Thinking About Lying

by Fred Cederholm
As a kid I was instructed in honesty, in telling the truth, and in being a “good” person. It was all in black and white with no shades of grey. Times have changed.

I’ve been thinking about lying. Actually I’ve been thinking about untruths, non-truths, Rod Blagojevich, Obama and company, Roger Clemens, Pat Tillman, Horizon Deepwater, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the November Elections. As a kid I was instructed in honesty, in telling the truth, and in being a “good” person. It was all in black and white with no shades of grey. Well, there were the white lies which you said strictly to make someone happy. Their special outfit looked really nice, their cookies (or baked goods) were absolutely delicious, their new hair style was right out of Vogue and made them look at least five years younger, and you loved the socks and underwear you got for Christmas. Still... you were supposed to feel guilty about the “white lies” even when no harm was actually done. And on judgment day, the Almighty would give you a pass for them. You would be able to enter the pearly gates pretty much unblemished.

You see lying and the ramifications of it now need a skilled legal opinion every time you open your mouth. Last week saw lying making front page NEWS. Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich pretty much got to walk from the 24 indictments counts for now. He was only found guilty of one count --- lying to the FBI. The jury (as in ONE contrarian) failed to find him guilty as charged on all the counts. I was shocked, but I fully expected this outcome when they hadn’t come back with a 24X guilty judgment in ten days. Blago won’t walk Scot free. A new trial (costing tens of MILLIONS more) will begin in a matter of weeks. We can learn one thing from this --- not telling the complete and absolute truth to Uncle $ugar (or his agents) will get you in a whole big lot of trouble. Maybe in round two, the people of Illinois will get some justice.

The case this last time cherry picked the evidence and the parties who would be called to testify. We didn’t see President Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Ritchie Daley, or THE REVEREND Jesse Jackson on the witness stand. They got a pass because of their “positions” so it was like they had no involvement or contact with Roddy Boy. President Obama has said that he hadn’t even met Blago. Yet, I’ve seen at least eight different pictures of him on the dais with the Governor. Was it “photoshop,” or the occasion was so un-memorable that BO simply (and conveniently) did not recall? Washington figureheads don’t forget stuff, they simply “don’t recall.” This time I don’t expect Emanuel, Daley, or the Rev to all get a pass. Who knows we may even be treated to an appearance by Tony Rezko!

Also last week we saw an iconic sports figure get his comeuppance for not being straight forward with Congress. Pitcher Roger Clemens found himself indicted and facing up to 30 years in the slammer and $1.5 MILLION in fines for lying to Congress about his using steroids --- I mean body enhancing medications. The punishment must fit the crime and the message must go out. So... Blago may get to walk and Clemens may get nailed. Ah justice!!!

Another sports figure made the NEWS in a context of un-truths, non-truths, and out-and-out lying. Here, there was a twist. Pat Tillman was a football great and soldier who was killed in action. He was the perfect stereotype for the all-American Hero. He was good looking, loyal, honest, devoted to his country, and he gave up a promising NFL career to join the service. When he was re-deployed in Afghanistan, he became a casualty of war --- make that negligent homicide. He was killed by our own troops, not by terrorists, Afghanese militants, or other evil anti-US types. He was too well known to admit the screw up, and public opinion would not have tolerated it anyway. So... Uncle spun a yarn, and told those who knew the truth to keep their mouths shut. Persistence and questioning led to the truth and the public can now see “The Tillman Story.” It is said that truth is the first casualty of war. Amen... The Government wouldn’t lie, it was protecting the image of the US in a time of war... A white lie perhaps?

The facts behind the debacle of the Horizon Deepwater drama in the Gulf of Mexico are almost laughable. There is little agreement as to the severity of the amount of the leaked oil, the airborne surveillance, the suck up flotilla, and the beach cleanup. Projected numbers rise, and fall – mostly fall. This message comes from both BP and the US Coast Guard. Now we are supposed to believe that the bulk of the leaked oil is gone/ dissipated (poof). The COREXIT solvent has worked its magic. Well, THAT is probably a true statement when you consider the “dispursed” also means gone from sight. The oil may not be floating on the surface, but we will eventually find the truth how they are lurking in the depths of the Gulf waters.

All but 50,000 of our troops have now left Iraq for nearby Kuwait. The War is over, Saddam is gone, and we won!! A similar pull out from Afghanistan is coming next year so we are told. Yet, the US has built (and are building) $100s of BILLIONS in bases, embassies, and training facilities. What does this tell us about the truth behind our withdrawals? The US Government wouldn’t lie... Remember that this is an election year and honesty prevails to get out the votes.

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on August 23, 2010.