Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ahmadinijad's Last Visit to the UN

The president of Iran has been interviewed ad infinitum by almost every major electronic news source out there – most recently, today on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN.  
He’s a bit contentious, and circular in his answers.   He seems to enjoy putting his interviewers down while smiling wisely and condescendingly, as the interpreter drones on. But make no mistake: this man is a rational being with a weakness, I think, for the Big Apple.

In his interview with Fareed, he discussed the fact that while in New York, he spent most of his time riding from the UN building to his hotel and back again and even apologized for inconveniencing the people of NYC for having to wait as his motorcade passed by.  Charming.
Perhaps he felt magnanimous, riding on a phantom wave from a “news” story out of FARS this past week, (the “official” news source of Iran), which quoted verbatim a spoof from The Onion, that President Ahmadinijad was preferred over President Obama by a large segment of our southern population in a recent poll. The almost entirely plagiarized piece quoted a make believe West Virginian as saying, “he (Ahmadinijad)  takes national defense seriously and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.”  
FARS has since apologized for falling for satirical piece in The Onion and publishing it.
Ahmadinijad knows he is virtually a “lame duck” with Iranian elections coming along in 2013 and the mullahs back home issuing mysterious comments that iran will be moving to a more moderate regime soon.
I’m happy he had all the attention he craves here in the States.  But since the demographics in Iran run toward a youthful, more educated  and sophisticated population, I don’t think we’ll see the likes of him again. 
I can dream, can’t I?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Romney Sinks to New Lows

My deepest condolences to the families of the four foreign service agents including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and those attached to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi (Lybia).  It is a tragic day for America here and across the world. 

Even more tragic is the immediate reaction of Mitt Romney, who jumped on the situation to excoriate our current President, the Secretary of State and the Ambassador to Egypt in Cairo for issuing statements of apology for the hugely tasteless and insulting anti-Muslim movie apparently causing the riotous infiltration of the Consulate in the first place.

I just watched an interview with former (George H. W. Bush) Ambassador Nick Burns who says to inject politics at a moment like this is not only thoughtless, but embarrassing and unconscionable.  I say it is traitorous!

Romney deserves the condemnation he is apparently receiving here and abroad.  I do not want this man representing me.  Can a candidate for president be impeached?    

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Israel's Biggest Threat

Whenever Benjamin Netanyahu opens his mouth, the world comes a little closer to nuclear war, beginning with the forces or Israel against Iran, followed without much doubt by the U.S., the players in the Middle East, possibly Russia and even China -- who knows? A global conflict could occur because of the threats of one confused and dangerous egomaniac whose Israeli political counterparts are mostly opposed to a strike against Iran; these are not just the American Jews, I mean Israelis.
And who are they?

A piece in Reuters today by Matt Spetalnick and Allyn Fisher-Ilan quoted the single most important supporter of Netanyahu’s bellicose rhetoric, Ehud Barack saying the following:

"Despite the differences and importance of maintaining Israel's independence of action, we must remember the importance of partnership with the United States and try as much as possible not to hurt that," a statement from his office said. Do I hear an adult voice in the room? Perhaps this attack of reason upon Mr. Barack is a clear indication of the Israeli political climate.

Additionally, Bradley Burston’s piece in the Israeli Haaretz today makes it clearer:

“If immediate red lines are in order, Benjamin Netanyahu would be well advised to set them for himself, and the malice and abuse and disrespect he has heaped on the president. If deadlines are in order, he might consider his upcoming U.S. visit - and the White House rejection of a meeting with Obama - as an opportune moment to shut down entirely the verbal centrifuges he has set spinning in attacks on the president, the secretary of state, and other administration officials.”

Netanyahu should stay out of American politics. Of course he wants Romney to win the election because Romney would blindly follow him into war with Iran. I wonder – has anyone considered what might happen the day after an attack on Iran by Israel even with U.S. backing?

Haven’t we been in enough wars, incursions, police actions without having thought of the way to extricate ourselves?

