Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some People Will Believe Anything - A False Witness Even on a Nice Day

I usually wake up early and listen to the usual suspects on the radio to get the daily blather while I go through the New York Times and Washington Post headlines. Funny thing this morning - the radio was playing Christmas music, and I love Christmas music. Well, I thought, the usual host must be taking the day off, so I let it pass and enjoyed the music. But, when 5:00 A.M. passed and the music didn't turn into the morning news, it got my attention so I listened closer to learn what station I was listening to. Someone, apparently, changed the station to KOIT (Kay-Oh-Eye-Tee, as it says, RADIO - you have to sing it). KOIT always starts playing Christmas music in November and I usually listen to it, so I left the station tuned to KOIT. It's a nice way to start the day.

That didn't stop me from thinking, however, about yesterday's Ronn Owens KGO Talk Show. Owens is easy to figure out. Track any Republican talking point, no matter how outrageously delusional it is, from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Right-Wing blogger or any Fox News personality and it will eventually make it to The Ronn Owens show, and Owens usually takes the Right Wingnut side. Owens is a neo-con, a so-called "New Conservative." He's a Leo Strauss guy, the political philosopher, in that it is okay to voluntarily "fabricate a myth and an illusion (or delusion)" to attain the desired results. In other words, it's just fine to lie, distort the truth or create a myth to get what you want. It is also okay to accept a lie as part of an argument about any issue. Like Strauss says, "it is human nature to accept and choose, and in fact desire, a myth or untruth over the hard facts of the truth," or words to that effect. We can't face the truth, Strauss says, and we like it that way. Strauss' conclusions came, he claims, from reading all the great philosophers from Socrates to Locke.

Well, I'm no philosopher and I don't claim to be, but I can read and understand English and I can usually think through the things I read, hear and observe enough to come to a reasonable conclusion. So, I have to ask: How can anyone make a good decision about anything if they are not willing to learn the factual truth, or as much as they possibly can about the truth? But, in today's world, I am apparently wrong. I don't remember a time when so many people are so willing to believe and pass on distortion of facts, outright lies, rumor and innuendo. I have to wonder what happened to that old Golden Rule about not being a "False Witness." It's forgotten, I guess.

The truth is that I can't stand Owens' show because of his willingness to distort the truth and to continue myth. He is a false witness. I listen until I have to get up from the chair and turn him off, usually long enough to tell what the morning subjects are, where his conversation is going in his first hour and what his point of view is. Long enough to hear that what he has to say is the usual rubbish. But, yesterday, I listened a little longer because I found the position he took intriguing. I thought, until yesterday, that Owens knew his own political philosophy, that he identified himself as Right-Wing, a neo-con and a wingnut. But, after yesterday's show, I don't think he knows. He is just as deluded by his own blather as most Right-Wingnuts are and he thinks he's a moderate and he's gaming his listeners. His sole agenda is to be controversial, to compete with those other Right-Wing talk-show hosts for the sole purpose of gaining listeners, to improve his ratings. He's a con-artist and it's probably intentional KGO policy. He may not have an honest personal opinion about anything and he's not interested in the truth.

Yesterday's show was about Obama spending $200 million a day on his Asian trip. $200 million a day? Any normal person who has a brain should know from the outset that a statement like that is hogwash. But, the Drudge Report, the usual suspect, picked it up from some "anonymous" source in India and Minnesota's Congresswoman Michele Nutcake Bachmann repeated it on CNN with Anderson Cooper. Cooper checked into it and debunked it the next day and Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist, patted Cooper on the back for debunking the myth. Actually, I'd like to see more lie debunking by the mainstream media, but didn't we know that it was hogwash when we heard it? Do we actually believe that it cost $200 million a day for a Presidential trip? The story said that thirty-four U.S. warships were "standing off the coast of India" to protect the President. Are you kidding? I spent twenty years in the Navy and not once did we EVER send a single ship to protect a President, and they visited areas where we were close enough to do that. The FACT IS, our admiral would have laughed in the President's face if he got a request like that. THE NAVY'S MISSION IS NOT TO PROTECT THE PRESIDENT - IT IS TO PROTECT AMERICA!! In fact, a Pentagon spokesman said just that, "it's laughable." The Secret Service protects the President.

The story had other, just as outrageous, lies; such as 800 hotel rooms booked for the entourage in hotels that only had 200 or so rooms, nearly an entire air force following in tow, and other such innuendo to disparage Obama. Owens asked, "Where does this stuff come from?" acting incredulous. "This comes from the Right Wing," he said, as if the "Right Wing" wasn't his wing. He seemed genuinely unaware of what Fox News, Drudge, Limbaugh say on a daily basis, even when he eventually, in a few days or a week, picks up on the same subjects and the same points of views they discuss and spews it from his show. The "Muslim Mosque" that he was "sensitive to" and against and he completely ignored the Constitution, the "Koran book burning" "that he understood," the "two Presidents" that he thought "might work," "the British compulsory work plan for the lazy unemployed" he "supported" and the Sarah Palin "Presidency" that he thinks "might work" are all Right-Wing sponsored rubbish. I'm sure that he'll say, "I didn't say that" or "that's not the impression I gave," but he did. He pretends to be moderate, "looking at both sides of an issue," while he spreads the Right-Wing propaganda to his legions with a "soft touch." Of course all the while he's claiming "freedom of speech" for anything and everything he says. It's ironic that we've distorted the concept of freedom of speech so much that it now includes our right to knowingly and willingly lie.

