Posts Tagged 'lies'

Is Anyone Listening?

My buddy Irv called today.

How ya doin?  How come I haven’t seen a blog from you in the last two weeks.  I enjoy them so much that I send them to my Rabbi.   God knows he could use a laugh.

Oh, we were in Chicago for about ten days.  Just got back on Saturday and I’ve been busy sorting my socks and stuff like that.

I didn’t tell him the truth.  That I was too depressed to write.

What a debacle.  What a mess.  What a downer.  Sailing along on rising poll numbers and then he has a president-sized  brain fart and lets you-know-who back into the race.

I finally did fess up to Irv.  And funny thing, he felt the same way…in spades.  Didn’t sleep a wink after the debate.  Sherry had to rub my head for hours, give me a cookie, and tell me it would be OK.

I was so down since last Wednesday that I couldn’t get a single thought in my head that was worth blogging about.  What else could I say about you-know-who that hadn’t already been said a million times. Why bother?  Is anyone listening?

I thought about the high school play we saw in Chicago.  The Wizard of Oz.  Remember when Toto pulls the curtain aside and there stands Frank Morgan pretending to be the powerful wizard.  He stares at Judy, Ray, Jack and Burt.  He says into the mike “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” and goes on with his wizard impersonation as though nothing had happened.  He might have gotten away with it if Judy and gang were as dumb as some voters.  But being bright kids, they spot the hoax and confront Frank with his lie.  I thought I would write something like that.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Then just last night around dusk, I was reading and saw a flash of color in the back yard.  A fox.  Next to bears and mountain lions, the rarest of creatures around here. Beautiful.  An endangered species.  So I thought I’d write about Mitt’s views on global warming and his wait and see attitude.  The icecap is melting, it was the hottest summer since the Cubs won the World Series, and the ocean is about to engulf Peoria.  But no, it’s already been said and no one cares.

Or maybe I could write about his tax plan.  As The Onion put it in an imaginary meeting with his staff…“Okay, now, think—there’s got to be a way we can make these numbers add up, there’s just gotta be,” a profusely sweating Romney reportedly told his advisers while furiously calculating how in the world he could institute an across-the-board 20 percent cut in the marginal tax rate while balancing the federal budget within a decade and giving the Pentagon $2 trillion it hasn’t even requested.  Nope, no good either.  Folks already know he hasn’t got a plan and no one cares.

And then I heard Lakshmi Singh broadcasting the 4pm news on NPR.  Something about Mitt doing a flip-flop on abortion.  At the same time, daughter Nancy sends another tongue-in-cheek  Onion article about Mitt’s fibs…”it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney…“For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernible sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that?  Simple.  None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”  Moreover, Romney said, if anyone does accuse him of lying, he will simply say he is not lying, which he noted is just an extension of the overall strategy.

Now, the Onion may be joking but I think they were spot on.  His latest abortion comments are an example of his strategy.   Tuesday’s Des Moines registerMitt Romney does not intend to pursue legislation to restrict abortion if elected president, the Republican nominee told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Tuesday…“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

Today, the Associated Press reports… A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do “everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.”  The head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List distributed an article Romney penned last summer vowing to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood, while backing legislation that would “protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”

ABC reports A little more than 24 hours after he told an Iowa newspaper that abortion legislation would not be part of his agenda if elected, Mitt Romney told reporters today that he would “immediately” move to defund Planned Parenthood.  “I’ve said time and time again, I’m a pro-life candidate…I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also, I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president.”

I’m not so depressed anymore.   Maybe someone is listening.   Maybe the curtain is opening just enough.

Just the facts

It started a few days ago.  That nagging feeling that nobody cares about the truth.  Or worse yet, simply insist that the truth is merely a fiction.