The answer is Afghanistan.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Truth Tsar

I’ve told my share of lies, more when I was a child than now. But when I did,  it became increasingly offensive to me, like an odor about myself, just as embarrassing to me, as it would be to anyone around me. I don't tell lies today, well, maybe an occassional fib now and then.  But the problem is that I’m not the only one who does it. Lying is almost common these days. It’s a stink in our society that is as prevalent today as honor and truth-telling were to our ancestors.

I do try to be truthful (I promise), in my blog, in my conversations, in my correspondence; even in my fiction, I try to write from the heart as my Freshman English instructor suggested all those years ago.

But if you think about it honestly you’ll realize we are surrounded by lies on a regular basis: lies, exaggerations, untruths. It makes me wonder: is it an attribute of human nature or is it merely a very bad habit that we’ve allowed ourselves to sink into and don’t really think much about it anymore?

I used to think that people lied because of money. After all, many lies are for money: the scams across the Internet are manipulating the elderly and the unaware for money. Preparing our annual tax returns, 75% of the population will try to use tax dodges, any scheme at all in order not to pay their fair share.

Commercials are filled with lies – why? To sell more product.

What about the law? Lies, lies and more lies, not just by witnesses, but by attorneys in order to win their cases (and their fee). The Law is filled with tricks which allow the guilty to go free (most recently the story of the ill-fitting glove and O. J. Simpson).

Job applications – are we always perfectly honest about our attributes or do we exaggerate our experience in the work force, our education, sometimes even lying about our age and birth circumstances, just to get a job?

The Press (both electronic media and print) - how they’ve been allowed to make lying a legitimate exercise and create the news that is not news, or de-emphasize reals news so that it can be found as an after-thought on TV or on page D9 in the newspapers. This is our fourth estate – we own the air-ways and yet we allow one or two major conglomorates control our media as though we lived in a third world country. Money is the cause of this as well. Powerful interests depend on prominent spots on tv and in print. I don't want to imply there are not great and fearless journalists out there -- there are.  I'm just saying, there is a trend to manipulate the  news to one's own advantage.

Politics - may be the greatest arena for lying and here is where my earlier theory flounders. Politics is rampant with lies. But many politicians are rich, filthy rich, even. So why do they lie?

In politics, it’s not just money, it’s power. But money is power, is it not? In the case of the rich guys in politics, it must be different; they’re not seeking money because they’ve already got lots of it. They’re seeking power, but if they have money, they already have a certain amount of power. Whatever it is they are seeking, they will lie to get it.

Lying has become acceptable. Just as lack of responsibility has become a way of life. If you do harm to someone, a public apology (usually only after the harm is discovered) is all it takes to be forgiven. What happened to responsibility? Retribution? Atonement? They are unnecessary because the liar has already been forgiven as the result of a wimpy statement of apology which in my opinion, is meaningless. A public apology in this world is merely a way to get back in the game after a suspension.

I don’t know what the remedy is. Maybe what we need is a “Truth Tsar.” (I've become my own) -- someone to take the place of all the fact-checkers out there that only check the facts for their chosen party, thus allowing only the "facts" that suit them.  .

Monday, September 3, 2012

The In-Elegant Campaign

Pants on Fire!

Well, I have to take back some of the nice things I said about Ryan.

His speech during the Republican Convention on Wednesday, was filled with so much hyperbole – not only over his marathon, but about the timing of the GM closure (it took place during the Bush administration, not Obama’s). He claims Obama cut Medicare by over $700 bln when, as I understand it, the Obama Health Care Program doesn’t actually “cut” funds, but reduces growth in an effort to keep the Program solvent. And, though he failed to mention it, his own budget plan appears to use the same method of savings.

That wasn’t the only lie, there were others. Why tell the truth when no one seems to care whether you lie or not? Everyone knows Obama didn’t strike the work requirement to Welfare assistance, but the Republican campaign persists in this flagrant un-truth with no embarrassment or apology. Why be bothered with the facts? A certain Republican pollster boldly declared the campaign is not going to be concerned about fact-checkers anyway.

So much for my ignorant assumptions. I still like to think there should be an outrage to these continuous miss-statements of fact, but people just sit back, shake their heads and say, “that’s politics!”

It should not be, though. We’ve become inured to the lie and to those who perpetuate it. And that’s the fault of the electorate. By our inaction, we not only allow it, we encourage it.