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Lies, Gaffes, and 'Hmmm'?
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opinion columns
by Richard Harris

From the Sept. 30, 2020 issue of The Journal
   Why is it that when one politician says something that's not true it's a lie, but when another one says something that's not true it's a "gaffe"?
   When NFL players have a false start, why do the referees describe the penalty as a "false start before the snap"? Is it possible to have a false start after the snap?
   I've been reporting lately on the percentage of area residents who have completed the 2020 Census. If they're doing a Census to determine the amount of residents who live in each county, how do they know the percentage of people who have already completed it? If you don't know the total number of residents, you can't know what percentage of people have already filled it out, right? I know, I know, this one is obviously an estimate based on previous Census counts and projections, but it does seem a bit strange that it's never pointed out.
   Also on the topic of the Census, I know it is truly very important for a great number of reasons (PLEASE fill yours out if you haven't already), but some of the reasons given just don't make sense. For instance, people say that it will make a difference in public school funding. Don't schools take attendance any more? We already know how many students are enrolled in schools day-to-day and year-to-year. Unless the Census reveals an extreme "baby boom" in a particular area, I don't see how the Census should figure into school funding.
   Example of why nobody trusts politicians at the national level: Supreme Court nominees. Democrats say the Republican controlled Senate shouldn't consider a nominee from President Trump to fill a vacancy so close to a presidential election. Republicans say it's their constitutional duty to do so. However, prior to the last election, republicans refused to consider President Obama's appointment, saying it was too close to a presidential election. Democrats said it was their constitutional duty to do so. They both, with straight faces, say the "right thing" to do is whatever would benefit their side at the time. (Do we call these statements lies or gaffes?)
   Have all the deficit/debt hawks flown away? It used to be that when democrats had a majority, republicans would complain about the annual deficit and the total debt of the US (and vice/versa when the roles were revered). Now, republicans who complained about the debt under President Obama, whose administration saw the debt climb to $8.58 trillion ($4.4 trillion during his tenure), are silent as debt continues to soar under President Trump's leadership. Current estimates are that around $7.6 trillion will be added by the end of his current term. Of course many dismiss it due to the various Coronavirus relief programs, but isn't there always an excuse for spending way more than is taken in? Neither party seems to care any more. Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will. The nation's debt is currently $26.7 trillion. That's $214,844 per taxpayer and growing daily. We spend $339 billion per year making interest payments on our loans. Y'all reckon that money could be better spent in other ways? Maybe getting reliable internet access in rural areas, for example?