Sunday 27 June 2004

How dare you ... ?


I have once been accused of being a news junkie, wherever that person got the idea from escapes me. However, I must say, I do like to know what is going on, locally and remotely, whether it directly affects me or not.

Something about just being informed is exhilarating and enlightening, especially the kind of information we are getting from the press nowadays.

As long as it is more of reporting than the analysis, psychoanalysis, autopsy and post-mortem, one at least has the opportunity to form one’s opinions without bias.

For me, news is about what happened where and when - how and why, should only be included to provide a balanced background rather than a bias in favour of the commentator’s subjective views. I once dealt with a similar line of thought in News, Opinions and Propaganda.

My hotel TV had only one English-speaking channel, 6 channels pertaining to Tarot card gypsies - at times we should be sorting our lives out than trying the sport of mountaineering in a swimsuit; that is my analogy - a smattering of Spanish game shows and lots of German fare, since this is more a Germanic haven, and Tenerife is the Anglophile haven.

I finally got fed up with listening to CNBC, the language was arcane, jargon, inscrutable and probably too pompous to be of any use to serious long-term investors.

Programs like Closing Bell, Squawk Box & Power Lunch are typical of the pretentious restaurant patrons who pretend to be wine aficionados when they should simply seek the advice of the waiter or sommelier in a more exclusive setting.

If the wine is rotten, you really cannot own up to choosing a bad wine, just as following the advice of the share and market hacks could have brought you more grief than comfort and success.

As they say, "A fool and his money are soon parted" having wisely followed the advice of charlatans. Do not get me wrong, there is some good advice out there, but nothing beats understanding what you are doing through your own research.

Eventually, I fetched the remote control, retuned the TV, no BBC World, but up came CNN, good enough, they seem to have toned down on the propaganda, having had their fingers burnt a few times now with the bungle of America’s sham election of 2000 and the reporting of official policy on Iraq.

Basically, each news agency must go out and do their research, analysis and gathering, then subject all that to scrutiny, balancing the news test with the truth test - maintaining standards of probity is no chicken run.

The dare mentality

There is a growing tendency of the government in America to forget that they are part of an accountable elective democracy - crooked as that might seem - and not a theocracy of biblical omnipotence.

The advent of September 11, 2001 and the terrorist attack on American suddenly made the front pages of every global policy. Even though we all recall terrorism well predates 2001 and it has its causes.

No one becomes a terrorist because it is a career move, it stems from the deprived, dejected, despondent, disillusioned, disappointed, oppressed, abused, outraged, angry and uncompromising - that list is hardly exhaustive, but accounts for the fact that terrorism does not occur in a vacuum.

Much dissent regarding the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq and coalition’s aims and Guantanamo prison camp has been characterised as unpatriotic almost reading as treasonable.

The questions being raised about going to war, the weapons of mass destruction, the neo-conservatives’ vision of a democratic Middle East, the role of Halliburton in the reconstruction process, the issues of stress or torture revealed in Iraq and extrapolated to Guantanamo and the tenuous link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda are being rebutted fiercely.

Fiercely, in the sense that we are told to shut up, how dare we question.

  • the people we put into government no matter how wrong their policies about going to war or sending troops to war against the wishes of the people.
  • the fact that no link can be found between Saddam Hussein and September the 11th, and whilst Dick Cheney recently denied he said there is a confirmed link, the wonders of recorded interviews showed that he said so in 2001.
  • the values and actions of the soldiers in Abu Ghraib when Saddam Hussein was worse - I suppose this introduces a principle of degrees of moral grounds or steps, rather than a single solid and firm moral ground.
    • With respect, if Saddam Hussein’s evil (call that a unit of measurement a Saddevil) equates to 100 Saddevils), then at 99 Saddevils we are still better on the moral scale than Saddam. A warped logic but has been spewed out by a few commentators.
  • ask to be privy to documents that are usually kept secret for 30 or more years then are selectively declassified to discredit opponents or affirm what is in fact self-righteous incompetence.

Commands from on high

Amazingly, all the subjects of these news stories are now being buffeted at each stage, even the kudos Dubbiyew might has gotten from the Reagan pomp and pageantry would seemingly ebb away with another smart son of a president - Ron Reagan Jnr clearly articulate, focused and coherent saying the Republican Party is meaner and nastier than when his father was president.

More so, in tribute to his father, he made a statement about his father not wearing his religion on his sleeve like many do nowadays, this was read as a broad swipe at the sitting president. Scary considering Dubbiyew chatted to a higher Father than his father the first president Bush about the war in Iraq.

Well, I have nothing against prayer, but the same principle is chatting to a higher being for direction is what drives Osama bin Laden- the mind boggles.

America is a democracy, not a religious government, the way the religious right has captured the political conscience of the nation to the detriment of liberty and freedom of choice is amazing.

Everything protected by the constitution is undermined by an inordinate desire by the conservatives to crowd the waves, the opinions, the lobbies and the papers whilst arguing that the liberals are having more of a field day.

How is it that marriage has become a constitutional issue rather than a basic fulfilling institution of partnership?

The truth is that a Christian president does not necessarily make a good president; neither does a secular one make for a decent one.

Clinton, who by those standards would be considered immoral and reprobate was intelligent, charismatic and put America in a position of esteem, which has now been squandered by the divisive and unilateral machinations of the sitting president.

Leadership is a matter of principle, courage and determination, your beliefs are supposed to reinforce the qualities of these virtues, the beliefs are not the governing principles in themselves.

On a lighter note

Allesio Vinci said, "Pizza with pineapple, that's a cake ... Pizza with cucumber it's an insult." I agree, how dare they represent those things as pizza? You have been warned.

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