Monday Mornign Rant: The BS Detector

I don't quote Ronald Reagan very often but one of his most notable lines was, "Trust, but verify." It seems as though the Right has lost this lesson unless it refers to someone they deem as a wacky Liberal or Bush-hater. They operate in a cocooned world where the political gospel according to Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh takes precedents over in-depth analysis and at times, common sense.

For some reason, they refuse to delve below the surface of these issues and simply rely on the talking points from the administration. It's as though they are not forming their own opinion but mimicking the talking-heads. And to question those talking points is to act unpatriotic. It happens with almost every issue.

This past week, a general claimed that Saddam did have WMD's and moved them to Syria. He claims that he got this information from pilots who said chemical weapons were transferred to Syria under the guise of relief effort. You can check the article out here. I listened to Sean Hannity interview this General and for some reason my BS meter moved. Not to say he is lying, but there is something missing from this story. But if you visit my right wing friends, they're running with it. I know they are not stupid people so I have to ask myself, why didn't their BS meter move a little when they heard this story? Why aren't they asking the second tier questions?

I have to assume because it is a story that fits into their world view therefore there is no reason to question it. Call me a skeptic but I look at the people this guy is associated with and I'm sure they've made a calculated judgment that this book will generate a lot of sales in the right wing community and any questioning of the facts will be dismissed as 'liberal nay saying', thus, irrelevant and not trust worthy.

But this is another example in a long line of complicit behavior from the right. The spying issue should be a concern to many, but folks on the right have no problem with it. How can a legitimate argument be made to say it is proper to intrude on our freedoms because we fight people who hate our freedom? It doesn't make any sense. If the FISA is not up to date to with today's technology, why not just change the law rather than ignore it?

I have a lot of problems with the media as well. I watch interviews with politicians and I find myself frustrated by the fact that the interviewer is not asking follow-up questions to answers that are obviously talking points and spin. Naturally, I assume if my BS meter detected some crap then the journalist had to have noticed it. Why they don't ask the question to bypass the spin is something I don't understand.

Maybe I am cynical at heart and find it hard to trust people. Or maybe I'm not willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Either way, I don't think these characters are to be fully trusted. Sorry, but there is nothing inside me that would enable me to completely trust a politician. Barak Oboma seems cool, but he's new so I have to reserve judgment until he's been in the game a few terms. Bill Frist is a lying sack of cow dung. I saw that clearly yesterday on Meet the Press.

Tomorrow, I'm going to watch the State of the Union address and my BS detector will be off of the charts. One, because President Bush is a liar at heart. Two, President Bush is a politician and all politicians are full of crap. Three, the State of the Union address is usually to move overblown piece of crap speech a President will gives during a year so they pile on old dung and new dung and I'm sure the average American loses ten IQ points just sitting through the damn thing.

Discussion Starters:
1. What politician or jounalist do you trust?
2. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the most trust worth. How much do you trust Pres. Bush?
3. If you had one question to ask a politician and they were forced to answer it truthfully. What question would you ask and who would you ask it?


22 Responses to Monday Mornign Rant: The BS Detector

  1. MEP Says:
    1. What politician or jounalist do you trust? There are very few politicians and/or journalists that I would say I TRUST implicitly. I always try to consider the bias that they have when I read stuff that they report b/c very little reporting is objective. I would have to say that NPR does the best job of leaving out a lot of bias - I really enjoy their news and features. I also like reporters that critique other reporters, lol.

    2. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the most trust worth. How much do you trust Pres. Bush? Ooh, very little. Maybe a 1 or 2. I don't trust him b/c I think he is clueless and ignorant. And I don't trust the cronies that feed him spin and policies at all.

