To the editor:
(re: “Don’t forget about democracy,” Aug. 5)
Question: When is the truth a lie?
Answer: When the statement turns out to be only a half-truth, which is a partial or incomplete truth intended to deceive or mislead its intended targets. In this particular case, the voters.
Local Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is particularly adept at this form of lying, but that’s to be expected. After all, he’s a partisan politician, and politicians — as a generality — not only deal in half-truths, but blatantly and shamelessly lie. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are noted examples.
However, the person I am referring to in this letter as being a liar is a person who has a reputation of being above reproach when it comes to telling the truth: Blair Horner, the executive director of the supposedly non-partisan New York Public Interest Research Group.
Mr. Horner recently wrote a letter to the editor in this paper which he advocated for the passage of a federal voting rights bill introduced as S.B. 1, but which has no chance of passing because it can be filibustered and needs 60 votes to pass the U.S. Senate — which it will never get.
His solution is for the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the Democrats to change the Senate rules so that only a majority — 51 votes — are needed, which the Democrats have.
So far, Mr. Horner is on the straight and narrow. He gave his reasons as to why the bill is important, and what he suggests should be done to get it passed. But then in a dishonest attempt to convince those readers of The Riverdale Press who may have had no opinion on this issue — and might have been open to being persuaded to his point of view — he wrote the following paragraph, which is a half-truth lie meant to deceive and mislead them:
“The Senate has trimmed back the use of the filibuster’s rule in the case of approving federal judges. Most recently, in April 2017, the Republican Senate majority changed the rule to allow a simple majority to approve U.S. Supreme Court nominees, which enabled Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch to proceed to a vote.
“Why not apply the same rule used for approving Supreme Court nominees to measures to protect American democracy?”
The above statement is completely factual, and anyone unfamiliar with the history of the “nuclear option” would reasonably say to himself or herself that it would certainly be fair for the Democrats to do what the Republicans did.
But what that (former) icon of ethical conduct, Blair Horner, did with that paragraph was to promulgate upon the unsuspecting reader a deceitful, dishonorable and disgraceful half-truth.
Here is what Blair Horner did not tell the readers, because it would have destroyed his presentation: Former Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid was the first to use the “nuclear option” on Nov. 21, 2013, when under his direction, the bare majority of Democrats in the Senate removed the ability to filibuster for judicial nominees below the U.S. Supreme Court level.
Blair Horner should hang his head in shame.