Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Proving the Obvious?

There is an old derogatory definition of a sociologist as being a person who needs a fifty thousand dollar Research  grant in order to find the nearest whore house (an anthropologist, being a participant-observer, would, of course, have already be there). You might say this is a case of someone discovering the obvious.

I do not wish to take anything away from Thomas Pikklety’s fine and controversial book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, that seems to have thrown Republicans and Libertarians into fits of hysterics, but in my simple-minded view of economics it seems to me Pikkety has demonstrated the obvious: basically, that to make money (capital) you to have money, and in a capitalistic system, left unchecked (by high taxes on the wealthy and restrictive inheritance laws), where money itself makes more money, you would ultimately and inevitably be left with a dysfunctional, harmful, massively unequal distribution of wealth. I confess this has always seemed perfectly obvious to me. I am amazed it took Pikkety years of masterful research and 700 pages to finally make our greedy capitalists (perhaps) get the point. I just heard of another study that after years of effort demonstrated that the “elite” have greater influence than others. Wow, that’s good to know.

However, pointing out the obvious, especially when the truth hurts, can cause resentment and even retaliation. Who knows how many millions, perhaps billions, The “One Percent” will spend to try to discredit Pikkety’s definitive work, and quite possibly the author himself.

Another case in point, hypocritically amusing, has to do with John Kerry’s warning that if no peace deal can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel will become an apartheid state. That this is obvious might well be seen in the fact that even many high-level Israelis have said the same thing. Given Israeli obvious racist attitudes towards Palestinians and their Arab second class citizens, an apartheid state will be inevitable. Given the reaction on the part of many Israeli supporters you might think Kerry had said something so terrible he should resign forthwith, apologize, and claim he didn’t really mean it. Unfortunately hypocrisy seems to be one of the prevailing characteristics of Republicans (if not, sadly, of the human species itself).

Probably the most common approach to things that are unpleasantly obvious is to try to just ignore them. It is, for example, perfectly obvious that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, et al, committed rather heinous war crimes. They have even admitted it and in some cases even boasted of it. These unpleasant obvious facts have simply been ignored for years and no doubt will continue to be, at least in the United States.

A similar case in point has to do with the Israeli/Palestinian situation. It is perfectly obvious that Israel does not want peace with the Palestinians, does not want a Palestinian state, and also does not want a one state solution. They prefer instead to let things remain as they are with the Palestinians increasingly shoved out of the West Bank and robbed of more and more of their territory, unable, realistically, to do much about it. Anyone could have predicted that Kerry’s recent attempt to mediate an agreement would fail. Indeed, the very idea that Kerry and the U.S. could honestly mediate an agreement between the two parties is basically absurd given our obvious bias in favor of Israel. This has been obvious for years and while not completely ignored a pretense is made periodically for change and the charade begins again and again until Israel, perfectly predictably, kills it.

Racism, too, is most often ignored unless it becomes so scandalously public to the point where it cannot be completely ignored. The case of Sterling is an obvious example. Everyone in the NBA, and even the wider community, has known for years that Sterling is an out-and-out racist, but nothing much was done about until his recent appalling statements became public. While Sterling is (sort of) being punished for his racism the obvious Republican racism directed at President Obama and Attorney General, Eric Holder, is mostly inexcusably ignored. It is also perfectly obvious that some of the Big Banks have committed egregious criminal acts, but here again, nothing is done about it. When it comes to things like this I guess the idea is that if they are just ignored they might somehow magically disappear. This appears to be the strategy with respect to education, infrastructure, taxation of the rich, global warming, and etc. Thus, if you don’t like something just put your head in the sand and hope it goes away. Unfortunately, this can have disastrous consequences.

 “If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.” 
 
Rita Mae Brown



Monday, April 28, 2014

Dumb and Dumber

Yes, Cliven Bundy is a deadbeat, criminal rancher, a racist, and possibly even treasonous. He has refused to pay the grazing fees other ranchers pay, now owes the government around a million dollars, but as he claims to “not recognize the federal government” he apparently thinks he will somehow get away with his criminal behavior. Someone labeled him a “welfare rancher,” which, I guess, sort of sums it up. Why he has been allowed to not pay the normal fees for ten years and is only just now being brought to task I do not know. And what might happen next I do not know but I am pretty certain this is not the last of it and he will not get away without paying (maybe a nice prison term will convince him).

