Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do we even care about truth?

As I inexplicably watch the post-Republican debate discussion on MSNBC as if it were a cheesy '80's movie, I think back to a line I heard today on talk radio. A noted talk radio hostess asked, when discussing the Iraq war, "Do we even care about truth?" The question has circled my mind all day. I began to think about the people I know: friends, family, colleagues. I wondered if they think about this stuff as much as I do or if, when confronted with news of more lies by the White House administration, do they even get curious?
Do they feel anything at all?

What is accepted as fact today is that we illegally invaded and currently occupy the former sovereign nation of Iraq, that this country did not have weapons of mass destruction nor was involved in 9/11, that Iraq did not pose an imminent threat to the United States, and that Iraq was not a sponsor of al-Qaeda. How is it then that few, if any, even give this a second thought?

I often wonder if the age of technology has disengaged the part of the brain that is responsible for the concern for truth. I have often been involved in conversations with friends or family members regarding the Iraq war. I have listed FACTS in bullet-point fashion, with numbers, statistics and data. They simply nod, agree that it's troubling but then shrug it off with a, "Well...whadda ya gonna do? You wanna get a coffee?"(as they send another text message...)

I don't ever remember my parents being terribly concerned with these type of issues, either. My formative years were during the mid '80's when Reagan was president. If you lived in a nice, safe neighborhood with lots of other white people, as I did, life was grand.

I do remember my grandfather though, who when in front of the television would briefly catch something of breaking news or bits of the State of the Union speech, he would listen and watch attentively and then mumble something under his breath. I recall seeing his face many times either with a look of disgust and a shake of his head or with a look of hope followed by a inconspicuous smile.

This period in our history is one in which I would have enthusiastically discussed these matters with my late grandfather. Would he care to know what I have learned regarding this debacle in Iraq? Would he be interested to know how many people have profitted financially from this war? Would he be outraged to see that ExxonMobil has reported the all-time greatest profit recorded by any company since the beginning of time? That President Bush only last week asked Saudi Arabia to increase oil production because, "our citizens are having a bit of a hard time..."? Did my grandfather understand what "war" really entails? Would he be against this war?

When I refer to truth, I am referring to it in the most natural sense: what is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence. Often Republicans like to debate intuition, speculation or "truthiness"(things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts).

George Piro, the FBI agent who was responsible for interrogating Saddam Hussein, will appear on "60 Minutes". Piro learned during his many conversations with Saddam that the Iraqi dictator did not think the U.S. would seriously attack or invade Iraq. Saddam admitted to Piro that he DID NOT HAVE ANY WMD but refused to admit that to the world because he was fearful that Iran would seize an opportunity to invade Iraq. about not having a way out! The U.S. was going to invade Iraq whether they had WMD or not and Iran would attack if the U.S. didn't. And with us being the world's only superpower, the best we could come up with was to invade, bomb and occupy a country based on "truthiness".

So, my question to anyone reading this is, "Do you care about truth?"

Saturday, January 5, 2008

If Iowa is a snapshot of America...

Then we may be able to draw these conclusions....

1) Hillary is under the impression that most people like her when in reality they don't. The cackle, the arrogance, her dogmatic manner in engaging the issues which underscores her feelings of superiority, the fact that she voted for the war --- I believe many people view her as "Bush-Lite" (1/3 less stupid with the same great lack of humility). She was not expecting third place in Iowa. But guess what? I didn't expect a "B" in history my junior year in college.
Advice: Don't fake regional accents, do a self-inventory and see what's not working, change it and work harder. Get a new hair style and add color to it.
Prediction: She will run again in 2012.

2) Barrack Obama is hands-down the front runner for the Democrats. When he speaks he motivates people. No other candidate, on either side, has that flair. His oratorical skills are hypnotic.
To win as an African-American candidate in Iowa is like getting Dick Cheney to smile: nearly impossible. Are there even any African-Americans in Iowa? If he takes New Hampshire, say good-night to Hillary. John Edwards may be Obama's Secretary of State choice, especially with his deep knowledge of African politics. Early prediction: Obama will take Jim Webb as his VP running mate. If that happens, Republicans have as much chance at winning the White House as George Bush does at learning the electric slide.
Advice: Get Spike Lee, Prince and Cornel West to endorse you. You will need the black vote and need it to be present at the polls.

3) John Edwards is trying too hard. His ideas are progressive and attractive. When he goes into long-winded explanations I feel as though he believes we have difficulty understanding the English language. I get it Johnny. The health care issue is killing you. We know that you will fight for health care for all Americans. I'm thrilled, really. Talk more about getting Bin Laden and getting out of Iraq.
Advice: Just be yourself, get that lid messed up once in a while, throw some dirt on those Haggar slacks and eat some ribs, damn it! And get your haircut at an African-American barber shop.
Prediction: When he retires from the race, he will get emotional.

