The Strange, Strange Case Of The President’s Uncle: Why Trivial Lies Matter

Bill Clinton now seems to suggest that he was joking in the infamous interview back in 1993 when he claimed that he “didn’t inhale.” Yeah, that’s some comic delivery you had there, Bill. The moment seemed to encapsulate Clinton’s remarkably generous definition of truthfulness, and for the rest of his political career to date, it has proven to be an accurate predictor.

What has always seemed notable about Clinton is that he will lie when he doesn’t have to, about matters large and small. It is the trivial, pointless lies, in fact, that really inform us about a public figure’s truthfulness. A normally ethical individual, in a crisis and a moment of panic, might speak a falsehood, as all of us might and probably have. People with integrity, however, don’t resort to lies as a first option.

That is why yesterday’s puzzling story about President Obama’s uncle is insignificant in itself, but very significant as the nation and the public reaches a verdict–and such verdicts are almost impossible to overturn—regarding the trustworthiness of this leader and his government. The Washington Post relates:

“The White House acknowledged Thursday that President Obama lived with his uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while he was a student at Harvard Law School — despite previously saying there was no record of the two having met.”The president did stay with him for a brief period of time until his apartment was ready,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. “After that, they saw each other once every few months, but after law school they fell out of touch. The president has not seen him in 20 years, has not spoken with him in 10. ”

Onyango “Omar” Obama faced a deportation hearing earlier this week following a drunk-driving arrest. During the hearing, he said that the president had lived with him while he was a student at Harvard. The Boston Globe reported in 2012, after Omar Obama’s arrest, that the White House said he had “never met his famous nephew.” The White House now says it only told the Globe that there was no record of the two having met — not definitively that they hadn’t met.

In its report Thursday, the Globe confirmed that the White House initially said that there was no record that they had met. It said the White House never asked for a correction. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at Thursday’s White House briefing that, when the issue of Obama’s uncle came up in 2011, the press office “looked at the president’s records, including the president’s book” and found no reference to him. “That was what was conveyed,” he said. “No one had spoken to the president.


I have no idea what to make of this:

  • The White House officially told the media that the President had never met his uncle without asking the President?
  • The White House was being deceitful by saying there was no record of him knowing his uncle, when it knew that they had met?
  • Do White House spokesperson speak for the President when they have no idea what he would say?
  • Are they making all of this stuff up?

No one had spoken to the President?

Isn’t the fact that a White House spokesman is going to inform the press about a matter only the President could know about, uh, a kind of mandatory situation where somebody needs to talk to him? So far this year, we have learned that the President didn’t know what the IRS was doing, didn’t know that its actions were being investigated, didn’t know what was happening when the Benghazi compound was overrun, didn’t know what the NSA was doing domestically, didn’t know it was spying on foreign leaders, and had no idea that preparations for the Obamacare roll-out were a disaster-in-waiting. Now we are told that the President doesn’t even know what his official spokespersons are saying about facts in his own life that only he could know, and apparently doesn’t pay attention when false information is published all over the news media on his behalf.  And when he finds out about these things that were going on without his knowledge, there are no apparent consequences for the subordinates responsible. What does this guy do all day? What does he think being President of the United States means?

I think the President’s relationship with his uncle is even less consequential than young Bill Clinton’s pot smoking exploits, but the fact that the public can’t even get a straight answer about something this trivial is far more significant than Bill’s risible claim that he didn’t inhale. In light of this bizarre episode, I don’t see any reason to believe the White House, or the President, about anything. Ever.


Facts: Washington Post

49 thoughts on “The Strange, Strange Case Of The President’s Uncle: Why Trivial Lies Matter

  1. Take a peek under the hood of the bush family and apply that same scrutiny to some of the “facts” that are claimed there. Please. And I am not defending Obama… Anyone that entangled in power has plenty of skulls, skeletons & bones in their closets – it is a prerequisite.

    I suggest “Family of Secrets” by Russ Baker – It will blow your mind. Or you can choose to ignore it and carry on as usual. One of GHWB’s biggest whoppers is “I was never in the CIA” until 1974, when he was made the head of the CIA. That’s a great reason to believe anything out of that rapscallion’s repertoire.

    • But BBA—when you are a spy, you are never supposed to admit you are a spy. There are professions where lying is ethical—the problem is that those who are in such professions usually can’t break the habit. I rather like the British series “MI5” on this phenomenon. At least spies are trained liars. The stuff Obama says–inexplicable.