Anyway, you all know the story by now: Agents of the federal government attempted to round up his cattle and sell them to pay off his debt. Before they could accomplish this task a number of militia members arrived with guns, some aimed at the federal agents, so rather than risk another terrible episode like Ruby Ridge the agents backed down. Of course Bundy and his militia followers claimed an epic victory over the wicked federal government “overreach,” and Bundy became an instant folk hero worshipped by not only his immediate militia friends but also by high ranking Republicans and right-wing radio hosts like Hannity who went overboard in his praise of him.

However, the euphoria over having bested the “feds” didn’t last too long as Bundy, given his 15 minutes of fame, went on a racist rant so unbelievably stupid that even Hannity and everyone else changed their tune and tried to distance themselves from him as quickly as possible. I suspect they probably privately agreed with Bundy’s racist nonsense but were put off because he was so dumb as to go public with his (and, by implication, Republican) racism.

Think about this. Even though Bundy was a deadbeat who had refused to pay his legal fees the right wingers immediately jumped on his bandwagon. Joyfully celebrating his criminality and carrying on about “government overreach.” Why it is overreach for the government to want to collect their legal due, the same grazing fees that all Nevada ranchers pay, I do not know, but the right wingers love to carry on about government overreach all the time although it would seem to have no basis in fact (they are not notable about accepting anything factual, preferring instead their fairy tales about how bad government is).

What I find the most interesting about Bundy as folk hero, and this rather absurd incident, is not his criminality or racism, but, rather, his incredible, even awesome ignorance and stupidity. Bundy is, to put it in a very general way, “dumb.” I say dumb because he is both stupid and ignorant. That is, it is possible to be smart and ignorant if you happen to just be uninformed about certain things and therefore ignorant, even though actually intelligent. But it is another thing entirely to be both ignorant and stupid at the same time. What this means to me is that Bundy immediately and without any apparent thought on the part of many, became an important figure for many highly placed Republicans and hate-mongers like Hannity and Limbaugh, even though he is as dumb as a post. He hates the federal government but rides around on a horse proudly carrying an American flag. His various rants about government and racism betray his complete ignorance of either subject, they are illogical, false, almost unintelligible, and stupid. None of this seems to matter to the right, except that he was dumb enough to reveal that which the right knows is best left unsaid. That he was against government (actually against paying his bills) is all those who immediately supported him needed to know. How do you explain this? It’s easy, they are even dumber than he is.

 “He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.” 
 
P.G. Wodehouse



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Never Say Never

I guess we could only expect Joe (Big Mouth) Biden carry on in the best tradition of our childish foreign policy. On his recent trip to Ukraine he announced that “The U.S. will never accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” or words to that effect. I guess no one ever told him that never is a very, very long time. As Crimea (as well as Ukraine itself) was a part of the Soviet Union, until Nikita Khrushchev (a Ukrainian) arbitrarily assigned it to Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet empire (some say in a drunken moment), that was apparently quickly accepted. And why would anyone be foolish enough to claim they will never accept an obvious fait accompli? Crimea is now part of Russia, Russia is not going to return it to Ukraine and everyone knows it (except perhaps Biden and the U.S.). It was a perfectly obvious move by Putin after the coup in Kiev, as he was certainly not going to allow his only warm water naval base to potentially disappear and a majority of the Crimean population wanted to be part of Russia rather than join with Europe. Crimea and the Eastern Ukraine were part of Russia since the time of Catherine the Great, so what’s the big deal that so many are upset about? Does anyone really still not accept our theft of Texas and California from Mexico?
One might well ask who really cares whether Crimea is part of Russia or part of Ukraine? The answer, I fear, is no one…except those corporate interests looking to profit by looting the Ukraine of its resources and rich agricultural potential  (just as Hitler wanted to do).  During World War II many Ukrainians fought on the side of Germany against Russia, a fact that has not been forgotten and at least partly accounts for the animosity between the Ukraine and Russia today, and also accounts for why Putin worries that he may have to defend Russians living in Ukraine.

