Alternate Facts, Yeah, That's the Ticket.

It seems the lies don't matter if it's your guy or gal. It has ever been thus. Add a polarized press to the mix and you have a recipe for some really lousy goulash.

Alternate Facts, Yeah, That's the Ticket.
No, seriously. I'm a billionaire. Really.

I've been thinking a lot lately about lying. I know, we all do it to a greater or lesser extent, but you have to wonder about those of us, and by us I mean Homo Sapiens but not members of the hoi polloi like you and me. People with a lot on the line, and a lot to lose.

For example. I have always been a big fan of Grand Prix racing, Formula One. From the early days of OK money and brilliant drivers like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney and others ...

File:G. Hill, Ginther, Clark and Gurney at 1965 Dutch Grand Prix.jpg the modern and incredibly lucrative series whose drivers, even the back markers, are millionaires.

Inside the Race to Secure the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix | WIRED

That brings me to my first example of a lie that could cost someone everything. The Japanese Grand Prix was run this weekend and won by the driver and team that have become so boringly predictable that some worry the audience is losing interest. The Red Bull Racing Team, yes funded by the Austrian liquid speed company, has won 3 of the first 4 races, just as they won 22 of the 23 run last year.

The winningest driver today is a taciturn Dutchman whose charisma is roughly equal to one of the tires on his car. Max Verstappen is paid $50-milllion a year to pilot this fiberglass spaceship and then stare blankly when a microphone is placed in front of him. But no matter, he wins and for my money, does it because the Red Bull car is simply the fastest on the grid. Put him in a slower car and he's jockying for 3rd place every two weeks.

F1 News: Max Verstappen Missing as Drivers End 2024 Season Together - Lewis Hamilton Steps Up

The team is headed by a manager named Christian Horner. The Netflix series "Drive to Survive," which chronicles the sport in the most creative and personal way possible, is in it's 6th season, wildly popular, and features Horner and his frankly, arrogant demeanor quite regularly.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
"Hello? I'd like to buy a ticket out of here, please."

And why not. He is paid $10 million a year, and has been for the last several seasons. He heads the most successful team going. He is married to the hottest Spice Girl in the group. Don't tell me you don't know which one I'm talking about.

Yeah, Geri Halliwell. And by all accounts, she is crazy about this fairly average looking guy who runs a race team. They have a couple of lavish estates, cute kids, and all the money they could ever want.

Geri Horner and husband Christian apply to build a SIXTH bedroom at their  Grade-II listed mansion | Daily Mail Online
Geri will be taking the top one in the divorce, thank you.

So, of course, Christian (yes, I'm aware of the irony there) has set about screwing it up. He was apparently sending sophomoric, randy text messages to a young woman fresh out of college, who worked for the team. When she got fed up, she went to the ownership and complained, and Christian promptly lied about it. And he pretty much got away with it until someone leaked the texts to basically the entire world of Formula One. He knew she could blow his cover, and still tried to bluff it out.

Oh, Geri stood by her man, but reportedly the tension is thick enough to cut with a cheap plastic knife. I'm guessing some variation of "You're married to an effing Spice Girl, you moron!" was tossed around the kitchen.

It has settled down, but is not over, and the young woman is ready to go public. So, like too many successful and seemingly bulletproof people in this world, Horner (and again, I appreciate the irony in both parts of name) is risking reputation, family, a Spice Girl, community property and an exorbitant paycheck for a stupid lie.

And, yes, men who manage to trip over their own privates are not particularly rare, but you still have to wonder about folks with a lot on the line, and their complete obliviousness to the transparency of their excuses. But, it's also the other stuff that prominent folks try to palm off on you, that makes you scratch your head and get the same expression as a chimp looking at a locked suitcase.

"Wait, I'm 17. Who are the Spice Girls?"

And of course, I'm talking about folks running for the highest office in the land. But let's start with Joe Biden. Politifact has chronicled misstatements of fact, otherwise known as lies to you and me. Here are a couple.

On classified documents in his possession, “none of it was highly classified.”

  • There is no legal definition for information that is "high classified." Instead, there are three classification levels based on the damage to national security if information got out. 
  • The special counsel said President Joe Biden had 18 documents with "top secret" markings on them. That’s the highest of the three levels. 

