his passing incorrect information), it is damned obvious that the intent was to mislead. That it was so brazen was why it was “lie of the year”.

        • I can’t find all the facts on this in the time I have, so I’ll assume thatthe Jeeps are for the Chinese market as you say—what does that change, regarding Romney’s point? Why couldn’t Jeeps for the Chinese market be made in the US, creating US jobs? Shouldn’t they have been? That was the gist of the attack. “Text book deceit” IS a lie, but this isn’t textbook deceit, as in “that’s not my dog.” And in the context of this campaign where there were literally nothing but such statements and much worse, this statement has the great advantage of being mostly true, as the Post factchecker likes to say, and thus it isn’t ‘textbook deceit”, unlike the Show Boat example. Unlike, say, that Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years, or that the GOP wants to put blacks in chains, or that Romney was responsible for a woman’s death by cancer, or that Obama hasn’t really increased the debt very much, or dozens of far more absolutely dishonest and intentionally misleading statements–true, unequivocal lies— from both sides.

          • I can’t find all the facts on this in the time I have, so I’ll assume thatthe Jeeps are for the Chinese market as you say [..]

            Are you saying you didn’t even read the Weekly Standard report that you linked to? Or the politifact post that you attacked? They both say it, though the Weekly Standard downplays it.

            […] what does that change, regarding Romney’s point?

            Romney’s point suggested that jobs building jeeps in the US were moving to China. That was a false implication. This is a direct parallel to Baker’s claim in showboat of having a drop of black blood in him.

            How do we know this? Because Romney passed along the false story of “all production” of Jeeps being moved to China. Because even you, an intelligent critic, believed that it was “all production” that was moving to China. You thought that’s what Romney meant. Your attempt to walk that back and find a second avenue for truth is dishonest.

            • “Romney’s point suggested that jobs building jeeps in the US were moving to China.” THAT’s what you think made it the lie of the year? Yes, that is deceit, and he was using the exact same dishonest definition that the Obama campaign used in multiple ads, about Bain “exporting jobs” abroad, when Bain was merely building companies that built factories abroad. I agree with, you that part of the statement is misleading and false—and it was the way sending jobs overseas was defined by his opponents. It’s even more ridiculous to call that a lie of the year when the party its directed against is estopped from disputing it! I’m not justifying what Romney did because Obama did it, I’m saying that iy can’t possibly be distinguished as a lie of the year because Obama did it more often and worse, and because if someone applies the same term to you in the same way you apply it to them, you can’t simultaneously argue that this definition is deceitful and keep using it yourself.

              • THAT’s what you think made it the lie of the year?

                Well, I actually read the politifact story, so, yes. Again, that you bought Romney’s lie, even after it was explained to you, shows just how big a lie it was.

                The rest of your reply is built on a falsehood. Bain did remove US jobs and replace them with overseas work. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-06-21/politics/35460959_1_american-jobs-private-equity-firm-employment

                While I generally agree with your estoppel argument, there are 2 details that I have a problem with. First, estoppel doesn’t apply to outside parties. Second, After Romney claimed Obama’s ads were deceitful based on this logic, using the same logic makes his lie considerably more brazen. This is deceitful. Now, watch me do it!

    • Part 2: Tgt, if you applied the same vaunted vigor of language, logic and analysis you insist on from everyone else here, to the President’ cynical, nonsensical and irresponsible as well as dishonest statement, you would have a field day. I don’t want to speculate why you won’t.
      The desperate need for infrastructure repair, which you have said in the past that you recognize, alone exposes it. Entitlements at the current levels make the country weaker, less able to defend itself, less supporting of risk and initiative, less friendly to business and wealth creation, reduces the options and chances of success for succeeding generations, and in not addressed, will ruin the nation’s economy. And for anyone, especially the President, to state that the opposite is true is perfidy of the worst sort. Garbage about mutual commitments implies reasonable commitments, deserved commitments, knowing commitments, wise commitments, mutual commitments, informed commitments,and fair commitments, and that is not what the entitlements the President is extolling are.

      • The infrastructure is not being paid for due to republican hatred of spending and their refusal to admit that we need to spend infrastructure money. The euphemistic “entitlements” aren’t the problem.

        your follow up complaint about entitlements could be said about any money spent on, well, anything. Some of them are likely more true than false. Some of them are likely more false than true. Your argument is generally: We spend too much on X, so we don’t spend enough on A, B, and C. How do you know we spend to much on X? Well… because we don’t spend enough on A, B, and C… or maybe because you don’t like X. At best, your argument is circular.

        I think both the President’s statements and implications are true. The President is saying that our social support system allows people take risks in jobs knowing they will not starve if they fail. It allows them to invest in their initiative instead of saving every penny for retirement. A country with a strong safety net is a more secure country than one that has a weaker safety net. Instead of actually looking at what the President implied and what can be reasonably inferred from his statement, you went into a knee-jerk attack at the cost, and the completely false assumption that removing the safety net would free up money for other projects.

        I can’t parse your last sentence, and I can’t even tell what you’re referring to (This is the first instance of “mutual” on this page) so I’m letting that go until it is rephrased and given context.