Anyway, after the EU and the US provoked a coup in Kiev, Putin reacted in a very predictable way. But now, of course the story is all about Russian “aggression,” stoking fears that Putin wants to re-establish the Soviet Empire, he may move further into Ukraine, take over Moldova, Georgia, Latvia, Poland, even the arctic circle, and etc. As Putin disavows any such intentions, and has shown no signs of doing anything but protecting Russians living in Ukraine, this is all fear mongering on the part of the West. Putin and Russia are constantly portrayed as “bad” while we the West are, of course, all “good.” Thus we are reassuring our NATO allies that we will stand by them if they are attacked by the bad guys, we are sending one or more ships into the Baltic, 150 U.S. troops to three NATO allies, perhaps as many as 10,000 to Poland, and so on, foolishly beating our chests and baying at the moon, boasting that our military is superior to theirs, our god is better than their god, our Dad is tougher than their Dad, and our pee-pees are bigger than theirs, just as kindergarteners behave on the playground.  Putin and Obama apparently had a pretty good relationship and there was considerable mutual cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, but now, of course, with all this childish saber rattling and fear mongering it appears that relationship may be impossible to maintain. Unfortunately, our foreign policy demands that no nation on earth should have any national interests that might conflict with ours. This has worked for us (in a way, anyway) with most of the smaller nations we have bullied for years, but Putin is not going to stand for it, thus he is really “bad,” even super bad, possibly the only one standing in the way of the Neocons desire for world domination.

If Putin turns eastward and becomes part of a viable, united Eurasia, the “jig is up” for the possibility of world domination and the “Lone Superpower” myth will vanish, putting an end to the American Empire once and for all. Childishness is not a viable strategy when dealing with adults. If we don’t change our attitude and behavior with respect to Russia it may well lead to the very thing the Neocons fear most, a  united Eurasian power, Russia, India, China, and others with a majority of the world’s population and power.  I wonder, will Joe Biden be concerned about Crimea then? All of our sanctions and pressure on Russia may very well drive them eastward towards the development of the very thing we do not wish to see, a union that would dwarf the influence and power of EU/US axis and dramatically change international politics to the detriment of the West.  

 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Corinthians 13:11

Friday, April 18, 2014

Infantile, Puerile, Hostile, and Futile

This would seem to sum up our current foreign policy. Could there be anything more childish than refusing to allow Hamid  Aboutalebi, Iran’s choice to represent them at the UN, to enter the United States? This is silly, even stupid, almost beyond belief.  Aboutalebi is a seasoned, experienced, Iranian Diplomat, who has served successfully in several different countries, and is more than merely qualified to hold such a post. President Obama has apparently signed an order to prevent him from entering the United States, following the suggestion of that expert on foreign policy, Ted Cruz. Aboutalebi is considered persona non grata by Cruz because many years ago he served sometimes as a translator during the Iran hostage crisis. Coming at the very time we are trying pretty successfully to negotiate with Iran over their (imaginary) nuclear bomb threat this would appear to me to be designed to torpedo those negotiations, stupid, unnecessary, unhelpful, and unwise, everything you might expect from a poisonous, outside the box jerk like Ted Cruz. Why Obama went along with this absurdity I do not know. Perhaps he secretly does not wish a successful solution to our Iran (non) problem.

Not only has Obama gone along with this diplomatic nonsense he has also mocked Russia’s military might, with a claim almost beyond comprehension. He said Russia does not want a military confrontation with us because he knows our military might is superior to his. What the hell is that supposed to prove? Where, if not on a battlefield, could this be proven? Does hoObama envision a war on Russian territory where our military might would win against the Russian army? Does he believe that we could ship our troops across the Atlantic (or Pacific) to confront Russia on their own soil? Has he no idea what the hell is talking about? Does he know nothing about the Battle of Stalingrad? Boasting that our military might is superior to Putin’s is childish in the extreme, you might well think we were in kindergarten.

Then there is our gullible (or stupid) Secretary of State, John Kerry, who was apparently willing to accept as fact the anti-Jewish leaflets that appeared in the Eastern Ukraine without even waiting to learn they were produced by some minority group of dissidents with no authority whatsoever. This is just part of our basic infantile belief that Russia is bad, Putin is very bad, the U.S. is good, very good, and Obama is somehow good/bad. Whatever, we know that we (along with the racist genocidal Israelis) are exceptional and the entirely predictable failure of the “peace talks” is completely the fault of the Palestinians. Everyone with even a small bit  of brain knows that Netanyahu does not want a Palestinian state, does not want peace, and prefers to maintain the status quo forever if possible. Why John Kerry or anyone else believes the U.S. can act as a fair intermediary in this endless conflict, when it is obvious we are overwhelmingly on the side of Israel, is just another example of childish delusion.

When you start from the belief that Russia is all bad, and Putin is worse, especially when Putin holds all the cards, so to speak, you are not likely to successfully resolve your mutual problems. Similarly, when you start from the belief that Israel is all good and the Palestinians are all bad, you are not likely to get very far in resolving the basic problems of the Middle East. Our foreign policy, in my opinion, is indeed infantile, puerile, hostile, and will prove in the long run to be futile.