"There are a thousand billionaires now and you know what their average tax rate is? 8%."

  • Biden has repeatedly claimed the wealthiest Americans have an income tax rate of 8%.
  • Under the current tax code, the top 1% of taxpayers pay an effective tax rate of 25% on the income the government counts.

“More cops are killed responding to domestic violence calls than anything else.”

  • FBI data shows 504 officers feloniously killed from 2012 to 2021. The data for call for service or reason for the officer’s involvement showed 19 related to domestic violence.

There are a few more that you'll find at Politifact.

At a CNN townhall, former Governor Nikki Haley made these false claims...

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday that that it took Iran “shooting our men and women in Iraq and Syria … 130 times” for President Joe Biden to “do something” about it.

Haley once again characterized Biden’s electric vehicle policies as mandatory, saying the president’s goal is “everybody’s got to drive an electric car by 2033.”

Nikki Haley speaks.
"OK, a bit of a stretch. But, hey, at least I'm not 80."

And then we come to the man who will be the nominee of the Republican party, former President Donald Trump. Just a few with links to the Washington Post...

Trump's $50 million gala set to double Biden's triple-president fundraiser
"And, this dance is catching on with the kids."

And of course, the women, the affairs, the Playboy Playmate, the porn star, paying the porn star and Playmate, lying about paying the porn star and Playmate, etc. All of this is easy to check, but you have to check. Then there is his business acumen. Trump says his business "empire" began with a $1 million loan from his father. The New York Times did a little digging, you know, like we in the trade are supposed to do. They found...

The New York Times reported Tuesday that President Donald Trump received at least $413 million from his father over the decades, much of that through dubious tax dodges, including outright fraud.

The 15,000-word Times report contradicts Trump’s portrayal of himself as a self-made billionaire who started with just a $1 million loan from his father.

Given the legal settlements he owes and the difficulty he has in paying them, I pulled up a compound interest calculator. If dad had just given him the $413 million and he invested at the going rate in, say, 1970, he would now have nearly $5 billion, with a "B." No failed casinos, Trump University, Trump Steaks, lawsuits, no muss no fuss. Just do "The Apprentice" and kick back with Ivana, Marla, Melania, Stormy and Karen (the Playmate).

But like Bill and Monica, Newt and whoever, JFK and Marilyn, Gary Hart and Donna, Gerry Studds and every male page in Congress, they all thought they were invisible, apparently. Even Lauren Boebert didn't suspect a surveillance camera in the theater.

Our British cousins are not immune as the John Profumo-Christine Keeler affair proved in the 60's. In fact, more recently, former Prime Minister John Major, whom we all thought as boring as day-old crumpets, was apparently quite the stud muffin, albeit with junior health minister Edwina Currie.

No regrets: Former Prime Minister John Major and his Conservative colleague Edwina Currie had an affair
Well, OK. No comment.

The affair was summed up by a peer, Lady Archer, “I am a little surprised, not at Mrs. Currie’s indiscretion but at a temporary lapse in John Major’s taste.”

But to paraphrase Lord Acton, "Power corrupts. Absolute power, means the candy store is always open."

I think that's right.

And it seems the lies don't matter if it's your guy or gal. I know, that's not exactly earth-shattering news to anyone who has attended a political rally or a Jimmy Swaggart revival, but it has ever been thus. Add a polarized press to the mix and you have a recipe for, well, I don't know, some sort of really lousy goulash, I guess.

But as we have seen, it isn't just the personal stuff that you and I should be aware of, but the overstatements about your guy's opponent, overstatements that border on legally actionable. And lately, the more outrageous the better (See: "Border Bloodbath" or "End of Democracy"). There is no border bloodbath, and the democracy is strong enough to withstand another go-around with DJT.

For example, the fact that Easter fell on a trans visibility day that none of us had ever heard of was not a plan. Heck, it falls on April 20th next year, which is the annual marijuana celebration day. You'll be able to hide your eggs, get blasted and then try to find them again.

Now, I'm not saying this year will be pretty, but Fox and MSNBC will get folks worked up into a lather and November will either be the Rapture or the Last Days of Pompeii.

Where we go from there depends on a couple of things; how politically organized you are, or how much ammo you have.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.