I heard the $200 million a day story two weeks ago. I wrote a blog post about it on November 5th. I'm surprised that Owens picked up on it so late or that he picked up on it at all. Well, he reads the New York Times, so he picked it up. It's controversial, so he picked it up. And, since Anderson Cooper debunked it, Owens had no choice except to agree with Cooper. I wonder what train of thought he would have pursued if Cooper hadn't led the way to the truth to start with. But, Owens is not alone. It is a trendy thing to spread untrue hype, especially by email. I've managed to stop many of those rumor and innuendo, disparaging stories of false witness from reaching me by sending them back to the sender with links or references to where the sender can find the truth. I find it curious that those emails stop coming when the lie is debunked. That's not to say, however, that the person stops sending them to other people. I've noticed that those people that I once received those emails from are still sending them to other people, but not to me. Isn't that highly irrational? You'd think that once a viral email is debunked and the truth laid bare, that that simple fact would cause a person to pause before sending it on to others.

I also find it curious on who sends those emails. These are seemingly intelligent, educated people in positions of responsibility; teachers, lawyers, judges, doctors, investigative reporters. The last email disparaging President Obama I received, only a few weeks ago, was about "Subject:  REAL ESTATE SALES TAX TO GO INTO EFFECT 2013 (Part of HC Bill) -- Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it? That’s $3,800 on a $100,000 home etc. When did this happen? It’s in the healthcare bill. Just thought you should know..." Actually, the truth is entirely different, and it can be found here. I sent the email back to everyone it went to, including the teacher who sent it to the person who sent it to me. I debunked the myth in my return email. And, of course, the other part of the healthcare bill story is that it wasn't Obama that wrote the health bill anyway. It was Congress, and if you're really interested in how the insurance industry manipulated the Senate process and the Senators who sold us out, here is the Frontline report on how Obama was backed into a corner on the healthcare bill. The story is called "Obama's Deal," but what I noticed is how much he didn't like the medicine that he was forced to take. It should piss you off at the corrupt Senators who sold out and the insurance companies who bribed them, not Obama.

The funny thing is that I haven't received an email from "that" person since. I did receive another from the "teacher," showing a small boy with a t-shirt that read "The mess in my pants is nothing compared to the mess the Democrats will make in this country if they win Nov. 2." That's funny... and delusional. The facts are that there is overwhelming evidence that Reagan's Supply-Side, voodoo, free market economic ideology led the way to our financial destruction by what our so-called leaders, including President Reagan who started the ball rolling, have been doing for the past 40 years. And, there appear to be only a few in Congress and government who understand the true cause, including President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Barney Frank and Senators Carl Levin and Christopher Dodd, yet these are among the most hated people in the United States; hated because of hyped Right-Wing propaganda. Hated because of Ronn Owens and the wingnuts he follows and their nonsense he spreads. Republicans, as a whole, are more than willing to exploit ignorance of the masses, as is Owens. And, Republicans, as a whole, believe in the ideology, from A to Z, that got us into the mess we're in.

Another, and equally surprising point is that here we have a teacher, teaching our kids at his high school, who sends these lies to everyone when he hasn't a clue about the historical facts of the recession or the truth of allegations he sends in emails. Rather than find and spread the truth, which we might expect from a teacher, he would rather be a false witness. How's that for a teacher? It troubles me. Does it trouble you? I'm not surprised that our children continue to be more ignorant as each year passes in spite of paying more for education. I'm not surprised that the Tea Party leaders were able to exploit the ignorant in this country. It has been happening for years. They don't know any better. And, it is obvious that for the teacher, and those who are mislead, further self-education has stopped, perhaps on graduating from high school or college. Even recreational reading has stopped, apparently, otherwise, it is logical to assume that people at least would educate themselves on current events and would know better. In that regard, Fox News keeps them misinformed.

The scary thing is that we could very easily end up with President Sarah Palin, who said yesterday that she believes she can defeat President Obama. The fact that we had two terms of President Bush is proof enough that voters in this country can be misled over and over again. We too easily believe hype and lies and we elect those who tell them. Before we get to Palin's run for President, I'd like to see Britain's law passed in our country; if you lie to get elected, then you get kicked out immediately. But then, we wouldn't have a single person in office if we did that!

I guess if I had to make up a Christmas list, these items would be on it.

1. If you're going to vote, please, please learn about the person you're voting for. It's not about the person. It's about his or her ideology. Please don't vote for the same ideology that nearly destroyed us. You won't get anything you're voting for if you put those people in power.
2. If you're going to send me an email, make sure you're an honest witness to the truth. Do the research and tell the truth. Don't be a false witness or you will get the email back debunked to the best of my ability.
3. Be honest enough to tell the truth to those who send you distorted truth or lies the truth. Debunk the lies yourself and send them back to sender.
4. Be honest with yourself. If you're following the Right-Wing hype, find out if they're telling you the truth. Research their claims. Figure out, the bottom line, about why you are following it.
5. Read a book or see a documentary that gives a good account of how and why we came to be in the condition we're in, for example, All the Devils are Here, is about the economic collapse and who caused it. The Documentary "Inside Job" is also about the mega-bank crash, who did what, and is also good reporting. Learn about the wars we're in, and what's right and wrong about them and what the obstacles are.

And, on a personal note:
6. Don't buy me "stuff." My closet, drawers, bed-side table, bed-side chair, desk, garage and utility closet are full. I have no place to put the stuff you buy, not even space for a Christmas card. Send me a "Merry Christmas" email or text or call instead.
7. Use the time you were going to spend on shopping for me to take a nap - on me. You'll be refreshed.
8. Use the money you planned for my gift to buy yourself something, like a dinner for two - on me.
9. Have a Merry Christmas. Listen to some Christmas music.


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