When only one in six U.S. citizens can even remotely find Ukraine on a map, and the farther they are from that, the more they think we should attack, it is pretty obvious we need to teach geography (remember that) in kindergarten, along with the necessity to “see ourselves as others see us.”
Hubris is one of the great renewable resources.


  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"It"

“It”

What a remarkable word (pronoun) “it” is. While it generally refers to some particular object or behavior it also often refers to something much more general and, in some cases, may have virtually no meaning whatsoever. I am drawn to thinking of this because last night I had reason to believe that I may well be losing “it.” I was cooking dinner for us, baked chicken, some cranberry sauce, broccoli, asparagus, and dressing. I also intended to serve some French dinner rolls. When I removed the chicken from the oven I put in the frozen dinner rolls that supposedly take only 8 minutes to cook. I forgot them, didn’t serve them, and didn’t remember them until several hours later. By then, of course, they had turned blacker than the blackest of coal, and I worried that, indeed, I must be losing “it.” This could refer to my memory, my cooking, my timing, my sanity, or whatever.

Usually “it” refers to something in particular, something in context that the speakers are all aware of, like “where did you put it,” referring to the butter or paint or beer. But what about something like the recent Rachel Maddow documentary, “Why did we do it?” In this context the “it” refers obviously to the “war” with Iraq. This apparently expensive and time-consuming investigation concludes that “it” had to do with oil, something that anyone with a brain larger than a split pea already knew. But of course it is somewhat more complicated and the documentary does give us a bit more insight into why it happened. But this is not unlike asking why did “it” happen,”it” being WW II, an event that cannot really be described as an “it.”

We also might well ask, “Why did Putin do it?” The “it” in this context being his takeover of Crimea, and the answer being obvious to anyone not conditioned to believe Russia and Putin are simply evil, aggressive, empire builders with no important national interests. Then there is also the phrase, “kicking ’it’down the road,” usually referring to some decision Congress does not want to make.

How about “Let’s do ‘it’?” This could refer to any number of things, kissing, dating, going to the movies, even sex, or, more prosaically, building a chicken coop.  How about “she is the “it” girl of 2000? Or “you can’t do ‘it’ in the road because it might frighten the horses.”  Or John Lennon’s brilliant parody, “Why don’t we do ‘it’ in the road?” Then there are lyrics like “Birds do ‘it,’ bees do ‘it’, even little Pekinese do ‘it.’” How about “”’It’s’ the in thing to do,” or “’It’s’ not the right thing to do.”
“’It’ will happen when hell freezes over,” “’It’ will happen at the end of times,” “’It’ will be the end of the road,” “If you don’t mind ‘it’ don’t matter,” “We’re footing ‘it’ back to camp,” “’It’s’ a dirty, rotten shame,” “this is ‘it’,” “’It’s’ all in your mind,” “’It’ can’t happen here,””The Devil makes us do ‘it,’” “’It’s’ too late for tears,” “’It’s’ too much to bear,” How’s ‘it’ going,” “’It’s’ just politics as usual,” “’It’s’ just baying at the moon,” “What is ‘it’ and where did ‘it’ come from? “We don’t know what ‘it’ is, “We’re never going to find ‘it’,” and “When in doubt, kill ‘it.’”

Is there any other word in the English language with such a range of meanings and non-meanings, a word that can be so specific but also so general, a word than can simply gloss over complexity and reduce it to a simple two letter word, a word both precise and imprecise at the same time, a word that actually allows us to evade the complexities of the real problems facing us? There is a bill that would raise the minimum wage, vote against “it.” There is a bill that would help stop global warming, vote against “it.”There is a bill to stop voter fraud, vote for “it.” There is a vote to defund Planned Parenthood, vote for “it.” And so all of our decisions come down to voting either for “it” or against “it,” all nuances, facts, or complications aside. Don’t you just love “it?”

 By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.



  

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Me and Kati 15: Nothing to Declare

Kati, Kati, Kati, my only constant companion, my little feline friend with the cutest face in all of cat kingdom, I was really worried about you this morning. I know you are subject to occasional psychotic breaks (or something like that) but you really had a “doozy” this morning. First you refused to leave the kitchen even after having been Fed, you were underfoot constantly while I was working on our more complicated breakfast. You continued this uncooperative behavior even after I gave you another snack. Then you were on the table where you know you were not supposed to be, then you were behind the refrigerator in the paper bags where you also know you were not supposed to be, then you were under the kitchen sink and refused to come out, and then you had the audacity to jump up on the kitchen counter, a real “no-no,” and, finally, you jumped up on the buffet where you also definitely know you are not supposed to be. You were so bad I finally had to put you out. Why you were so bad I do not know. Perhaps it was because you caught and ate the mouse that Spencer brought in that got away, the innards of which I found this morning? Perhaps that is why you threw up and made a terrible mess. I don’t know but you truly ruined my morning.

