Pants On Fire

Pants On Fire


Leonard Zwelling

It is no longer shocking to learn that the current President of the United States is a big, fat lying liar. His latest flap about what his predecessors did with regard to communicating with the families of fallen soldiers is only that. His latest. He has taken the combination of misinformation, wishful thinking, and fake faking to new heights (or is that lows?) Regardless, he claims that he is no worse than the last guys.

He may be right.

Mr. Obama kept telling everyone that if they liked their health care and their doctor, they could keep both under the Affordable Care Act. That was never true as the networks formed under the new law may or may not allow any given individual to retain the health care system to which he or she had become accustomed. Lie.

President George W. Bush, when faced with an existential threat (9/11) initially rose to the occasion only to allow the neo-conservatives in the Pentagon to convince him to convince us (and Congress) that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that necessitated an invasion of a country that had been safely kept in a box. Lie.

President William Jefferson Clinton said he didn’t have sex with “that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” Yes, he did. And he lied about all kinds of affairs he had with women who were not Hillary. Lie.

President George H. W Bush said there would be “no new taxes.” Lie.

President Reagan did not trade guns for hostages. Lie.

You get my drift.

Part of the reason that Donald Trump was elected is that the American people had become fed up with their government lying to them. Combine that with the distinct feeling that after 9/11, we were no longer safe in our own homes and cities, with the rampant ramp up of gun violence (or it may just seem that way thanks to 24-hour cable news and the Internet), and the great destabilization that is occurring with the ineluctable move toward globalization and border fluidity and you can’t blame any American who mistrusts everything he or she hears.

The same was true at MD Anderson.

People were fired from prominent positions while the email memo about it claimed it was of their own volition or they were looking toward other opportunities. What a crock! Who did the Friends of Ron DePinho (FORDs) think they were fooling? Not the faculty. When the heads of Division Heads and Department Chairs rolled, everyone knew that the victims must have annoyed The Ronald and so they were off to the woodshed. It became so common, it was no longer a surprise—just like the lying liars who seemed intent on occupying the Oval Office.

But we have another chance at Anderson. And the signs are looking good. Even before Dr. Pisters was announced as the President-Chosen, three executive vice presidents were eliminated and there were no disclaimers about their wonderful past service. Just—good-bye.

Now a few more worthy vice presidents have been sent packing, I understand. Again, no lies about their importance or need to spend time with their families. Just good-bye and I am sure Dr. Hahn cleared the good-byes with Dr. Pisters.

It is really possible that the era of lying at MD Anderson is over. MD Anderson does not have cancer surrounded. It may or may not be making cancer history. It may or may not be providing superior care. All of that needs to be addressed and I feel certain it will be once Dr. Pisters gets to Houston.

I was impressed that at the town hall Dr. Pisters held, he was a straight shooter and would tell the faculty and staff the truth about difficult decisions he may have to make. The payers are scrambling to decrease what they pay hospitals. They want those out-patient MRIs done at local centers where costs are less than at hospital-based centers that charge them more. This may necessitate some major changes in the way MD Anderson cares for patients, especially out-patients. All we should hope for from the new administration is careful planning and thinking and telling the truth.

Let’s hope that there will be no need for fire extinguishers at the tailor shops for the pants of the new MD Anderson leadership.

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