    • Blameblakeart, While we’re at it, we can take a look at the Tudor family (that Henry XIII was a piece of work, let me tell you), their moral failings are just as relevant to the discussion as the Bush family’s. The post is about President OBAMA. While Jack could have used the discovery of yet another instance of casual deceit by the current administration as opportunity to discuss the failings of the previous one, I for one, one would have had trouble following his logic.
      It amazes me that people with no professed interest in defending President Obama are so quick to respond to criticism of his character and policies by talking about other people. I agree, though, that responding to this post with a non sequitur constitutes “not defending Obama”, at least not effectively, but it makes we wonder what your point IS. Was it just to accuse Jack of being a conservative shill for even talking about this? Because you managed to fit that in.

  2. Interesting observation. So we a Spy the head of our government. Is that another profession that where lying is justified? I know the answer to that question of course. But this Mindset has seeped into the “drinking water of Freedom and Democracy” like Fracking fluid – and now it permeates everywhere.

    • Bush 41 is near the dead bottom of my presidential honors list, and yes, you can never trust a former spy. Leaders have to lie on occasion—they don’t have to lie anywhere near as often as they do. Doctors and lawyers have circumstances where they have to lie. Parents sometimes have to lie. Spies are in the only non-criminal profession I know of where lying is core to the job.

            • Mostly for being a virulent racist and reinstating Jim Crow with a vengeance—also for paving the way to WW II by caving on the punitive Versailles Treaty in exchange for a League of Nations he couldn’t get approved at home…and then there’s the fact that he let his wife and doctor run the country after his stroke. Come to think of it, maybe he should be last…

              • And for starting a leftist movement for the undoing of the Constitution and the establishment of an unaccountable elitist tyranny. In other words, progressivism. His successor disciples were FDR, LBJ, Carter and now (perhaps the last… one way or another) Obama. Obama’s story has yet to be written and Wilson’s record is somewhat mixed. For myself, the single most destructive president in my time was Lyndon Johnson.

                  • I missed your question, BB. Johnson heads my list of presidential infamy for all sorts of reasons. First of all, he was one of the most corrupt and tyrannical politicians of his time… even before he left Texas to become a U.S. Senator. He parlayed his rural vote fraud machine- which, in conjunction with the Daley Machine in Chicago, threw the election to JFK- into the Vice Presidential spot. No… I don’t believe he is implicated in Kennedy’s assassination, but he was quick enough to undertake a policy shift to the Left before Kennedy was even cold in his grave. Then the fun followed. Taxes, the Great Society, racial strife, the Americanization and politicization of the Vietnam conflict and the resulting opportunity afforded to the leftist movement to do frightful damage to the social structure of this nation. The legacy he left haunts this nation to this day and is a burden that we will bear for a long time to come… if, in fact, it does not prove the beginning of the end of the American Republic.

  3. Remember the good ole days when it was so easy to give Obama a pass…the Jeremiah Wright situation, for instance…because so many people truly wanted to see him be successful? Seems so long ago. What a let down this president has become.

  4. I’m just going to pretend that BlameBlake isn’t talk, and move right on to my bigger concern…

    didn’t know [the NSA] was spying on foreign leaders

    He didn’t know the NSA was doing its fucking job????

    Does this motherfucker know fucking anything that goes on?

    Does he know that NASA sends shit into space? That the Department of Defense kills people and breaks things? That the IRS collects money?

  5. Obama has apparently adopted the Joseph Goebbels strategy: “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result,” he wrote. “It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”

  6. . White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at Thursday’s White House briefing that, when the issue of Obama’s uncle came up in 2011, the press office “looked at the president’s records, including the president’s book” and found no reference to him.

  7. Isn’t it interesting how, whenever someone says words to the effect of “I am not defending Obama”, they are always defending Obama?

    It’s like when someone says “I don’t want to lie to you” or “I don’t want to mislead you”, they are about to lie to you…

  8. I think it’s interesting that you are comparing if Obama, a product of Kissinger, and his lying (or whatever) about knowing his uncle or not, as in national security and importance in world events is Zero, and equating that with lying about “never would have conceived anyone flying planes into buildings”, the premise of the whole invasion of Iraq, and who would be paying for it, and Katrina (bush 43) the first gulf war, carlyle group, his whereabouts on November 22, 1963, Bohemian Grove, skull & bones, etc. (bush 41) . It’s the usual false equivalency, manufactured outrage, etc. of the ‘right’ – of which Jack, whom I like and respect, tries to be a part of.

    If you’d like to at least educate yourself with different, outside perspective, watch Adam Curtis’s series – start with the 3 parter ‘Power of Nightmares’ which dissects the ‘need’ that the MIComplex has for the boogieman of ‘Terrorism’ – and how these terrorists also profit from this relationship, and then watch the 4 part ‘the Century of the Self’ – which talks about the development of the Public Relations industry basically 100-110 years ago by Edward Bernays, who was Sigmund Freud’s nephew.