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was about Oscar Wilde and the Republicans. Yes, I know, there is no real connection between the two, but you must be aware of the weird free associations we humans sometimes experience. When Oscar Wilde visited the United States and went through customs, he reportedly announced, “I have nothing to declare but my genius.” This, unaccountably, made me wonder, what would Republicans declare if they had to declare anything? I immediately came to the conclusion they would say, “We have nothing to declare but our idiocy.” Why did this come to me so quickly? I’m not sure, but I guess it is because they somehow believe they are going to win in the coming elections. Given that the term idiocy includes “notably stupid or foolish behavior” I do not think I am wrong in coming to this conclusion.

Assuming Republicans want to maintain control of the House of Representatives and take over the Senate in 2014, and assuming they also want to win the Presidency in 2016, their behavior appears to be notably stupid or foolish. They are opposed to everything the American public is in favor of: they oppose the minimum wage, oppose abortion, oppose equal pay for equal work, oppose unemployment insurance, unions, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the EPA, public education, contraception, and just about everything else that might benefit anyone other than billionaires, including, of course government itself.  They are opposed to taxes on even the obscenely wealthy, preferring instead to tax the struggling 99%, they want de-regulations to benefit corporations and the wealthy so they can make even more money, they refuse to even consider reducing our totally ridiculous military budgets, and more or less seem to prefer more wars. All of these things would seem to place them directly opposed to the general public.

And Kati, on top of all that, their obvious racism, sexism, homophobia, and fear of immigrants, should certainly work against them, except perhaps for their relatively uneducated White voters that seem to be their only remaining base. In spite of all this they still seem to believe they have an excellent chance of reaching their goals. Kati, I don’t understand it, and it certainly appears idiotic behavior to me.  Even their blatant attempts to keep democratic voters from voting may well backfire and cost them as many votes as they hope to gain by their devious attempts. But this is the United States where many are brainwashed to vote against their own interests. The criminally partisan Supreme Court and a few billionaires, along with a few Republican governors, are doing everything possible to stack the deck in their favor. It will all come down to just who actually votes and how many. Wouldn’t it be ironic, Kati, even idiotic, if in fact the Republicans somehow managed to win?

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.



Saturday, April 05, 2014

Wastin' Away in the Fun House

The House of Representatives has voted now more than fifty times to do away with Obamacare even though everyone knows, including them, these votes are a complete waste of time and taxpayer money. They have also held repeated meetings to prove some kind of White House conspiracy or cover up about Benghazi. Similarly they have also held repeated meetings to investigate the IRS, determined to prove the White House was involved in the IRS investigations of various tax exempt organizations even though it has proven without a doubt their claims of White House involvement have no basis in fact  whatsoever. In short, they have basically wasted endless hours of time and endless amounts of taxpayer money chasing their tails.

 One might well ask why they have been permitted to do this, or, as it is sometimes asked, where are the adults? Why can’t these ridiculous and repetitive investigations simply be stopped when everyone knows they are completely without merit, costly, and disruptive of our governmental process? Where, in other words, is any overriding authority that could insist they cease and desist wasting our time and money?
It is here, I believe, where there is a troublesome flaw in our democratic process as there is no overriding authority that can move quickly enough to discipline such rampant and fruitless behavior. The only thing like an overriding authority is the ballot box. But as elections are held only ever two or four years the possibilities for abuse are obvious. First, the collective memory is so short that by the time the next election comes around the electorate has probably forgotten the problem. Second, the system is much too slow and unpredictable.

Can anything be done to rectify this unfortunate situation? Probably not, as unfortunate as that desirable possibility might be for the proper functioning of our (at least supposed) democracy. I am not a fan of dictatorships, even benevolent dictatorships, but I can see here why such a dictator might be worthwhile. Someone, or some entity, ought to have the authority to put a stop to pointless, wasteful, and purely partisan political malfeasance. Someone, for example, should have the authority to tell Issa to stop wasting our time and money. Or tell Boehner that another vote against Obamacare should not be allowed. Waiting for the next election, which may or may not bring about an end to such frivolous nonsense, is not a useful solution.

