Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Let’s hear it for hyperbole! There’s nothing like a bit of exaggeration to make things more interesting and try to stir up as much trouble as possible. In Israel, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has recommended that the entire International community should together attack Iran because “Iran is a threat to the entire civilized world.” Wow! The entire civilized world! Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It has not been an aggressor nation in somewhere around 200 years. It has one of the smallest military budgets in the Middle East and the focus of their military is clearly on deterance rather than offense. Iran is widely suspected of trying to build a nuclear bomb although there seems to be little evidence of this, and even if true would obviously be employed as a further means of defense from the constant threats of attack by Israel and the U.S. Netanyahu, who recently boasted that the U.S. doesn’t have to protect Israel because Israel protects itself, has been trying to encourage the U.S. to attack Iran for years, and maintains Iran is an existential threat to their nation, basically a bit of hysterical paranoid nonsense. They would like us to believe that if Iran gets a bomb it is going to immediately attack Israel with it, a notion so ridiculous it should be laughed out of existence as it seems to assume that Iranians are insane and would welcome the inevitable destruction of their own country. In fact, Israeli intransigence, racism, and illegal expansionism is a far greater threat to the entire civilized world as they simply refuse to even consider a serious peace with the Palestinians. I think Ya’alon’s insane hyperbole is perhaps the worst example of exaggeration I have ever seen. But there are others.

Of course if you are interested in outrageous hyperbole you wouldn’t want to miss Mitt Romney’s claim that President Obama “Is one of the most ineffective Presidents ever.” I think Romney has in mind here only the fact that Obama has been unable to immediately create jobs and overcome the recession brought on by matters mostly outside of his control. Whatever you might think of Obama, when you consider his accomplishments in the first almost three years of his Presidency, you cannot realistically accuse him of being ineffective, think health care (when Romney did it, it was viewed as a great success), American auto industry successful bailout, Osama bin Laden, DADT, stimulus, fair pay, etc., etc. Romney is unfortunately one of the most inauthentic candidates ever, taking positions he sometimes has earlier disdained, saying things purely opportunistically, sometimes outright lying, and dripping with insincerity at all times. I believe Romney is not even aware of how phony he comes across to many of us. If he thinks Obama is ineffective I suppose he thinks George W. Bush was effective (after all Bush is said by Republicans to be responsible for getting bin Laden).

Let us not give up this topic without mention of John McCain who has now said the President does not need any Congressional approval to go to war at anytime or anyplace. He also said we need more wars, not fewer wars. The fact that a President is supposed to wait for Congressional approval before going to war, according to the constitution, is somehow lost on McCain and other believers in an Imperial Presidency. McCain has also said Sarah Palin could beat Obama in a Presidential race. Now if that’s not hyperbole I don’t know what is.

There is no doubt one could find many examples of terrible exaggerations in favor of one thing or another. People sometimes believe so fervently in one cause or another they are willing to say anything, often with little thought to the consequences. While this may be understandable it is not helpful, especially in a situation fraught with deliberate lies and distortions. It seems we have reached a point where truth has become a forgotten commodity, having been misplaced in a culture so given to lies and misstatements it is so rarely found. Truth has simply lost its importance, especially after the Bush/Cheney administration that never told the truth even when they didn’t have to lie.

Related to this, and far more important I fear, is that law has also become a victim of culture change. We used to pride ourselves on being a nation of laws, but laws have been increasingly jettisoned over the past few years. This can be seen in the President’s illegal behavior when it comes to warring, the law has also been ignored when it comes to those guilty of war crimes even when they have been publicly admitted. There is no law or constitutional sanction for the President to order assassinations of American citizens, nor is there any law that legalizes torture in spite of the claims of Yoo, Bush, and Cheney. Laws against wiretapping and invasions of privacy have been swept aside, Bankers guilty of crimes go unpunished, and on and on. I honestly think that by now most American citizens fully expect our leaders to lie to them as a matter of course, and I also think they have lost respect for our terribly abused legal system (the Supreme Court has not helped). In our contemporary culture only Nerds believe in truth and justice.

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