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HOW MODERN MONEY WORKS — Economist Alan Nasser presents a slashing indictment of the vicious nature of finance capitalism; The Bio-Social Facts of American Capitalism: David Price excavates the racist anthropology of Earnest Hooten and his government allies; Is Zero-Tolerance Policing Worth More Chokehold Deaths? Martha Rosenberg and Robert Wilbur assay the deadly legacy of the Broken Windows theory of criminology; Gaming the White Man’s Money: Louis Proyect offers a short history of tribal casinos; Death by Incarceration: Troy Thomas reports from inside prison on the cruelty of life without parole sentences. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on how the murder of Michael Brown got lost in the media coverage; JoAnn Wypijewski on class warfare from Martinsburg to Ferguson; Mike Whitney on the coming stock market crash; Chris Floyd on DC’s Insane Clown Posse; Lee Ballinger on the warped nostalgia for the Alamo; and Nathaniel St. Clair on “Boyhood.”
If You Don't Have Power, Don't Lie

Small Fry

by TOM KERR

The media filleting of alchemist James Frey, author of the faked memoir A Million Little Pieces, assures us that truth matters in America.

How dare Frey pull on our heart strings with his million little lies! How dare he exaggerate and fabricate! How dare he misrepresent the painful events of his life and our times to get our vote, our approval, our backing! How dare he sell us lead for gold, put the Sale before the Truth.

Power is the only real difference between former-addicts-not-quite-well Frey and Bush. We can’t get lying Power in the hot seat, so we’ll take lying Everyman.

Bush and members of his regime lie to sell their story whenever and however required. Lying for them is first nature.

Lies stand in relief against a backdrop of truth. That’s how we typically recognize a lie when we see it. When the backdrop is falsehood, lies blend in.

Bush regime loyalists lie both by omission and commission so often and with such little consequence that it’s hard to see them–to know them–as liars. Many of us know they’re lying, more or less constantly, but when Power lies the lie becomes the truth and it’s hard for an honest person to get any traction-to prove it.

Thus we have the protest slogan-and everyone knows how difficult it is–"Speak Truth to Power." It is quite another matter to speak truth, as Oprah has with enthusiastic approbation from her mainstream media pals, to the powerless. That’s about the easiest thing in the world.

We will never witness Bush being forced to come clean with Oprah on her couch, and Bush, unlike Frey, is never going to say, "Yes, I’ve lied; I regret it. I lied because I am weak." A Democrat congress might have played Oprah’s part in an impeachment, but we’ll never know.

The lesson for kids? If you don’t have power, don’t lie: look what happed to James Fry.

If you’re powerful, lie away, lie to your heart’s content, lie with deep conviction, and lie big: just look at the magnificent Bush regime.

We can’t fry the big fries, so let’s fry James Frey.

TOM KERR teaches writing and rhetoric at Ithaca College. He may be reached at tkerr@ithaca.edu.