    The Century of the Self talks about the history and the development of the terminology called ‘the Manufacturing of Consent’ – which is a big part and purpose for many of the topics that Jack chooses to write about. You can all congratulate yourselves and be snarky all you want, but you are all trying to convince yourself that Obama is evil and a liar because he claims not to know his uncle – but then you glaze over Facts about the hidden agenda in plain sight, for hundreds of years. I mean all you have to do is look into it – they really don’t deny it. At this point, they don’t really care – “Annuit Coeptis – Novus Ordo Seclorum”

    Or, you can continue to badmouth the kooky messenger, Manufacture your Consent, sniff each other’s jockstraps about how you’re winning the game, and badmouth what I think is the lesser of two Evils. God forbid Mitt is in office right now – there wouldn’t be one job left, and we’d all be making 15¢ a 16 hr day, 7 days a week, chained to our sewing machines, scrambling for the nickel and dime crumbs from the table of the megarich dead souls who hoard their Offshore trillions and have no empathy or concern for any of you. So keep it up.

    • Holy. Fuck.

      You are so fucking insane you actually wrap around twice, almost making it past “sane” twice and back into “pants-shittingly crazy”.

      You make Alex Jones look rational and well reasoned. You make Coast-to-Coast AM callers sound well-adjusted and medicated. You make Sonny the CooCoo Bird look like Dan Rather.

      You are like a living parody of the average die-hard, take-no-prisoners, whatever-it-takes true believer in Obama.

      Not only is sarcasm and hyperbole wasted on you, so is any more than “gawking in amazement that someone like you isn’t currently committed to a mental health facility”.

      You are the inevitable result of making involuntary commitment into asylums virtually impossible…

        • Well, I guess “through the lenses of utter and complete insanity” is, technically, a different way of seeing things…

          But come one, Jack… Tell me you dont look at that word-salad raving that would make Gary Busey go “hey man, you might be losing it” and think “whoever wrote that needs to have their meds adjusted…”

          It was nothing but “oh yeah well here is what I suspect Bush did”…

          Seriously, Jack… Just how fucking insane IS this guy?

  9. Again, example of shooting the messenger, ignore the facts. I don’t know what you contribute in the exchange of ideas in your above comment but insults to me and 50 ways to call me crazy. Ouch babe. Boo f**kin hoo.

    I’ve studied and read a ton of material that supports my point of view. Try checking out “Magical Egypt” by John Anthony West – or any of Joe Rogan Experience Podcasts with JAWest or Graham Hancock. “Revelations of the Pyramids” is another good place to start – that’s narrated by Brian Cox, who was in the movies Adaptation Bourne Identies, Troy, etc.

    Or the one that just recently really blew my mind is “Michael Tellinger – Ancient technology and the Ubuntu movement”. It literally blew me away – he shows google earth evidence EVERYWHERE in the southern half of Africa of a super-ancient culture that draws from the supposed legends of the Sumerian tablets from like 6000bc of gold mining and some sort of giant, stone circle structures, made of specific type of stones that resonate soundwaves.

    The structures are hard to see walking about on the ground, like the Nazca lines in Chile and Peru. But once you’re in the air, you see it – but many of them are buried in silt from the Great Flood over 10,000+ years ago. So all these structures had been there for AGES before being covered and ruined by this global cataclysm, which is a FACT. That’s why we no longer have whooly Mammoths or saber-tooth tigers.

    Just a gentle nudge to help you broaden your horizons. Peace to you and yours – happy Xmas.

      • I’m a researching, knowledge-based truth-seeking, informed rational thinker that is more and more convinced that we are awakening and evolving into something that is completely amazing and beyond comprehension – and I am trying my best to be ahead of the curve on it all.

        I dubbel dog dare ya to watch “Dark Legacy” all the way thru. Then come talk to me. Seriously.

      • “I get it…you’re performance art.”

        That is close, I believe. But I think more precisely, it’s a case of something which I know I am guilty of from time to time: unwitting, self-discrediting absurdism. Trying so hard, so damned hard, that I end up proving only that it isn’t worth trying. Being so convinced, that there is no persuading of anyone else, not even any influencing of anyone else. Drowning in irrelevance while swimming toward some trustworthy source to drink from – a source which provides what is relevant, even life-sustaining. Being so skeptical, that I am worth being asked only one question – and it is perfectly fair, and a “gotcha” all at once: Why am I not the least bit skeptical (or more skeptical than I am) about any of my own observations, assertions or beliefs?