My friend Ralph sent me, for the second time, a regurgitated missive blasted to his friends in cyberspace intended to terrorize the mindless among us.  Warning us that Obamacare would tax the sale of our home, he ignored the actual law and chose to sensationalize and grossly overstate.  No matter that I had previously told him, accompanied by references and facts, that he was seriously off base.  Better to spread the falsehood in the sacred effort to rid us of Obama and that awful healthcare abomination so mindlessly upheld by that liberal pinko, Justice Roberts.

Jay Ambrose, a regular columnist in the Ventura Star, spent the better part of his Wednesday message telling us that fact checkers were predominantly leftists pushing the liberal point of view.  Better to ignore them.  Better to accept the lies than to trust anyone who might be armed with the truth.

In response to the twisted logic applied by Paul Ryan as he endeared himself to the Tampa convention goers, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse turned the challenge back on the fact checkers, saying they bring their own “thoughts and beliefs” to the process.  “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” Newhouse said.  Better to accept everything the candidate says.  After all, he’s cute and his mother loves him.

The long dead John Sununu arose, as he tends to do every four years, to defend the Romney ad that accuses Obama of gutting welfare reform by illegally granting waivers to states that ask for them. The TV ad claims the Obama administration has adopted “a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.”  The plan does neither of those things.  Abetting this, some would say racist, claim that folks could avoid looking for work, stay home, drink beer, fart a lot and get checks for doing so, Sununu almost had a cerebral explosion defending his right to call Obama a liar.  Substantiating his claim to veracity, he invoked the names of Rick Santorum (there is no global warming and conception begins at the moment of erection) and Newt Gingrich (the earth is flat and I didn’t inhale when I was cheating on my wives.)

I thought I had escaped from this onslaught of slime to the sanctity of the Cinemark Theater in downtown Ventura to watch Robot and Frank (don’t bother, it’s still searching for a plot).  As part of the now ubiquitous pre-feature film advertising deluge, Glenn Beck’s face appeared on the screen inviting me to spend time with him while he made unbiased fun of himself, both political parties and the election.  The very same Glenn Beck who just recently promoted the lie that the Democratic convention will host a Muslim “Jumah” prayer service while rejecting a Catholic cardinal’s offer to lead a prayer.  Glenn has it almost right, except that the Muslim service is in a city park and is sponsored by a non-profit claiming no allegiance to either party.

Much as it hurts me, I admit that both parties own a significant share of fibs, distortions and big, fat lies.  It is informative, however, to gauge the relative veracity of both of them.  Simply put, who’s the biggest liar?  To that end PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer (Commie bastard) winning organization, has a list of Pants on Fire awards for lies that haven’t even a Captain Crunch grain of truth.  Check it out.

Does it matter? Is anyone paying attention?  More importantly, are those undecided voters (aka wimps) swayed by the barrage and complexity of the falsehoods?   For to every lie there is also the claim of truth.  To those who think we need to do something about global warming, there are those who cite the doubts voiced by the miniscule minority who have their heads in their ass.  To those who say there is a growing and unfair disparity between the 1% and the 99%, there are those tricksters who say that jobs will trickle down from more tax cuts for the wealthy.  And to those who say trust us, there are those who remember George, Dick, Donald and Condoleeza.

The other night, Barrel 33 hosted my buddy Jim and I to happy hour martinis.  We come from opposites ends of the political spectrum yet find some way, maybe an even invigorating way, to argue politics.  Somewhere in the conversation, Jim said “I think I’ll just stick my head under the covers until the election is over.  It’s giving me a headache.”

I know that Jim won’t do that.  And neither should you.  Stay focused on the clear choice broadcast  by the parties.  You can be an America-firster dedicated to lower taxes, dramatically reduced support for those less fortunate, a larger military budget, decimated school budgets, growing intrusion of religion in our lives, and a one-size-fits-all definition of morality.  Or you can be the exact opposite.

And that’s a fact.

Take it, my pretty

I was reminded of the scene in Disney’s Snow White where the beautiful wicked queen disguised as an old hag offers the poisoned apple to Snow White.  “Take it my pretty, it will do you good.”  And we all know what happened then.