    3. If you had one question to ask a politician and they were forced to answer it truthfully. What question would you ask and who would you ask it? I'd ask Al Gore why he didn't fight for his election in 2000.
  2. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    01 29 06
    James this whole essay is filled with scathing assessments. And not all conservatives are into Mr. Hannity or Mr. O'Reilly. I think the term is just as broad as the term liberal. So anyway, I will answer your questions.
    1. What politician or jounalist do you trust?
    I like NPR too because they really do try to present the facts irrespective of political spin. I trust the CATO Institute too cuz their policies seem to make a lot of sense and they really are conservative monetarists. I really don't trust too many politicians or too many journalists per se.
    2. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the most trust worth. How much do you trust Pres. Bush?
    6.5 I give him that grade out of ten, which is average for my level of trust for ANY politician-although Boxer and Pelosi get a 3.5.
    3. If you had one question to ask a politician and they were forced to answer it truthfully. What question would you ask and who would you ask it? Mr. President do you care about Black people? And I am not joking. Kanye caused a big stir with that statement and I want to know how GWB feels about it!
  3. James Manning Says:
    Mahn, I know I pulled out my broad brush but this is a rant to it is one of those rants where I drop the PC and vent.
  4. Supa Says:
    #1: No one jumps to mind immediately. Sad. Maybe Barack Obama, but I would have to educate myself more on his platform, voting record.

    #2. My Bush trustworthiness: -2687

    #3. What's the real reason behind this domestic spying agenda? And why the f*ck can't ya'll find Osama?

    *sigh* it's too early in the day to get me started on politics! Good luck w/your state of the union viewing, I won't be watching!

  5. Supa Says:
    addendum to the question(s) I'd ask: How can this country fight "terrorism" without changes to its foreign policy practices? AND Why didn't this country send over troops during the Rwanda massacre?
  6. Dave Miller Says:
    Hey James,

    I hear ya on the journalistic community. I too frequently wish they would either follow up with a more probing question or hold a politician closer to the fire waiting for an answer. I believe one reason this is not done more often is because they too are part of the system. That means they have a stake in having those politicians on their show and if they are too tough, they will not appear. You saw how difficult it was for Frist yesterday on MTP. After almost every question from Russert, he looked like a deer in headlights. Pausing, swallowing hard, etc. That said, the answer for me on your first question is Russert. He is pretty tough, shows respect and does his homework. He may not hammer people for an answer, but you can see when people don't answer how silly they look. His use of their own quotes is excellant and he does make people explain their statements or look stupid as Paul Bremer did last week.

    How much do I trust Bush? Not much. He seems to have taken secrecy to a level not seen since the Nixon administration. I believe he feels it is part of the job and duty and is a necessary evil. I know that sounds charitable, but as you admit a bias to think cynically, I prefer to think better of people.

    Finally, here is my question. I'll address it to the right wing in general, although any leading Repubilcan leader can answer or perhaps some of your conservative bloggers.

    If the Supreme Court finds that President Bush broke the law in the NSA spying issue should Pres. Bush be impeached? If he is out of office, should he face jail time for breaking the law?
  7. James Manning Says:
    If he were a Democrat he would be impeached. But since the GOP runs everything, he'll skate.
  8. NEO, SOC Says:
    Bush will skate like the Clintons in Whitewater. Clinton will skate like he did with Monica. Bush will skate like Sandy Burger who stole those documents. He'll skate like Ted 'Killing' Kennedy. But, I digress. I'll answer your questions first and comment on the blog later; if you don't mind.

    1. What politician or jounalist do you trust?
    2. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the most trust worth. How much do you trust Pres. Bush?
    3. If you had one question to ask a politician and they were forced to answer it truthfully. What question would you ask and who would you ask it?
    What happened Ted Kennedy, and don't you think that your ambiguity in your 'accident' pretty much makes you a hypocrite to come off the way you do on other people?
  9. Bullfrog Says:
    1. What politician or jounalist do you trust?
    I can't name one, they are all biased in some way. I think the key is to get all sides of the story, objectivity is always key.

    2. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the most trust worth. How much do you trust Pres. Bush?
    I would say 5, because I know he is heavily influenced by a number of factors; politics, his advisors, etc. If he lived next store and wasn't the commander in chief, I would probably trust him more.

    3. If you had one question to ask a politician and they were forced to answer it truthfully. What question would you ask and who would you ask it?
    Wow, good question! I would ask GW, "If you could take ONE decision back that you made during your run as Pres, what would it be?" I think that answer would be pretty interesting.

    @mep: if Gore had any chance of winning the 2000 election, he would have fought. Even he knew he was done, choosing that battle would have cost him his integrity.

    @supa sis: Let me answer the Bin Laden question for you; We haven't found him because he is ONE person in a WHOLE COUNTRY full of people. Ever hear of a needle in a haystack?