        I only skim over the blakeart prose, and still, it succeeds in making me erupt in diaphragm-herniating laughter. YES, it is art; it’s infectious madness. It is a delightful distraction. (Ugh – that could be construed as a guy admitting he isn’t getting enough sex. Oh well…)

        So enjoy reading whatever happens to worm its way to your retina(s); let yourself laugh, or cry, or doze off, or warm-up into a rage for a little while; then, resume doing what we all have no choice but to do: Decide which sources you trust, and pursue inputs via their outputs. It all comes to us by way of one kind of Hertz or another.

  10. And – if you a down and dirty summation besides Russ Bakers book, “Dark Legacy” for the real scoop on the bush dy-nasty, and their Nazi, eugenic origins. It lays it out and builds the case quite nicely – again, using unclassified, documented materials.

    Truth is stranger than fiction my friend!

    You’ve got nothing else to do tonight – ! Watch it while you perform your reich wing troll duties slamming all those “Libs” on those “Left” wing discussion boards, so you can get your payments from Karl Rove’s Koch brothers dark money super-pac.

    • I thought Meatie was being a little rough on you, Blake. That is, until I read your last three posts. Tell me, do you sit around the perimeter of Area 51 with old Kodak, looking for Elvis in a UFO, while typing out these pearls of wisdom on a battered laptop? Blake: This is nut case stuff, okay? Anyone who read your remarks on this thread alone could never take you seriously again.

      • Once again, I challenge you to not just “Poo poo” the messenger by how crazy he is and view the many examples I have laid out for you. I’ll watch / read any evidence any of you want to give me to read to “Prove your Mettle” – so go ahead. And Carlin is crazy? You bet he is – one of the nicest, most professional, caring, admired respected men in the business – and basically canonized by the Comic community after his “death”. I would say he was very much like the man Jack praises in his latest post – except being generous with Money, Carlin was generous with his Wisdom and Knowledge of the Truth. Just because we’re all not selfish Objectivists in gated coummunity Ivory towers naming our children Ayn and Rand doesn’t mean we’re not “normal”… if it’s such nutcase stuff – prove me wrong. Bet you can’t.

          • Carlin’s spirit no longer inhabits his physical body. So yes, he is dead, but his spirit and legacy lives on.. what exactly is death? Western civilization is almost ignorant of what it is as opposed to what the Ancients seemed to know about it – they focused on it much more than we do. Our problem – we have lost contact with what “Spirit” is – even evangelical Christians don’t really seem to have a handle on it, IMHO. Because if they did, they wouldn’t be Objectiveism in their nature – of which the majority of them are.

        • For the record, Carlin was smart and funny but drove me crazy, an eventually I couldn’t listen to him. He had the arrogant comic’s assurance that he knew it all and could do everyone’s job more fairly and wisely than they could, based 100% on hindset bias and the knowledge that there was no chance that he would ever be forced to put his money where his mouth was—like other artists, and academics too, he never had to get his own hands dirty making the tough choices and dealing with the ethical dilemmas that professions, businesses, government and leadership require.

          Yeah, George, war, hunger and poverty is bad. Got it. That’s the easy part. Sniping at those who try to balance competing interests is a no risk proposition for an entertainer.

          Carlin, to his credit, recognized that his mid-career transformation from a benign and conventional comedian who did characters like the “hipp-dippy mailman” into the angry, bearded counter-culture prophet appealing to exactly the people he used to mock was ambition driven. It was a good act, he was great at it, and I’m sure eventually he believed it. But I found Carlin’s enlightenment and wisdom only deep in comparison with most other comedians, which is to say, not very.

          • Measured, thoughtful response, thank you – to a certain degree, I agree with what you are saying. But when you say “get your hands dirty,” what do you exactly mean by that – pretty ambiguous. He famously said when talking to Keith Olbermann (one of your favorites I am sure) that when it comes to the “elite establishment, or – “those who get their hands dirty” – that he loves to call them out on their bullshit and (paraphrasing) hit them where it hurts… here’s the clip.

            • By “get your hands dirty” I mean doing the actual job and dealing with the complexities, trade-offs and contradictions it entails, rather than focusing on one side of the equation only and pronouncing decision-makers bastards for making rational decisions that hurt people, when not making the decisions will hurt other people. Carlin never had to deal with a board, or make a payroll, or fight off a patent troll, or handle an impoverished squatter, or any number of other real life dilemmas. He’s rail against golf courses, and then he’d be the first one one to rail against the bastards who closed them, putting caddies and waiters out of work. His best audiences were students, who know nothing about trade-offs, incentives and zero-sum games. They all think their parents are assholes, for not having those perfect solutions

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