I had firmly resolved not to watch the Republican Convention.  That promise lasted about ten minutes when I remembered my line to Sweetheart when she asked me several years ago “Why do you listen to that freak Rush Limbaugh?”

 Because we need to know the enemy, I lied.  And listening to Limbaugh does more for raising my pulse rate than any exercise machine is capable of.

I figured if I watched the convention on PBS that I’d get less spewing of false rhetoric and more honest coverage of the Tampa white folks’ convention.  So I clicked to channel 50.

I nearly fell over backwards when my sixty inch Samsung screen was, without warning, filled with the image of Chris Christie looking as though he had just swallowed most of his state of New Jersey.  My first inclination was to make fun of his size, but then I remembered that this was a very petty approach to dealing with an adversary.  So I tried to remove his size 62 hulk from the equation.

And then he began to shout at me.  And the floating digital backdrop behind him filled with blue amorphous  globules that seemed to depict an ever-rising influx of the Governor’s bad cholesterol.  So I rejected the honorable approach of dealing with him and decided to focus on the petty.

I swear that the longer I watched Crispy, the bigger he got.  I tried to imagine the number of sheep that had to be sheared to produce his suit jacket.  I wondered if his pants had once been employed as an infield  ground cloth during a rainy day at Yankee Stadium.

But I did manage, between a barrage of ever more nasty mental insights, to listen to some of his speech.  And I was richly  rewarded with a potpourri of distortions, factual contortions and downright insults to anyone’s intelligence except for that of the mostly old, mostly rich and almost universally white people who were in attendance and obviously enthralled with his words.

As his harangue grew in volume, I thought back to that old Monty Python routine, Mr. Creosote.  In that gross but very funny episode set in a restaurant, Mr. Creosote, ably played by Terry Jones, eats everything in sight.  Finally, after being offered a mint to complete the orgy, Creosote explodes and lays waste to himself and everything around him.  As his voice grew louder and his face redder,  I anxiously waited for Crispy to emulate Creosote.

But I digress from Crispy’s speech which mainly focused on his prescription of tax cuts, slashed budgets, cancelled public projects and broken labor unions.  It’s good for you, my pretty, he insisted.  It’s what the doctor ordered.  It will make your life more meaningful.  Your grandchildren will thank you.  And only Mitt can transport you to the promised land.

What Crispy failed to tell us is that New Jersey has not had the revenue boom he promised from his tax cuts and the state’s unemployment rate is higher than it was when he took over.  Per Paul Krugman, Crispy’s budget balancing routine was heavily weighted to deferring required contributions to pension funds, diverting money from the Transportation Trust Fund, cancelling the much-needed rail tunnel link to Manhattan while investing in a megamall and an Atlantic City casino, and vetoing a temporary tax surcharge on millionaires.

The convention center cameras panned around during Crispy’s speech giving us respite from watching his cholesterol count.  Clearly enraptured faces abounded.  Other faces, one in particular, had a facial expression that defied description.  Mitt’s face seemed frozen in time, unsure whether to laugh or cry.  To laugh at the orgy of distortion or to cry wondering what he had done to deserve the main spotlight in this circus.

He too, maybe because he’s been doing it too long to stop, will surely reach out to us and say “Take it my pretty, it will do you good.”

Just the facts, Ma’am

Jon Stewart wants tens of thousands of people to join him in Washington on October 30 to speak softly and carry a small stick.  Bring back sanity to the political process and to those who rejoice in their insanity.

To show you how bad things are, Jon has a clip on his Daily Show web site  purportedly showing some of the worst political ads in the current zany season.  I watched one featuring Jimmy Donn for Congress.  There’s this guy standing near a punching bag.  He says “elect me and I’ll go to Washington and punch Obama in the balls!”  Then he whacks the bag a few times.  End of ad.