I realize how profoundly na├»ve this may be, but perhaps we could have a “Commission to Protect Democracy” (the CPD), vested with such authority. This assumes, of course, that we could as a nation agree on just how it is we want our democratic process to work, and then we could elect a number of responsible bipartisan members who would police the process so that our politicians could not willfully and irresponsibly violate those principles. There is no doubt that Republicans in the last few years have done everything they could to circumvent what most of us believe in the democratic process (like the right to vote, for example). Of course we would have to agree, first, precisely how the system should operate, and second, find a suitable number of individuals trustworthy enough to enforce the rules. I guess the death penalty for violations might be a bit extreme, but how about immediate removal from office, massive fines, public humiliations, maybe a week in old-fashioned stocks. Tar and feathering, riding people out of town on rails, might also be too difficult, but I bet it would work. Somehow the thought of seeing Cheney, Rumsfeld, Issa, Boehner, Palin, Bachmann, and others of that ilk being suitably chastised is comforting. Having made a mockery of our democracy they would fully deserve it.



Friday, April 04, 2014

So, What's What?

There have been several reports that Russia is massing troops along the Ukrainian border. Putin and other Russian officials have denied any such buildup. NATO General Breedlove seems to believe the buildup is real and says Russia could begin moving into Ukraine in 3 to 5 days.

Two reporters completed a 1000 mile trip along the Russia/Ukraine border and could find no signs of such a massive buildup. They were told by at least one official that the international hype is “completely unfounded.”
Doesn’t that make you wonder just What’s What? How could someone like me, with only information from the news media and the internet, possibly know the truth? This does not, however, keep me from having an opinion. My opinion is there most probably is no massing of troops and tanks, Putin is telling the truth that he has no intention of invading Ukraine, and, in fact, it is international hype completely unfounded.

Why do I think this? I think so because there is no doubt in my mind that both Putin and Russia have been consistently (and, I think, unfairly) demonized by our news media for years. I also know that we have consistently expanded NATO further and further to the east although we promised not to do so, and Ambassador George Kennan, whom I greatly admired, warned that expanding NATO would be a terrible mistake (he was, of course, ignored). Similarly I believe what Putin did in Crimea was the only reasonable thing he could have done. He feared that if Ukraine was seduced by the West, and possibly into NATO, they might try to take away his only warm water naval station on the Crimean peninsula and acted quickly in the national interest of his nation as any strong and decent leader would have done. I also know that the United States lies pretty consistently about its foreign policy that, in recent years, has become more and more stupid and disastrous.

A similar problem of What’s What might well be seen in all the verbiage about Obamacare. Republicans have been claiming for years that it would never succeed, was a government takeover of health care, was going to include death panels, make health care more expensive, perhaps even kill women and children, and blah, blah, blah. On the other side it was argued that it would reduce costs, provide much better health care in a variety of ways, would eventually succeed, and so on. In this case it was not at all difficult for me to side with the proponents of Obamacare even though I believe it should not have included insurance companies. In any case, although I am disappointed with Obamacare, I do believe it is demonstrably better than what we had before in spite of all the ridiculous claims made by Republicans. I know the Republicans consistently lie about everything, especially anything promoted by President Obama. In the case of health care some of their lies were so blatantly ridiculous they could not be taken seriously to begin with, others although not so transparently false, were equally recognizable as lies. More importantly, when it came to taking sides in the argument, I knew Republicans would lie. I knew this because I have seen them lie consistently for at least twenty years. Thus, although I know Democrats also lie, I know they do not lie as regularly and as often, and as outrageously as Republicans. Indeed, I do not believe that George Dubya, Dick the Slimy, or anyone else in that administration ever told the truth about anything. This seems to be the policy followed faithfully ever since they were tutored by one of the greatest  liars of all, Karl Rove, who invented, or at least adopted the policy of what I termed “roviation:”

 Roviate v. to smear, slime, malign, denigrate, and attempt to destroy an opponent through the use of innuendo, rumor, slander, outright lies and any other despicable means available.

In the case of Obamacare it was not too difficult to understand what’s what, but this is because there was such a long history involved and over the years I began to understand many of the players. In a case like Crimea it is not so easy to know what’s what, but even there a knowledge of the history of the players is about all one has to go on. As I have now followed U.S. foreign policy for quite some time, but especially in the past twenty years,  I think I have a good idea of what’s what. I do not like it.

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.” 
 
Friedrich Nietzsche