4) Rudy Giuliani is as empty as a beer can at a Friday night fish fry at the Elk's Club in Milwaukee. If the election were based on the person physically closest to the first of the 9/11 attacks, Rudy would win. Thank God that's not the case. He is a one-trick pony. Even the FDNY is not backing him. That says something, especially when you claim you were hunting for survivors next to the brave men and women who actually were there doing it.
Rudy has a deranged foreign policy adviser in Norman Podhoretz, who is not helping the Rudy Train. Norman has been busy praying for war with Iran since the NIE came out which stated that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program 5 years ago. (see my other post about this)
Advice: Quit bringing up 9/11 like you're some kind of superhero and just join the Mafia, it's one of the few organizations that could care less how many girlfriends and/or ex-wives you have.

5) Fred Thompson makes me sleepy. In order to be my president, you need more than a cowboy hat and a faint southern accent. I think Fred thought he would show up and dust the other guys off without having to stay up past 6PM. Not quite. Mike "Forrest Gump" Huckabee just handed you your lunch and Mitt Romney will cut it up into smaller bites so you can eat it.
Advice: Lose the cowboy hat, admit that you backed abortion rights as a lobbyist and explain why and get more publicity with old school Republicans like Jim Baker and Nic Brady.
Prediction: Fred will be back to daily 1PM naps by Valentine's Day. Good thing, too, because his wife is going to want more than a box of chocolates. And if Rudy is still creeping around....hey, he could get her free NYPD protection, you know!

5) Huckabee. The mere sound of his name makes me laugh. I picture him and Tom Sawyer eating worms and chasing each other around in straw hats with no shoes or socks. This guy doesn't believe in evolution and thinks that homosexuality is an aberration and unnatural. Hmmm...what do you say about that Mark Foley, Ted Haggard and Larry Craig? How about 3,000 years of human history? Last I checked, gays have the right to vote. We'll see how "unnatural" their ballots are in November.
Advice: Rely on other research material besides the Bible and quit with the subliminal hints in the ads (the HUGE cross in the background). The Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City for centuries had male sex slaves so just validate that homosexuality is not a choice and you might have a chance with the MTV vote.
Prediction: Huckabee is the fall guy, kind of like that really cool African-American guy in a mystery-suspense movie who the white screenwriter kills off first. The RNC is pimping him as the front runner to eventually supplant him with a candidate who is less evangelical but equally in line with those values (possibly McCain). Karl Rove, you are genius!

7) McCain is still the only true Republican. This is the only Republican that if elected would not make me want to move out of the country. I still think he is a very legitimate contender. He may not be the most dynamic speaker or have the best hair cut but he is still moving forward with his "diplomacy first, no torture" platform. That is attractive to the undecideds and to the moderates. If there is anyone who can speak on the subject of war, it's McCain. He is from Arizona so his illegal immigration platform ought to be considered more logical and reliable than that of any other candidates.
Advice: Get Sylvester Stallone to endorse you and get some of your war comrades to speak on your behalf. Show some dialog with Hispanic leaders to reinforce your commitment on immigration reform. And don't say that we'll be in Iraq for 100 years, that will get you unseated as senator in Arizona.

8) Mitt Romney is a great candidate. He supports Bush too much but no one is perfect. He is certainly the best-dressed and best-looking candidate. He was elected governor in a very liberal state. But he's Mormon and if I'm not mistaken, Fox News has unilaterally put Mormons on Bush's Axis of Evil list. If we had to put Iraqi generals on a deck of playing cards so that Fox News viewers could understand the war, you can bet that NO ONE on that side understands the modern day LDS religion. That being said, it's only a matter of time before Mitt throws in the towel. Too bad that we judge candidates before they speak.
Advice: Too late to go Catholic but give it a shot. Just claim you had some vision in a dream and God spoke to you. Worked for Bush in justifying his invasion of Iraq. Get a Boston accent, too. Another guy did that and won an election.
Prediction: It will be sad when he retires from the race. America is not prejudice, right?

Voter turnout for Iowa Caucus:
Democrats - 220,000
Republicans - 115,000

That is not good for the elephants.

If I had a crystal ball...

July of 2008: Clinton and Obama are battling for the Democrat nomination and McCain and Giuliani are duking it out for the Republicans

After the conventions: Obama vs. McCain

Next President: Not Ron Paul