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 by Jon Burras
My Least Favorite Words or Expressions
Words tell stories. Throughout the course of the last five thousand years or so civilizations have created words and languages to tell stories. These stories might be written down, spoken or in song. Words might be used to tell the history of a people or to convey an important message like the fact that danger might be imminent.
In order for words to be effective we must all agree as to their meaning. Each word or phrase must be mutually agreed upon as to what it signifies. When this happens language is clear and communication is much easier to come by.
As of late though we all seem to be speaking in code or have created words or phrases that are not clear and precise. We seem to be hiding from the truth and talk around sensitive topics rather than directly approaching them. Words are being used as smokescreens to avoid the truth.
Hence, I have come up with a list of my least favorite words or expressions. Here is the list:

1. "With All Due Respect"
Anyone who uses this term is just lying to himself. There is usually little to no respect. Why can't we just disagree with someone without trying to butter them up? What is wrong these days with just flat out saying that you have a difference of opinion without having to apologize for your difference of opinion first? I disagree-period!

2. "Presidential Press Secretary"
This position is usually someone who is paid to lie for the President. There is no secretarial duties involved just a smooth-talking con artist who has to be comfortable cleaning up someone else's messes. Make no mistakes about it, most Presidents have had one and it makes no difference where they are Republican or Democrat. All Presidents have been known to lie, stretch the true or deceive and they have employed a silver-tongued individual to either continue their lies or to clarify the President's inaccuracies.
For example, during the Obama Administration when the Obamacare Health program was being conceived, the President was quoted as saying, "You can keep your own doctor!" This turned out to a blatant lie and the press secretary at the time had to clean up the mess.

3. "One-Hundred-And-Ten Percent"
No matter how hard one works he can only work up to one-hundred percent. I am not a math expert but I am mystified when you hear an athlete or performer who claim to want something so bad that they are willing to work one-hundred-and-ten percent. Does that mean that they are willing to give up an arm or leg for the task? No matter how much effort you give the top amount will only be 100%. We have been duped because students began to get a grade point average over 4.0 (the most theoretically possible) by taking AP (advanced placement courses) or by doing extra credit work. Now a 4.3 grade point average is possible. When will enough be enough? Math has not changed in thousands of years. Only our interpretation of math has.

4. "Innocent Until Proven Guilty"
Of course this is a false statement. If you are standing on a street corner and a police officer suspects you of being the suspect in a crime, you might be tackled, thrown to the ground or have a police canine unit chase after you. You will then be handcuffed, arrested and sent to jail. You might spend hours, days, weeks or months in jail before a trial. You will be forced to spend an inordinate amount of money on a legal defense. You might get out on bail and you might not. At the end of the trial if you are determined to be innocent you do not even get a "sorry" from the court. Innocent people are not treated this way.
If you really were innocent until proven guilty you would receive a summons in the mail and invited to appear in court where the prosecution would have to try to prove that you have committed a crime. Lawyers, judges and government spokespeople have attempted to shove this notion down our throats yet we often feel like the crazy ones when the words do not match the actions. Somehow we are expected to believe that we have some angelic form of law enforcement that is fair and always gets things right. Even worse, everyone is always found guilty in the traditional media and on social media long before any accurate facts come in.

5. "Background Check"
Background checks tell you about what you have done in the past but do not predict future behavior. Whether purchasing a gun or a plane ticket a background check has no ability to demonstrate what you will do going forward. Who are we kidding?

6. "We All Know..."
"We all know" is related to "clearly." This is another smokescreen that people often use when they do not want to be challenged. For instance, a vaccine advocate might say "We all know that vaccines are safe." Despite hundreds of millions of dollars paid out in claims to vaccine victims for deaths, permanent damage or short-term complications from vaccines, this language attempts to prevent a dialog. People who use the terms "we all know" or "clearly" are usually afraid of being proven wrong.

7. "Freedom of Speech"
This term is one of the most overused terms in our history. You do not have the right to say whatever you wish. You cannot slander someone or liable them. You cannot present a false statement to harm people like yell the word "fire" in a movie theater. Non-African Americans are publically shamed for using a word that begins with the letter "N". (I am not even allowed to write that word). Freedom of Speech is actually very limited.
Also, many claim that Freedom of Speech is granted under the First Amendment. Most of those claiming this have never even read the Constitution. If you are employed by a private industry you do not have the right to protest during work hours or even write derogatory ideas on your social media platform.