    @Dave: If the President intentionally broke the law, violating the rights of Americans for any reason, he should be impeached. I think this punishment and the fact that this would be his legacy would be punishment enough, no jail time.
  10. Dave Miller Says:
    Neo, Soc, I like your question. As a long time follower of the Kennedy clan, I was always intrigued about Chappaquidick and Ted's inability to explain or deal with it. Perhaps he was just too blasted to know what he really did. He has skated though. If that were to happen today, a Junior Senator could never weather the storm it would bring.

    On your other items, for sure Berger should have to answer for his crimes /actions if he is found to have broken the law. That would be an abuse of his office. The Whitewater thing to me is old history. It was of substance to the people of Arkansas, but had no direct bearing on Bill's presidency as it was pre White House. Bad, yes. Of course. Impeachable, no, at least not nationally.
  11. Diane S. Says:
    1. No politicians: journalist(s): Molly Ivens, NPR generally, and - knowing it's bias - The Daily Kos.

    2. 1 - I don't trust Bush as far as the secret service would let me throw him. Though I truly love Supa Sister's answer.

    3. "Why, when for the first time in American history an American President has publically admitted to an impeachable offense, have no articles of impeachment been prepared against this president?"
  12. James Manning Says:
    Supa, the answer to your question is simple. Oil.
  13. Wadena Says:

    Reagan was never a man of abundant clue.....I think we can all agree on that.

    So.....if you trust--you don't verify.

    If you verify--you don't trust.


    So, I quite reading right there.

    Anybody who actually WATCHES Fox News can't have much of value to say, right?

    If Ronnie no-clue were still alive (in his case, technically alive) he would be glued to Fox News.

    And so it goes.....
  14. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    01 30 06

    Wadena: I have finally come to realize that you just say stuff to piss people off. Why are you so mean spirited about it all?
  15. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    01 30 06

    And about Reagan, I have mixed feelings on him but his healthy fear of big government was his saving grace imho.
  16. Pure Skepticism Says:
    I was talking to my brother and told him about the blogs I read. He laughed at me and told me that he had once visited some of the political blogs on the internet and found himself deeply disturbed. His exact words: “Man, why you read that bullshit? My Doc says that more than two minutes of that shit a day will elevate my fuckin blood pressure.” Quite profound indeed.

    This news article you’re talking about makes me laugh. Mostly, because there is very little information found in it, or any other news article. Most news is just commentary. The only information that gives us an impression of politics is from the direction and flow of money from one source to another. Real information is found in government contracts, aid to foreign countries, and financial news. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to political information.

    I think some people’s B.S. meter isn’t going off because this sort of non-sense is what they need to validate their pre-conceived notions of the world. Correct or incorrect, most people come to their conclusions by accident, not by analyzing information. This is extremely prevalent on the right these days. They feel good to always have a culprit responsible for all of their problems.

    Anyone ever notice how the source of all of their problems is this amorphous group called: “The Liberals?” They don’t have a specific definition for the group, just some ridiculous descriptions of what the traits of one of these “The Liberals.”

    Mighty convenient, isn’t it?
  17. Zeezy4Sheezy Says:
    GWB isn't just a liar he's a pathological devious liar...
  18. Bullfrog Says:
    @mahndisa: Wadena is what is commonly referred to as a TROLL. Wikipedia has a great definition.
  19. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    01 31 06

    Bullfrog: I think so too. She never respponds to anyone else and just talks a bunch of shit before she leaves. I can't stand commenters like that. At first, you think there is a legitimate dialog happening. Then you realize that it is just some jerkoff sitting in front of the computer with narry a real thought in mind.:(
  20. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    01 31 06

  21. Robert Neddo Says:
    1. I realize that he technically isn't a journalist and I have seen him be mistaken before, but Jon Stewart has earned my trust.

    2. To be fair this scale needs to be applied issue to issue, but Bush wouldn't get above a 3 concerning anything so I guess it doesn't really matter.

    Question for those who rated Bush a 5 or higher: Since trust is one of the few things that must be earned, how has he earned your trust? (This is a sincere question. I believe it's understandable why there are those of us who do not trust Bush. One just has to look at his record. But I don't see a reasonable reason as to how Bush has earned trust from anyone.)

    3. To all politicians: Is the answer to my question "Why...?" really, always "money", or is there something more sinister behind it all?
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