        • The infrastructure isn’t being paid for because in the advance stage of indebtedness with a government unwilling to make structural changes in the budget process to relieve the problem, spending the necessary trillions is just as suicidal as not spending them on the infrastructure,with the first catastrophe arriving faster than the second. Only the most blindered partisan can say that’s the Republicans fault. You’re just irrational on the debt crisis. I expect that “take now,” “pay when I’m dead” crowd (joined by the “borrow now, pay when I’m retired and senile” legislators), but the fact that people with brains have taken this position—like Krugman, who does have a brain, though it is often in hiding—is far scarier. And that they excuse it when the President gives the gullible soothing, cynical poison like the statement in question.

          • You’re confusing what you think should happen with why things are actually happening.

            You think that the entitlements are causing us not to spend on infrastructure, but we didn’t build any of the necessary infrastructure when we running a surplus either. During the Bush years, the republican belief was that “We’re the best country in the world!!!! We don’t need new stinking infrastructure!!!” Now it’s “The government is too big!!! Building the infrastructure is socialism!!!”

            The entitlements have nothing to do with it.

              • The rest is an argument for why entitlements have nothing to do with it. If you stipulate the rest, the conclusion is required. X has existed for years and hasn’t ever been suggested as the reason we don’t do Y. X is not the reason we don’t do Y now.

            • I wonder also if Congress refuses to invest in infrastructure because, by its nature, the effect of a lot of infrastructure spending is local or regional. For example, if a bridge is built in a state, most of the benefits of that bridge will go to the state. Members of Congress from out of that state will not want to build that bridge unless their state can get something similar. Congress doesn’t want to build bridges to nowhere in states that don’t need them, so bridges to somewhere don’t get built.

  8. I don’t see how these “obligations” free me to take risks, they just put me in a financial survival mode. Lets take a look at what these requirements, sorry, commitments cost. My wife and I make about $70,000/year (not salary, but our TRUE earnings). This puts me just above average (60th %ile). Of this, about 35% goes to taxes (federal income tax, social security tax. unemployment tax, state income tax, county property tax, state property tax, state sales tax, car registration fees, local sales tax, etc) . Of these taxes, all my federal taxes are given to other Americans (Medicare, Social Security, and federal pensions take up ALL taxes received). I pay nothing for the military, roads, federal justice system, FDA, etc, because my government takes out a loan in my name to pay for those.
    All my federal taxes are just given to other Americans. That is $1200/month. That is more than our house payment and both our car payments combined. This pays for the health insurance, food, and housing for the 50% of Americans that don’t pay much or any federal taxes. In addition, I don’t get such benefits from the government myself. I have to shell out $10,000/year for health insurance and an additional $2000 for healthcare (co-pays, deductibles, etc) as mandated by law. After that, I only have 48% of my income left. I can’t save effectively for my own retirement, I am paying for other people’s retirement right now (remember, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme).
    This doesn’t make us a nation of takers, but it does make HALF us us takers and the other half givers. Half of Americans are taking from the other half. We aren’t paying for programs that benefit all, but redistributing a LOT of wealth. I am paying for the house payment and two car payments for some other family (in essence). Wealthier people are paying even more.
    My family’s share of the federal debt is $200,000. How am I going to pay this back? It really is probably $400,000 because half of America isn’t going to chip in and I will be required to pay someone else’s share.
    How does this make us stronger? How does this not sap individual initiative and promote class strife? How does racking up such a massive and crippling debt free us to take risks? We live knowing that the only thing that keeps our society from crashing is that we have been able to keep the interest rate low. If interest goes to 5%, my family’s share of the interest is $11,000/year for the 4 of us (or $22,000 when I have to pay someone els’e share). How am I going to be able to afford that? How does that make me ‘strong’ and willing to take ‘risks’?
    I have no way out. My wife keeps going back to school to get better jobs, but if her income increases much, we will go into another tax bracket that will result in us having LESS money. Is this the situation I am supposed to celebrate?

  9. Jack follows good ethics here instead of just sticking to legality, but you might want to be careful in your accusations. This looks like a case of fair use to me.

        • I knew you would take the picture down, but removing the comment (and not including an update to the post) seems a bit sketchy to me. On the selfish side, her lack of grammar and failure to understand copyright law looked like fun..

          • Here’s the thing: I had written her off-site and suggested that she e-mail me about her desires on my regular account, since it wasn’t a debate for the purposes of the post. And I e-mailed a response to her last post. I don’t think personal beefs with me should be on the blog, as with the several lawyers who have threatened to sue me so I’d take down unflattering posts, and the fake lawyer for that American Idol creep, whose pal posed as a lawyer while giving me the name of his lawyer employer who barely knew who he was.

            But why would changing the photo, which was satiric rather than substantive, require a post update?

            • Your explanation for the post removal makes sense to me.

              I think even cosmetic changes to posts should bring with them an updated tag. It might just be my software engineer change management background, or it might be a valid concern about the impression silent changes give off. An appearance of impropriety type issue.

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