After lifting my jaw off the table, I decided to write a blog about it.  I Googled “Jimmy Donn” figuring he must have a website.  Turns out he’s a producer on Jon’s show.  It was a gag.  And I swallowed it.  Dummy.

Proved that I can believe anything.  Here I am, this supposed smart guy.  Been there, done that.  Old enough to know better.  Whatever.  Don’t you believe it.  I’m as messed up as the next guy.  So what makes me think that sanity, logic and understanding will play any part in the current election season?

For example, why would I think the media would beat on the Tea Party solutions to our problems?  Because there aren’t any.  Nada.  Oh, a couple maybe.  Reduce taxes for one of the least taxed countries in the world.  Reduce spending except for their social security, their own health care and the military.  Everyone else can whistle Dixie.  Especially the 44 million poverty stricken folks.  Try harder you guys, they say.  With a little luck and no help from Uncle, you too can be in the upper two percent of the population earning more than $250,000.

For example, why would I think the electorate would vote for people like Republican congressional candidate Dan Debicella of Connecticut who claims the stimulus bill didn’t save or create any jobs (in opposition to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office statement that the stimulus reduced the unemployment rate by as much as 1.8 percentage points.)

For example, why would anyone believe the Republican Pledge to America that claims the only part of the economy that has expanded is government.  In fact, government employment has fallen and private sector jobs have gone up by over 700,000.  Or that jobless claims continue to soar when they are in fact below their highest levels.

For example, why would anyone vote for Sharron Angle who wants to unseat Nevada’s  Harry Reed.  Sharron’s ad says Harry voted to give “special tax breaks to illegal aliens.”  In fact, Reid sponsored a bill in 2007 that made it clear that illegal immigrants remain ineligible for tax breaks.  Oh, if that isn’t enough, Ms. Angle, a staunch proponent of the privatization of Social Security, said on August the 12th that she thought Social Security should be phased out in favor of a system resembling the one created in the 1980s by right-wing Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

For example, and to show that Republicans aren’t the only zanies, why would anyone believe  Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida who falsely accused his opponent Daniel Webster of a lack of patriotism and a big fan of the subservience of wives.  The opposite is true.

Yes, why would anybody believe that stuff?  Because we saw it on TV.  And we were too lazy to check it out.  We had better things to do.  Like whine, complain, and moan.  And throw our hands up in despair.  Woe is me.  It’s a lost cause.  What can I do about it?

Well, if you’re a Democrat or an Independent, try this for starters.

“You know, maybe his speeches aren’t as exciting as they used to be, but Obama’s done a lot.  Not as much as I’d like.  Not as much as he promised.  But it’s something.  And it’s a damn sight better than the Old Guy, the Snow Queen, the Bronze Bomber, the Kentuckian and their nay-sayers would have done.  So I’m gonna do whatever I can to see that we keep the Obama guys around. And I might even drag a bunch of bucks out of my wallet and send it where it’ll do the most good.  And for damn sure I’m gonna vote on November 2, maybe twice.”

After you’re memorized that you might even think about joining Jon Stewart on October 30.  But carry a big stick.

Mission accomplished…not yet

I went to the Ojai Friends of the Library meeting last night.  As usual, on the way I picked up Martha.  “Hi Martha, waiting long for me?”  She said “No, I was listening to the President’s talk  and then answer the reporters’ questions.”  Crap, I thought.  I had forgotten all about the press conference.    “How did he do” I said.  “He’s pretty glib” she said.

Not a bad assessment coming from a 92 year-old woman who’s probably seen it all, even with severe eyesight problems.  I made a mental note to click on CNN when I got home.

CNN did a replay of the conference.  But by the time I plunked myself in front of the TV there was only about half of it left.  I watched, was mildly satisfied with Obama’s handiwork, and then prepared myself for the cynical…oops…critical reviews.  On came Wolf Blitzer looking like he was gassing up the Panzers for a frontal assault.  “Didn’t Obama look tired?  I thought he looked tired?  Didn’t you think he was tired?”  Quite incisive.  What did he expect after dealing with a gazillion dollar budget, toxic assets, Republicans who want a repeat of the Titanic disaster,  AIG screw-up bonuses, folks on the breadline and, most importantly, no pet dog yet for the White House.  Who did Wolf expect, Mary Poppins?