8. "Freedom of the Press", "Independent Press"
The press is neither free nor independent. Most journalists work for a large business where profits are what is most important. Those media outlets make money by telling stories. Sometimes those stories are true; often they are not. A press creates stories based on its ideological slant, either to the left or to the right. Nobody is independent. The press is often considered an extension of the political party that it has aligned itself with. For instance, Fox News is most often aligned with the Republican party while CNN is more commonly aligned with the Democratic party. Working for these news outlets means that you are actually working for the political party that you represent.

9. "Equal Justice for All"
Laws are written that favor some and punish others. Discrimination and racial bias occurs regularly in criminal sentencing. Profiling is a normal part of every culture. We are not all treated the same. Lawyers go to court to win a case and not to work together to seek justice. Often, the person with the most expensive legal team comes out ahead.

10. "Solemnly Swear to Tell the Truth"
People will lie whether they place their hand on a Bible and swear to tell the truth or not. The fear of God has never stopped someone from lying in court. Incidentally, the judge and the lawyers never have to swear to tell the truth.

11. "There is No Evidence"
If you are not looking for evidence you are guaranteed to not find it. Often researchers who have already made up their minds about how things are will make this claim. They are not looking for evidence to counter their way of thinking so they are assured of good results.

12. "Evidence Based Science"
All conclusions come from evidence. That evidence could be from a scientific experiment or from testimonials from actual people. To make a claim that only evidence based science is the only accurate information is absurd.
This reminds me of a story about a Hawaiian whose job was to take tourists out on his boat every day and swim with wild dolphins in the ocean. After thirty years of doing this he was very keen on dolphin behavior. One day he took on board a group of twenty scientists all with their measuring devises. These scientists were all attempting to tell the boat captain that his anecdotal conclusions were all wrong because they were not scientifically verified.

13. "Court of Law"
Courts tell stories. The side with the best story wins. Courts do not necessarily hand out justice and are not necessarily fair. A jury can be easily deceived (and justice not served) by a crafty attorney who attempts to confuse and create doubt.

14. "Expert Witness"
Expert witnesses are paid story tellers. They attempt to persuade the court that their knowledge is irrefutable and absolute and cannot be challenged.

15. "At the End of the Day"
One of the most commonly overused phrases. It sounds like a broken record every time I hear this phrase. Especially prominent when interviewing athletes.

16. "The Land of Opportunity"
The land is not creating success or failure but the willingness of many to take risks is what is at stake. For instance, Israel is a dry and desolate parched land but has the most Nobel Prize winners per capita and is a mecca for inventions and innovation. The land did not create this success.

17. "Nation of Immigrants"
Mesopotamia and Northern African are considered the birthplace of human civilization. Out of this region everyone emigrated to the rest of the world. Hence, nearly everyone on the planet is an immigrant and nearly every country is a nation of immigrants. Whether your family came to your current location five years ago or five hundred years ago you still come from a family of immigrants.

18. "Independent Investigation"
There are no independent investigations. Every investigator carries biases and judgments about everything whether consciously or unconsciously. Those biases help to determine the outcome of our investigations.

19. "Safe and Effective"
This term is often a smokescreen. Most often used by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), this term is frequently not true. For instance, used properly, FDA approved drugs kill at least 106,000 Americans each year. The FDA approved drug Vioxx reported killed nearly 28,000 Americans in a four year period before it was recalled. The artificial sweetener Aspartame was reportedly approved even though it failed all of the safety studies. It was approved because a political favor was owed. (Sweet Deception book).

20. "FDA Approved"
Drugs and procedures are approved for many reasons. They are not necessarily safe or effective. The FDA also has another category called GRS. This stands for Generally Regarded as Safe. What this means is that they do not know if a drug is safe or not but until they find evidence that it is unsafe they will let people use it.

21. "Unbiased Jury"
There is no such thing as an unbiased jury. Hopefully if you are on trial you want a jury that is biased in your favor.

22. "Jury of Peers"
Who are your peers? Are they people of your same sex, gender, neighborhood or economic status? For instance, O. J. Simpson (an African American) was found not guilty of double murder by a jury of his peers which included eight African Americans, two Hispanics, one white and one mixed (White/Native American). O. J. Simpson's peers were actually wealthy white and black celebrities and sports stars yet none of this classification was on his jury pool. Instead he was judged by predominantly working class African Americans.

23. "Good Luck"
What does luck have to do with anything? Why don't we wish someone great success or focus? Wishing someone good luck is like believing that free will has nothing to do with our success but we are at the hands of the stars and the moon.

24. "Canine Unit"
A trained police dog to sniff out drugs or to follow scents is called a "canine unit". This implies that this very alive animal is more robot than being. By the way, police often refer to their squad car as a "unit" as well. "Man's Best Friend" has now been relegated to a working class sniffing machine.

Choose your words carefully.