Visions of John McCain floated through my head.  I wondered what would’ve happened if the Old Guy had won.  Probably dead by now.  The Snow Queen stepping to the microphone to field questions from guys like CNN’s Ed Henry.  Compared to him, Katy Couric was a cakewalk.   Ed’s a frustrated thespian who wishes he was born during the time of Shakepeare.  Iago, a sinister sort, would have suited him.

“So, Mr. President, how come you waited for days before leaping to the TV camera to proclaim your hatred for those AIG bastards who stole all that bonus money?”  The burning issue of the day.  The issue that should leap front and center to Obama’s agenda.  A relatively composed President replied “Ed, you shithead, I thought I’d check out the facts before I made a fool of myself…like he who must not be named.”  Or something like that.

Yes, the President probably told a fib.  He wasn’t totally transparent like John C. Reilly was, singing Mr. Cellophane in the movie Chicago.  He didn’t tell us, again, that he screwed up.  He didn’t ask Ed to forgive him.  He didn’t promise to never do it again, cross my heart.  He’s like the rest of us.  At least, I thought, he didn’t manufacture the problem, like he who must not be named did when he sent a few thousand guys to Iraq.

We’re pretty lucky to have this guy around.  Mission’s not accomplished yet… but I bet it will be.

 obama

Ted the Telemarketer

“Hello. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202-863-8500.”

WKOW in Madison, Wisconsin , the home of the great University of Wisconsin, did an article about this piece of trash.  Except it’s not trash.  It’s another desperate attempt by the Old Guy and the Snow Queen to inject a little homespun hatred into the campaign.

Sweetie told me a few months ago that she was worried that trash talk, swift-boating and other outright lies would make make a loser out of Obama.  Three for three she said.  George did it twice and now the Old Guy would do it again.  I said “You know, I think the American public has had enough of that crap.  I think they’ll stick it back into the cesspool it comes from.  I think they’ll do what’s right…this time.”  But I kept my fingers and toes crossed anyway.

At least one guy had enough of the lie.  Ted Zoromski of Middleton took a job as a telemarketer for the Republican National Committee.  Ted thought that he could make a few bucks by calling some folks and telling them to vote for the Old Guy.   When he saw the script at the top of this blog he blanched, put his hat back on and quit.  He wasn’t up to scaring people with guilt by association lies.  And that’s saying something for a telemarketer.

But lest we get too complacent, we should heed the immortal words of Rep. Robin Hayes of North Carolina…

Opening for a McCain rally in North Carolina last weekend, Representative Robin Hayes said he wanted “to keep the crowd as respectful as possible.”

In order to pursue that goal as efficiently as possible, Hayes then announced that “liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.” This was an especially unfortunate turn of phrase given the fact that he had begun his remarks by saying he wanted to “make sure we don’t say something stupid.”

But I shouldn’t be so hard on the Old Guy, the Snow Queen and their pit bull handlers.  Things are tough out there.  Behind in the polls, campaign funds down to petty cash, people out of work, the market in the crapper and the Iraqis want us out.  Some folks can’t even afford to clothe themselves.  The Snow Queen is one of them, the poor dear.

Sarah had to augment her hockey jersey and moose cap wardrobe with $150,000 of thrift shop clothing from places like Neiman Marcus and Saks.  But don’t worry about the Snow Queen’s pocketbook.  All of it was paid for by the Republican National Committee.  The Committee said she needed the stuff “to  match climates across the 50 states.”  Wonder if she needs the Hawaiian shirt in my closet.  Better yet, I can send her the phone number of John Edward’s hairdresser…after all, what’s another $400?


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